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Seven Years in Tibet (Cornerstone Editions) Paperback – August 20, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Originally published in 1953, this adventure classic recounts Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer's 1943 escape from a British internment camp in India, his daring trek across the Himalayas, and his happy sojourn in Tibet, then, as now, a remote land little visited by foreigners. Warmly welcomed, he eventually became tutor to the Dalai Lama, teenaged god-king of the theocratic nation. The author's vivid descriptions of Tibetan rites and customs capture its unique traditions before the Chinese invasion in 1950, which prompted Harrer's departure. A 1996 epilogue details the genocidal havoc wrought over the past half-century. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“One of the grandest and most incredible adventure stories I have ever read.”
The New York Times Book Review

“First there is the incredibly adventurous twenty-onemonth trek across rugged mountain and desolate plain to the mysterious heartland of Tibet; then the fascinating picture, rich in amazing detail, of life in Lhasa. . . . Final chapters draw an intimate portrait of the youthful Dalai Lama.”
The Atlantic Monthly
 
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Product Details

  • Series: Cornerstone Editions
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (August 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585427438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585427437
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Three months after finishing and putting down the book, I'm still so inspired by the whole Heinrich Harrer tale and his experience in Tibet. This is the coming about of the second review of the book.
The book starts off at the outbreak of World War II. Heinrich Harrer and his mountain climbing associates, while attemtping the Nanga Parbat mountain, were arrested by the British and were imprisoned in Indian internment camp located near the border with Tibet.
After securing enough life necessities and supplies, Harrer and his friend Peter Aufschnaiter escaped and set out for the Indian-Tibetan border.
The road to Lhasa was strenuous, arduous, and painful. Harrer and Aufschnaiter struggled with winter blizzard, depleting supplies, mountain sickness, and even risk of robbers. They had to obtain license upon arrival in unexplored territory. They risked the refusal to enter Tibet without a permit. They risked their life as their supplies won't last for the trip.
Upon arrival into the country, they were greeted with curiosity, meticulousness, guard, and warmth. They were housed in government mansion; treated sumptuous Tibetan meal; tailored expensive hand-crafted embroidered wardrobe. From day to day throng of visitors came visit these newly-arrived foreigners.
Heinrich Harrer lived in Lhasa for almost 5 years. He performed plumbing and other technical servies for his friends and government officials. He taught children how to read and write English. He introduced ice-skating to Tibetans by sticking a knife underneath the boots.
The most significant portion of this book is the detailed yet sentimental description of Harrer's relationship with the young Dalai Lama.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Not being a writer, Harrer has created a very pleasant book describing his years as a prisoner in India, his escapes, and his travels through Tibet as he and his companion Aufschnaiter try to reach Tibet's forbidden city, Lhasa. The narrative is smooth, making the reader walk with them as they deceive Tibet's authorities and thieves, finding friendship among the nomads, spending months across the country. Reaching Lhasa, the story changes to the way of life of the Tibetans, and his own, as he comes to consider Tibet his new home. He is able to picture the religious festivities, the fundaments of their budhaism, the social skills, the way the people see their God-king, the Dalai Lama. The only part of the story I think is not well developed enough is his relationship with the Dalai Lama, he spents only the last final two chapters with it. The end of the book is a little too quick, which represents the way he was forced by the chinese to leave Tibet. A very good book, and one can learn a lot about Tibet with it. The real stuff, not the kind of things you hear when some fancy movie star says he's budhist.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I am a Tibetan, born in Tibet, I grew up India and now I live in Boston.I read Seven years in Tibet when I was in school in India some 24 years ago.I immensely liked the book and the sense of adventure,hope and uncertainty that Heinrich Harrer and his companion Peter were facing or about to face then.When my family escaped the communist Chinese invasion of our Country,our home and our way of life, I was then very little.I knew then something very bad was happening, because my family members were packing and getting ready to go somewhere. I did not know then where we were headed.Seven years in Tibet opened my eyes about my country, my religon, my family,my leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, my identity and above all the great adventure and hardship the author and his friend were going through. After I read Seven years in Tibet, I recommended the book to my friends and was telling them the story.
When I heard last year that Seven years in Tibet was being made a Hollywood film, I was thrilled.I thought if the film maker did a good job then the film would be a hit.The Film would portray Tibetan culture,way of life,Buddism in Tibet and the political situation in Tibet before and after the Chinese communist's PLA invasion. I saw the film couple times but it was not as good as I expected. Never the less, I am still recommending the book and film to my friends, who are curious, want to know more about Tibet,Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhism.The book and the film will do a lot of good for the Tibetan cause.It will publicise the plight of Tibetan and Tibet.The film has some shortcomings but then something is better than nothing at least.
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