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Item #: OP1275E-1062
RETURN TO TIBET Heinrich Harrer 1985 1st UK or US ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Harrer, Heinrich
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New York, Schocken or London, Weidenfeld, 1984 or 1985, 1st UK or 1st US edition. 184 pp, color photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

Harrer's return to Tibet in 1982, the scene of his great adventure, plus a reunion with the Dalai Lama whom he tutored as a young boy. Sequel to Seven Years in Tibet

A fusty, indignant report - dated 1983 - from Tibet by Harrer, the now-celebrated adventurer who briefly returned to his "second home'' 30 years after fleeing China's invasion. In 1945 the Austrian author escaped from a British prisoner-of-war camp, hoofed it over the Trans-Himalayan range, and eventually arrived in Lhasa, capitol of Tibet. There he found what he took to be an idyll: a sublime mix of Tibetan Buddhism, ancient customs, and dust-free air that made landscape colors incandescent.

He became an important figure in the country - chief engineer, tutor of the Dalai Lama -but left as the Chinese commenced their occupation. In 1982 he was able to revisit Tibet during the ``Chinese-staged thaw,'' and he was by turns heartbroken and inspired by what he observed: Valuable cultural treasures had been destroyed by the invaders, and stories of concentration camps, forced labor, and political murders sent him reeling. Yet the country's religion was still strong, and there continued both armed resistance to the Chinese and an unquashable national will. His two sojourns in the country make for some intriguing before-and-after comparisons, and his comments on particulars of  Tibetan Buddhism are revealing. But the tone of the book is dryly nostalgic, when not bitter, and Harrer's opinions sometimes seem jarringly contradictory.

He rails against what the Chinese have done to the country: razing monasteries, imprisoning and killing nationals and then inexplicably suggests that China and Tibet might be well served by a partnership, with Tibet happily becoming "part of that enormous yellow state.'' Moreover, every so often he lets the feudalist in him shine through unforgivably in making unfortunate remarks on his longing for a land "where superstition would be the poetry of life.'' The insights are worth the cover price anyhow, despite the authors occasional reactionary comments and his priggishness. - Copyright 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

The New York Times bestseller Seven Years in Tibet told the incredible story of an idyllic life on the roof of the world, before it was destroyed by the invading Chinese army. Now, in the extraordinary Return to Tibet, Austrian adventurer Henrich Harrer revisits the people and places he left behind. A compelling mix of history, religion, and travel writing, his book bears witness to the suffering and perseverance of this ancient civilization under Chinese rule.

Against a backdrop of ruined monasteries and the beautiful, mysterious Himalayas, Harrer vividly evokes both a free Tibet in which religion and faith were central features of daily life, and the present-day occupied nation from which a profoundly spiritual culture threatens to disappear. He reflects on the country's problems and in a reunion with his former pupil, the Dalai Lama, discusses ways of preserving the Tibetans' national character and their homeland. Like Seven Years in Tibet, this is a timeless story of Eastern culture that beckons readers to a land of majestic mountains and a religion that has endured for a thousand years.

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