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Return to Tibet: Tibet After the Chinese Occupation
Return to Tibet: Tibet After the Chinese Occupation
by Heinrich Harrer
Edition: Paperback
101 used & new from $0.01

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Return to Tibet - not a story, more a thesis., August 9, 2000
After reading Seven Years in Tibet, this book (which I managed to pick up in Pilgrims bookshop in Kathmandu, after visiting Tibet myself in 1998) came across more as a thesis, compared to the story like format of the former book. Return to Tibet concerns Heinrich Harrer's return to Lhasa in 1982 as part of one of the first tour groups to enter Tibet after China began to open up after Mao and the Cultural Revolution. He compare the Lhasa and Tibet he knew over thirty years before with that he saw on his return. He also manages to break away from the group he was with and meet some of the people he used to know - again, the differences in these people show a sharp contrast.
Whereas Seven Years in Tibet is an easy read, this is a lot heavier going. To be honest, I felt that Heinrich Harrer spent too much time lamenting the old days which made for not one the most memorable reads. That said, if only to show how much had changed, it is still interesting from a historical point of view and what caught my attention most was the changes between the Heinrich Harrer's visit in 1982 and my own trip their in 1998 (for example, on the good side monasteries being rebuilt, easier to get around Tibet, but not so good was the development of Lhasa into a modern city with less character, with a very large influx of non-Tibetans into Tibet in general).

Egypt: The Rough Guide, Fourth Edition (Rough Guides)
Egypt: The Rough Guide, Fourth Edition (Rough Guides)
by Dan Richardson
Edition: Paperback
28 used & new from $0.66

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough Guide to Egypt, June 20, 2000
To the point, told you what you needed to know, without saturating you with information. I travelled with a couple of friends to Egypt and found their book to be more informative than mine, despite the fact that their Rough Guide was a little out of date when they bought it. It is especially useful if you are looking for cheap accomodation in Luxor and to a lesser extent, Aswan, plus it also provided some decent maps of both areas. One amusing snippet that caught my attention was the information about the back way into the Valley of the Kings (for the fit amongst you only) - you turn right just before the ticket collection point at Hapshepsut, passed the souvenir stalls and follow the path up the side of the hill. Once at the top and passed a hill on top, veer right again to go into the Valley of the Kings. Unlike the main entrance (where you are checked to see you have tickets), you don't have to pay to get in this way, but you can't get into any of the tombs if you haven't bought the tickets - courtesy of the information in Rough Guide. The Egyptians check for tickets again at each tomb entrance, which from what I can remember, you are told about in the book anyway. Still worth it for the views though, especially of Hapshepsut, but DON'T GO TOO NEAR THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF.
The Aswan bit is also clearer than other books, for example, one bit of info. it gives compared to others, is the fact that once you have paid to go to Philae Temple (which is on an island), you have to haggle with the owners of the boats in order to get there.
All in all, a very comprehensive book, but the edition I saw needed a little updating.

The Rough Guide to India (3rd Edition)
The Rough Guide to India (3rd Edition)
by David Abram
Edition: Paperback
45 used & new from $0.01

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rough Guide to India, June 20, 2000
Rough Guide to India is a concise, comprehensive and informative source of information for people planning a trip to the sub-continent. On reading the parts relevant to my own plans, I found it to give just the right amount of information and not the oversaturation I found with, say, one of the Lonely Planet books. Two areas I looked at in more detail in the book for this review were Ladakh and Varanasi. I felt that the Rough Guide book said what need to be said about both areas, but in half as many words and without getting too heavy, for want of a better word. For both locations, it only took me about ten minutes to get a decent overview, where to go and where to stay (let's face it, when you are travelling or on the road, you really only want to have a quick glance, so you know what you are doing), whilst it took me half an hour to get the same information from Lonely Planet. The former made you feel the places were worth the effort to get there, whilst in the latter case, you had lost interest after a few minutes.
Maps are also easy to understand and not overly complicated, another big plus. The Rough Guide's information was also right up to date, another big plus. Highly recommended and in my view, the best India guide available.

