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Item #: OP1557-518
LHASA: THE HOLY CITY F. Spencer Chapman 1940 UK Hardcover Very Good
By Chapman, F. Spencer
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London, 1940, Readers Union edition. 342 pp, 8 color and many b/w illustrations. Original tan cloth hardcover with no dust jacket. Book cover is a bit soiled and worn. Very Good. 

Frederick Spencer Chapman (1907-1971) was a British Army officer and World War II veteran, most famous for his exploits behind enemy lines in Japanese occupied Malaya. His medals include the following: the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, the Polar Medal, Gill Memorial Medal, Mungo Park Medal, and the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal. 

Prior to the war he has taken part in a number of polar expeditions. In 1936, Chapman, a noted skier and experienced expeditioner, joined a Himalayan climbing team. It was during this trip that he first met Basil Gould, the Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet who offered him a job as his private secretary for the 1936-37 Political Mission to Lhasa. The aim of the six-month mission was to advise the Regent of Tibet and his Cabinet, to persuade the Panchen Lama to return from China where he had fled, and, if possible, to establish permanent British representation in Lhasa. Chapman's main role in the Mission was to decipher telegraphs, but in reality he did much more than this. "I have to take film and still photos, do bird, plant and bug work, some survey, and personal work for Gould.'' He was also responsible for keeping the Mission Diary, which was accompanied by photographs and sent off to the Government of India each week. Chapman spent his spare time bird-watching (an interest shared with Richardson), hill-climbing, and taking and developing photographs. After his return from Lhasa in 1937 Chapman secured permission to lead a small climbing expedition to the Tibetan holy mountain, Chomolhari. Chapman and a Sherpa named Passang Dawa succeeded in becoming the first mountaineers to reach the 24,000 ft. summit. Tibet also provided Chapman with material for this book as well as Helvellyn to Himalaya (1940). 

With the outbreak of World War Two, he was dispatched, in September 1941, to command a guerrilla warfare school in Singapore. From there Chapman was sent behind Japanese lines to organize reconnaissance and sabotage operations. He excelled in this role, spending three and a half years (1942-45) in the Malayan jungle. By the end of the war he was labelled a hero, promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and awarded a D.S.O. in 1944 and bar in 1946. His story of these years was published in his enormously successful 1948 book, The Jungle is Neutral

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