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The Blessings of Bhutan (A Latitude 20 Book) Paperback – January 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0824826796 ISBN-10: 0824826795

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824826795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824826796
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A captivating and splendid account of a complex nation on the cusp of tradition and modernity." -- Karma Ura, Director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies

"The blessings of Bhutan are many, including the appearance of this lyrical account of the country's unique and fascinating aspects." -- K. E. S. Kirby Dorji, writer/editor, United Nations consultant, longtime resident of Bhutan

About the Author

Russ and Blyth Carpenter's connection with Bhutan began with a trek and cultural tour in 1996 and quickly expanded into public service projects. They currently lead tours to Bhutan, focusing on the remarkable culture of this unique and independent Buddhist kingdom.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lady Murasaki on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Blessings of Bhutan" is a personal and fascinating compilation of very short, and very readable, essays (or "sketches") about authors Russ and Blyth Carpenter's experiences and understanding of Bhutanese life. The book is separated into eight parts covering Bhutanese culture and geography; ancient Bhutanese religion and its relationship to Buddhism and Bhutanese archery; Tantric Buddhism; Bhutanese art and medicine; reincarnation (especially as it applies to the environment); sexuality in Bhutanese culture; women in Bhutan; and the Carpenter's reflections on Bhutan's policy of "Gross National Happiness" and on Bhutan's future. The book also has a very useful glossary of terms that makes reading much easier as well as a recommending reading list.
The authors' love and admiration of Bhutan and Bhutanese people is very apparent in their sketches. While many things about Bhutan can easily baffle a tourist (like the almost contradictory sexual attitude of the Bhutanese or the concept of "Gross National Happiness"), they explain these things in terms of the Bhutanese culture. I found the book extremely easy to read and engaging, and appreciated the experiences the Carpenters shared as well as the facts. You can read the book back to front or just skip around and read about which aspects of the culture you're interested in.
This is the first book I have read about Bhutan, and I'm glad I got it!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Maureen on April 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This meaty little book is informed by the experience of the authors'numerous visits (including working trips) to Bhutan, extensive research, and the wisdom of many lively but respectful conversations with Bhutanese friends. Gorgeous color photographs by the authors supplement the vivid, lucid writing. There is intrigue in seeimg how these two self-described linear thinkers are gradually changed by confronting an intuitive culture with a Tantric lifestyle and a heritage of both Tibetan Buddhism and the remnants of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion. What will be the effect of television, which has only now entered the culture, on this relatively isolated culture? What do monks do all day? What does it mean to measure a culture by its Gross National Happiness? Why is Bhutan known as Little Switzerland? These are among the many questions the Carpenters answer. One could not have better guides to this intriguing country.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Terry McKeever on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
"The Blessings of Bhutan" describes a unique view of the people, religion and culture of Bhutan. It is based on first hand experiences of Russ and Blyth Carpenter over several years of exploration, living and philanthropic work there. They have become deeply involved in the lives of these wonderful people and have been rewarded with a bird's eye view including some rather un-Western but honest approaches to life. I highly recommend this book which can be read all at once or random chapters of interest.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Marian Leib Adams on April 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelous series of sketches that illuminate the mystique of Bhutan. The Carpenters, through their work and travel in and love for Bhutan, bring a personal and western perspective to a unique part of the world. Blessings of Bhutan serves as a bridge for the western traveler that allows for full appreciation of the uniqueness of Bhutan as a destination and a way of life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Restless on December 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Carpenters' book is not the first one that I have read on this magical Asian kingdom but it is definitely one of the best summaries out there. The authors succeeded in bringing the abstract closer to us; they offer an easily digestable, very interesting and engaging reading about Bhutan. What is even better they bring up further topics of interest and discussion that may make you look for more reading on the country itself, some of the characters from Bhutanese history or Buddhism in general. However, if you would like to find out more about tourist destinations in Bhutan I recommend that you get Pommaret's book or the Lonely Planet guide, as this book is more about the spiritual side, the soul of Bhutanese people and its manifestations in everyday life, religion and culture.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
An insightful look at one of the most intriguing destinations in all of Asia. "Blessings" offers a combination of thoughtful commentary, humorous cultural reflections and striking photos. The most interesting book on Bhutan I've found.
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