Mission to Tashkent
Mission to Tashkent
by F. M. Bailey
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from $0.01

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mission to Tashkent - good factual account., May 23, 2000
This review is from: Mission to Tashkent (Paperback)
Let's get the bad bit out the way first, F.M. Bailey was not a great writer. This is reflected in Mission to Tashkent, where the style of the writer does not follow what you would normally consider a gripping read. For example, there are one or two occasions where a character in the book is not mentioned for long enough, for you to have to go back several pages to find out who they are. I would have given it five stars had it not been for this.
What Mission to Tashkent is, is a factual account of the Russian Revolution, as played out in Central Asia, where the Bolshevik Russian minority based mainly in Tashkent (now in the independant sate of Uzbekistan) had to overcome White Russian, Moslem and British forces to establish the revolution on Central Asia (the British eventually withdrew, not wanting to become too involved).
In this book, F.M. Bailey, whose previous adventures had involved accompanying Francis E. Younghusband to Tibet in 1904 (on account of the fact he could speak Tibetan), details his journey from India via Kashgar to Tashkent. Once in Tashkent, the book covers the writer's life there, under constant fear of arrest or execution at the hands of the local Bolshevik Provisional Government. His official purpose was as a diplomatic representative for the British in Central Asia, which created much danger for himself, due to the presence of British forces at Ashgabad in Turkmenistan. He also gathered information for the British as to what exactly was happening there, due to concerns that the large number of German and Austrian prisoners of war held in Central Asia could be used to attack British India, if organised into a fighting force by German agents known to operate in Iran and Afghanistan - it was 1917/1918 and Britian was still fighting Germany. He also acted on the British behalf, believing that the British were about to advance on Tashkent and unseat the Bolsheviks in Central Asia, but in the end, this never happened with the aforementioned British withdrawal. The book finishes with his eventual flight to Iran, ending in his escape after a skirmish with Bolshevik troops on the Iranian border.
I found the book to be a thoroughly engrossing read, bar the aforementioned problems with the book's style and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in Turkestan / Uzbekistan and Central Asian history. With it being a factual account, it also makes for a useful insight into what was happening in outlying Tashkent at a time, when everyone else's eyes were focused on what was happening in revolutionary Moscow and St. Petersburg and how the Germans were going to react after the withdrawal of the Russians from the Great War. Highly recommended.

Seven Years in Tibet
Seven Years in Tibet
by Heinrich Harrer
Edition: Paperback
370 used & new from $0.01

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Year in Tibet - Top Notch., May 19, 2000
This review is from: Seven Years in Tibet (Paperback)
The story of a dramatic escape by Heinrich Harrer and his climbing associate Peter Aufschnaiter from and Indian internment camp after their arrest by the British when they were attempting to climb Nanga Parbat, at the outbreak of World War II. The book details their journey across Tibet including their near demise with the Khampas, before reaching Lhasa and in my view, discovering a way of looking at life very different to our own. The book then goes on to cover Heinrich Harrer's relationship with the Young Dalai Lama and the Dalai Lama's enthusiasm to learn more about the world he lived in. The book also provides an insight into life in Lhasa before the coming of the Chinese. Finishing with the onset of the Chinese occupation and the flight of the Dalai Lama, I found this to be a very well written book and it can be seen throughout the book how the very personality of the author changes from how I would describe as something not to far short of arrogance at the beginning to someone who cared very much about a people who just wanted to be able to get on with a way of live that had lasted for centuries and which to a great degree they were content with, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they were unable to do. I read this book after visiting Tibet myself in 1998 and the contrast between the Tibet described in the book and that which I saw was a sharp one. Heinrich Harrer himself returned to Tibet in 1982 and observed the changes himself (detailed in 'Return to Tibet', more of a thesis than a story, but nevertheless essential reading after 'Seven Years in Tibet'), noting the loss of much he had held dear when he was there in the 1940's. If you Heinrich Harrer's true story of Tibet, read the book - the film adaptation does not fit the storyline of the book and Heinrich Harrer himself is portrayed in a much poorer light early in the film than the book, which I feel is not fair. Another glaring error is that the film shows Heinrich Harrer in Lhasa after the Chinese arrive - Heinrich Harrer and the inaugerated Dalai Lama had already left Lhasa before the Chinese arrival.

by Calum MacLeod
Edition: Paperback
35 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uzbekistan - Nice County, Nice Guide Book., May 19, 2000
This review is from: Uzbekistan (Paperback)
The book was a good overview to what to expect in Uzbekistan and told you what you needed to know. When I went to Uzbek in May and June 1997, a new edition had been printed, therefore information was right up to date. Not as in depth as the Lonely Planet Guides, but somethimes you are overdosed with info in the lonely planet guides. The only better book I have found concerning this area is the Cadogan Guide to Central Asia.

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