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Buddha's Warriors: The Story of the CIA-Backed Tibetan Freedom Fighters, the Chinese Communist Invasion, and the Ultimate Fall of Tibet Hardcover – December 29, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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About the Author

Mikel Dunham is a published mystery writer and an acclaimed photographer and painter. His photographs of the first Tibetan monastery, the Samye Monastery (circa 800 A.D.) have been published in a photographic book, Samye.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; First Edition edition (December 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423483
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423484
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Miller on January 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Buddha's Warriors is an important book. It's also compelling, not to mention extremely well researched and well written. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Tibet, both historically and in the context of its present suffering. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism, as it clarifies alot of misunderstanding about Buddhism as a "passive" culture or philosophy. This is a story that may be known, but not widely, and it needed to be told.

Mikel Dunham has spent years compiling a wealth of information as material for this book, and this research was largely gleaned from extraordinary interviews with individuals who needed to trust the author long before they would speak with him, let alone give him their stories. Long before this story was written, Dunham obviously became extremely close to his subject, and that intimacy, both with the people and the story, raises the quality far beyond a traditional academic treatise. You will feel that on every page. Buy it. Don't leave it on your coffee table. Read it.
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Format: Hardcover
"Buddha's Warriors" is a story that needed desperately to be told -- what it took to turn thousands of non-violent Tibetan Buddhists into an armed rebellion, and how the CIA left them high and dry -- and Dunham tells it with expertise and flair. Somehow he has gathered an incredible roster of primary sources (including American insiders), and he wields them like a knife against the history of Chinese oppression and U.S. cowardice.

Dunham has a knack for pulling together the pieces of this somewhat obscure tale -- just try to find it in history books -- and making it coherent, exciting.

Few people seem to know how China's invasion drove so many dedicated pacifists to violent means. Even the Dalai Lama, who for so long has refused even to acknowledge violence as a viable method, gives these Khampa warriors their due respect in the book's foreward. That's quite something.

Dunham has done a great service to written history by publishing this book. But it's not hard work to read, like so many histories these days. Those who do not follow Tibet's latest struggle will surely enjoy it all the same, and those who regard the struggle with a certain degree of frustration and disbelief ("how can they not fight?!") will be infused with a good healthy dose of vindication and righteous anger.

Happy reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent and fast-paced account of operations we now learn about - 46 years later! Its told from the point of view of the CIA 'minders'of the projects, I'm sure the actual operatives had their own point of view, and its exciting stuff!! Its a tragedy that all the governments who could have had a say in Tibet's future at that time - India, Britain and the US - chose to stay resolutely uncommitted. This is the tale of those who decided to try and do something, and failed finally - but not for want of trying. Something to learn for many of us.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read several books on the history of Tibet in the 20th century and this is certainly the most exciting of them all. It is a valuable telling of the story of Tibet's invasion by China from the perspective of those that witnessed it first hand and fought against it with the help of the CIA. It also has an extremely good list of references and painstakingly covers the historical literature of this period, providing a good starting point for readers who want more. My only gripe with the book is that it relies heavily on input from former CIA operatives. Although it is not clear to me whether this has skewed the picture that is presented, it is an unfortunate fact that the involvement of the CIA and other foreign intelligence agencies has provided the Chinese an excuse to view Western interest in the Tibetan cause with suspicion. So I have a bit of difficulty viewing the CIA as heroic although (as does the Dalai Lama) I have no doubt that there was genuine support for the Tibetans by some of the CIA people.

Another interesting aspect of this book is that it portrays the taking up of arms by the Tibetans as a positive development, contrasting with the nonviolent stance currently taken by the Tibetan government in exile. But that is a different topic; one that the author deals with to some extent.
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Format: Hardcover
China has, for decades, been trying to get the world to believe hat the Tibetans bowed down before the Chinese invaders in the 1950's and were gratefully "repatriated" to the motherland. Not so. Mikel Dunham showed me, in amazing prose and impeccable scholarship and journalism, that the Tibetans were fighters, even those Buddhist monks among their ranks. All the people Dunham profiled came alive for me, including the hard-ass CIA agents who trained some of the Tibetan resistance fighters. The book is also chock full of photographs and documents and has maps, along with some incredibly beautiful Tibetan artwork. Definitely a worthy addition to any personal library.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a gripping tale told in highly readable, suspenseful prose that takes you into the hearts and minds of the Khampa warriors and their CIA trainers as they defend their homeland--sadly, unsuccessfully--from Chinese incursion. This true

story of Tibet is painted over the broad canvas of the Himalayas, bringing to life the history, people, and terrain of this sacred and mysterious part of the world.
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