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The Tibetans 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631225744
ISBN-10: 0631225749
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Tibetans
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  • Sources of Tibetan Tradition (Introduction to Asian Civilizations)
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Editorial Reviews


"The Tibetans improves and expands upon its predecessors, and we have Matthew Kapstein to thank for his efforts." (Moran Review, October 2010)

"Kapstein's work provides a highly accessible and comprehensive account of scholarship on the subject, ensuring that his book will feature prominently on reading lists for students at all levels, especially undergraduates." (Religious Studies Review, September 2010)"The Tibetans offers the best single overview of Tibetan cultural history currently available, and it is highly recommended reading for students and professional scholars alike. It is surely destined to be the standard work of its type well into the foreseeable future." (The Journal of Asian Studies, December 2009)

"Kapstein has produced a finely textured work that can correct prevailing misconceptions and introduce the reader to the amazing complexity of what he calls the "Tibetan civilizational sphere." The Tibetans helps us better understand the historical and cultural forces that have shaped Tibet's destiny." (Traditional Yoga Studies)

"It has been a long time since Tibet scholars have had a text so comprehensive, well informed, beautifully written and majestically sensitive. This book is a ‘must read’ for junior scholars of Tibet and for lay persons with a general interest in the region; even those already expert in the field will find here much that is both entertaining and edifying." (The China Journal)

"Recommended." (CHOICE)

"An excellent book and it adds greatly to our knowledge of this fascinating people … I recommend this book strongly." (Educational Review)

"An authoritative but accessible work of erudition, well-designed for the undergraduate market." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

"It is a book that all scholars of Tibet and Central Asia, regardless of disciplinary focus, should read and control." (Asian Ethnology)

"This accessible book makes the latest research on Tibetan history and culture widely available and can be recommended as a standard introduction to the field." (Atlas Serials)


"In the past, for largely geographical reasons, Tibet was isolated from the rest of the world, which meant that our country, people and culture were not only shrouded in mystery, but often gravely misunderstood. More recently, as interest has grown, scholarship concerning Tibet has improved beyond expectation, although it has often singled out narrow topics for consideration. In producing this substantial book, which takes a broad view of Tibetans and their civilization, within a long historical perspective, Matthew Kapstein has brought to his work the authority and clarity he has acquired through many years of friendship with and observation of the people of the Land of Snow."
His Holiness The Dalai Lama

"Professor M. T. Kapstein's elegantly written The Tibetans describes the Tibetan area, its inhabitants and the richness of its religious and secular culture in a truly exquisite and highly intelligent manner. It is an impressive achievement. The Tibetans is in every respect a masterful survey in which the political and cultural history of the enormous area inhabited by the Tibetan people get their fair share. Every page of this volume is informed by the author's profound knowledge and understanding of the many facets of this unique culture. In my opinion, The Tibetans will surely displace the earlier, general volumes on Tibet by R.A. Stein and H.E. Richardson and D.L. Snellgrove, and thus quickly become a modern classic."
Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Harvard University


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631225749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631225744
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written book for those who have general interest on Tibet and Tibetans, given the fact there is barely any other books currently available written by highly qualified experts on Tibetan history and Tibetan people for general audience, this book does go a long way. The previous reviewer's comment is just utterly strange and unfair.
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Format: Hardcover
When I picked up this book at my public library the first thing I noticed was a blurb on the back from the Dalai Lama. And my immediate thought was: uh oh! Not that I have anything against the Dalai Lama - I happen to think he is an exceptional person, although I'm not so sure about some of his followers - but it did raise the suspicion that this book might be a political hack job. But as this book had been recommended to me I decided to check it out anyway.

And I am glad I did. This is a well-written, well-researched book into the history and customs of the Tibetan people, and generally gives the fair and balanced perspective that one would hope for in a subject as politically loaded as this one. Because the truth is - and I do not base this judgment solely on this one text - the Chinese do have a case. Their case is probably not as strong as that of the Tibetans, (although I daresay probably stronger than ours was in detaching the American southwest from Mexico), but neither is the issue as cut and dried as it is made out in the western press. Too often we Americans simply dive into the politics of third world regions without knowing any of the background of the areas involved.

This book is a powerful corrective. Read it, weigh the issues, and come to your own conclusions.

Note: That the Dalai Lama would give his imprimatur to a text that is so obviously not a hack job actually increased my estimation of him as a person.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant book! It contains information not easily found in encyclopaedias or guidebooks. I highly recommend it to anyone who is deeply interested in the Tibetan civilisation!
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