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The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey Into Tibetan History Paperback – February 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (UK) (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349111421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349111421
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,499,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A thoughtprovoking work, filled with unusual links and ideas that deserve to be explored' - Patrick French in the Sunday Times 'Retells the adventures of kings and seers, shamans and deities, handling the tales of war, triumph and defeat with mastery' - Tahir Shah in the Literary Review

From the Publisher

In 1933, writer James Hilton published a novel called "Lost Horizon." At its center is the notion that, hidden beyond the Himalayas in western Tibet, there is a valley inhabited by all-wise lamas who have achieved an ideal human existence. Hilton called his valley "Shangri-La." In "The Search for Shangri-La," acclaimed travel writer Charles Allen tracks down the sources that Hilton drew upon, then sets out to discover the truth behind the legend that inspired him. In the course of a lively account of his four journeys into Tibet, Allen also gives us a controversial 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.

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
of Tibetan history than one often finds in Buddhist-authored books on the subject. The author combined known Near Eastern/Asian ancient and medieval history with personal observations of the land and its archaeology to arrive at some very interesting conclusions about (1) the pre-Buddhist religious history and cultures of Tibet, and (2) the development of Buddhism in this milieu. The frequent transitions in writing style, from travelogue to historical discourse and back, were sometimes awkward. But if you like books on comparative religion, anthropology, mythology, religious history, or ancient history, and are interested in Tibet, you'll have fun with this one! Overall rating: 4 stars
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. A Michaud on September 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
The author, a writer and oral historian with long experience in the Indian subcontinent, here describes his re-examination of the complex history of Buddhism in Tibet and India. He intersperses colorful chapters about traveling in Tibet among drier chapters on religious history. The mix does not quite work. While Allen's travel writing generally holds the reader's attention, only people with a serious interest in Asian religions would stay with the scholarly presentations all the way through. Even though I lived in South Asia for four years, I found the religious history heavy going. While the color photographs bunched in the center of the book are of good quality, I wished that they had covered more of the sites described by the author. Overall rating: three stars.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pinku on May 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Though the author brings about some important facts like the connection between the Bon religion and Parsis somehow the book does not really jell. It could be because the author does not speak of his own experiences - one gets a teeny weenie feeling that he is writing under some duress or pressure. May be asked by Chinese Govt. not to mention the unmentionables or that the book has been edited, rather severely, by the publishers. Something is wrong somewhere! Only those who're interested in the Bon religion can refer this book! Vacuous! Ineffective! Though the subject matter is really very good.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By VASTA on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Il titolo è fuorviante. Il libro di Allen è la ricerca letteraria e filologica del mitico regno di Sham Shung, probabilmente posizionato nell'area del regno di Guge, fra il Ladakh ed il monte Kailash (cui Allen aveva dedicato un libro nel 1982: A mountain in Tibet). Ho compiuto un viaggio al Kailash nel 1997. Con sorpresa ho trovato che l'autore aveva effettuato lo stsso percorso pochi mesi dopo. La stessa agenzia (TIST), lo stesso albergo (Himalaya Hotel a Lhasa, gli stessi episodi (come la morte di un pellegrino indiano per mancanza di acclimatazione). Ma anche la piccola personale soddisfazione di vedere che il gruppo da me organizzato era riuscito a raggiungere i luoghi (Toling e Tsaparang) per cui Allen aveva invano chiesto il permesso.
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