- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Triad Books (March 15, 1979)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0586045104
- ISBN-13: 978-0586045107
- Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,314,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lhasa, the Open City: Journey to Tibet Paperback – March 15, 1979
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Top Customer Reviews
The book contains much praise for the development, "modernisation" and secularisation of Tibet. Much of this praise now seems dated, e.g. for the now defunct communist "cooperative" labour systems that were introduced, or the unqualified praise for new roads and railways without any sense of environmental or cultural conservation values.
Heinrich Harrer's book "Return to Tibet" (1984) is more valuable as a first hand account of the changes in Lhasa as the author had lived in Tibet for several years before the Chinese invasion, as well as revisiting afterwards.
For an account of the same period by a Tibetan, Dawa Norbu's book "Tibet: The Road Ahead" (1997) is good, although it has less on Lhasa and more on rural Tibet.
Suyin has several chapters on Tibet's earlier history. These have been compiled in a sometimes nebulous fashion from sources listed in the bibliography. There are far better introductions to Tibet's history e.g. "Tibet: Past and Present" by Sir Charles Bell (1924), "Tibet: A Political History" by Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa (1967), and "A Cultural History of Tibet" by David Snellgrove and Hugh Richardson (1968).
I can also go on and on numbering the books formation on such jaundiced premises. But a reader might have understood what I mean.
Then it goes further on and on, on how things have improved after PLA marched into Lhasa. Had it not done so, modernity might have never reached Tibet.
I am in the middle of the book. I may not read it fully. This author should be regarded as a person with very limited insight into how civilization progresses; someone highly indoctrinated to become unable see the out of the box possibilities. She also is a representative of the educated elite of China of the time. Hope her type is no more there in China. Else it doesn't portend well for the second biggest economy of the world--mainly on account of a cheap labour. Imagine the tyranny of it among the Chinese people, those who work in subhuman conditions. A total lack of innovation and making fakes won't take it far. A regimented mindset is the problem of one party system of China.