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Item #: BK18
THE SEARCH FOR SHANGRILA
By Allen, Charles.
Price: $35.00


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Detailed Product Description

1999. 305 pp, color photos. An account of Tibetologist Allen's four journeys to Western Tibet in search of pre-Buddhist culture. From the author of the quite wonderful Plain Tales From the Raj, here is a journey much deeper into the ancient history of Asia. It all starts with a potboiler of a novel published in 1933 by James Hilton, called Lost Horizon. In this story, Hilton invented a happy, hidden valley called Shangri-La. Except -- did he just invent it, or had his own extensive reading on ancient Tibet provided some real-life inspiration?

This rather Indiana Jones-sounding premise turns out to be the thrilling start of Allen's journey to discover a lost earthly paradise beyond the Himalayas. Telling you whether he succeeds would be giving too much away, but it is an absolutely compulsive read. The secret to it all, apparently, lies in the mysterious religion that lies behind both Buddhism and Hinduism, called Bon -- which originated somewhere beyond the snow-capped Himalayas.

Allen tells an exciting story, leavened with plenty of self-deprecating humour and erudite digressions on such subjects as the origin of the swastika (an ancient Indian good-luck symbol), the philosophy of Carl Jung and a possible glimpse of that rarest of all carnivores, the snow leopard. And the photographs are stunning.

Book Description

The idea of a hidden refuge, a paradise far from the stresses of modern life, has universal appeal. In 1932 the writer James Hilton coined the word 'Shangri-La' to describe such a place, when he gave that name to a hidden valley in the Himalayas in his novel LOST HORIZON. In THE SEARCH FOR SHANGRI-LA acclaimed traveller and writer Charles Allen explores the myth behind the story. He tracks down the sources that Hilton drew upon in writing his popular romance, and then sets out to discover what lies behind the legend that inspired him. In the course of a lively and amusing account of his four journeys into Tibet, Allen also gives us a controversial new reading of the country's early history, shattering our notions of Tibet as a Buddhist paradise and restoring the mysterious pre-Buddhist religion of Bon to its rightful place in Tibetan culture. He also locates the lost kingdom of Shang-shung and, in doing so, the original Shangri-La itself: in an astounding gorge beyond the Himalayas, full of extraordinary ruins. New Hardcover with dust jacket.

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