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Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Race for Lhasa by Peter Hopkirk (2006-03-27)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Race for Lhasa by Peter Hopkirk (2006-03-27).pdf | Language: UNKNOWN
    Peter Hopkirk;(Author)

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  • Peter Hopkirk;(Author)
  • John Murray; edition (2006-03-27) (1800)
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Review Text

  • By Uncle M on January 20, 2013

    Like other Peter Hopkirk books, the general time frame is the late 1800s to early 1900s. Tibet is a mysterious land, nominally under the control of China. The hardy Tibetans hold onto their customs and way of life to appear as if they were from another time altogether.From British controlled India, and Tsarist Russia, the adventurous begin to explore this hostile and strange land. Ultimately their goal becomes Lhasa: the city forbidden to travelers from the West and their allies.From this backdrop the reader is met with an equally strange cast of characters who attempt to reach Lhasa. You have some typical Victorian-era adventurer types, but also others that clearly have no business attempting such endeavors in some of the harshest environments as those found in Tibet. Every time they are turned back one way or another by the Tibetans.As usual Mr. Hopkirk does an outstanding job of really giving the reader a feel for the region, inhabitants, and historical context. I have read many of his other books so it is easy to tie into certain characters such as Francis Younghusband and Sven Hedin who appear at various points. Also this book extends out into the 20th century more than other Hopkirk books including some stories of the quest for Everest, WWII, and the Chinese invasion.To be honest, other Peter Hopkirk books have a much more pronounced theme that carries the disparate story lines much better than this book. Besides the quest for Lhasa, there really isn't much that binds all of the stories together coherently. The result is that the book feels like a set of short stories about Tibet. Its still good, just lacking cohesion.Overall I enjoyed the book, but Mr. Hopkirk has set the bar higher than this effort. It will appeal to fans of the author, or those who are really into Tibetan history.

  • By Ramdas Iyer on December 28, 2015

    Amazing story and research.Hopkirk does it one more time. I now hate to return to the 21st century.The many triumphs and follies of the British raj is apparent here.

  • By ulpio on July 25, 2013

    Once again Hopkirk drags you to discover exotic scenery, characters that are bigger than reality but also a sad backdrop of individual and collective tragedies. I have never been particularly tempted by Tibet, but now I am!

  • By Ronald A. Homan on February 9, 2013

    If you are interested in Central Asia and China historythis book will keep you reading into the late hours.A great supplment to "The Great Game".

  • By Rosemary De La V on August 13, 2014

    Took me back to Lhasa on my travels to this amazing country. Can't say enough about the place.

  • By Paula Kahumbu on March 24, 2013

    One of the best books I have ever read - and intend to read it again and again. It was especially meaningful after visiting Tibet. Hopkirk is a surprising writer who takes you on extraordinary adventures into hostile places. Super super book.

  • By David W Donaldson on May 25, 2013

    Full of information interestingly laid out.Great read like most of the stuff he does.definitely worth a read for those interested in Tibet

  • By Paula on November 22, 2012

    In the 19th Century, a race to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, enticed the most formidable male and female explorers from Europe, Russia and even Japan to defy the Tibetans ban on foreigners visiting their most sacred city from where their God King, the Dalai Lama ruled. In Trespassers on the Roof of the World Peter Hopkirk transports you to the skeleton strewn paths in the frigid oxygen deprived mountains and exposes you to the vertical mountain passes, starvation and marauding bandits in the worlds highest deserts. Tibet fascinated explorers precisely because it was unknown and was thought to hold the unbelievable secrets. The race to Lhasa was all the more alluring due to the phenomenal natural defense of mountains surrounding the city, and the fact that the city was fiercely defended by loyal Tibetan armies.Hopkirk introduces you to each of the key explorers and their motivations, and keeps you wrapped up in the political intrigues of the different countries and motivations of the individuals. This was a period of expansionism for Russia and Britain - both of whom sought to control central Asia and her wealth. You get into the shoes of the explorers, a diverse group of people including soldiers, surveyors, doctors and missionaries including a baby. Their methods of escaping detection by the Tibetans included dressing up as religious pilgrims or traders. But after months of battling the elements and bandits, most of the earliest explorers were worn out physically and their supplies completely depleted. It was upon the Tibetan gate keepers in the mountain passes to keep such people out of Tibet. Those thought to have assisted foreigners was dealt with using brutal medieval torture and sometimes a slow painful death - the details are generously described by Hopkirk. After months of what can only be described as hell, most of the explorers were forced to turn back before even setting eyes on the magnificent city of Lhasa. Finally when the city falls there is no cause for celebration. Hundreds of Tibetans are massacred when the pieces of paper they each carried, signed by the Dalai Lama failed to protect them from bullets as promised.Hopkirks phenomenal story telling skill effortlessly combines history, politics, cultures and landscapes. This captivating story doubt benefits from his personal experiences during his extensive travels in the region but also from his long background and experience as a journalist in the region. Hopkirk tells the story as it happens and tries not add value judgments, still, it's hard not to feel outraged by the arrogance and insensitivity of these gate crashers, and the governments that sent them.Having visited Lhasa, traveled across the deserts and peered at the ornate religious monuments, this book has renewed my sense of spiritual respect for the Tibetans. I wish I'd read it before I went there.


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