The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947

Based entirely on unpublished primary sources, Tsering Shakya’s groundbreaking history of modern Tibet shatters the popular conception of the country as an isolated Shangri-la unaffected by broader international developments. Shakya gives a balanced, blow-by-blow account of Tibet’s ongoing struggle to maintain its independence and safeguard its cultural identity while being sandwiched between the heavyweights of Asian geopolitics: Britain, India, China, and the United States. With thorough documentation, Shakya details the Chinese depredations of Tibet, and reveals the failures of the Tibetan leadership’s divided strategies. Rising above the simplistic dualism so often found in accounts of Tibet’s contested recent history, The Dragon in the Land of Snows lucidly depicts the tragedy that has befallen Tibet and identifies the conflicting forces that continue to shape the aspirations of the Tibetan people today.(Amazon)
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The Dragon in the Land of Snows: Review by Joanne Beaver

Field of Interest/Specialty: Economics/Government
Posted On: 10/14/2018

The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947 provides a very detailed account of Tibet in the years after World War II and beyond. The author, Tsering Shakya, uses primary documents to lay out blow-by-blow details of Tibet’s hopes for an independent country at the end of the Chinese Civil War. Shakya uses white papers and other primary sources to provide detail of Tibet’s perilous situation caught between India and China geographically and the forces of political and historic change marking the end of World War II. He lays out the hopes of the Tibetan government as they try and determine who will be their strongest ally to make their case for sovereignty before the newly initiated United Nations. The detail is intense and makes this section a hard read. Although dense, the detail helps to lay out the frustration and dilemma that Tibet suffers in its geopolitical location.
As the book progresses, Shakya’s pace picks up and the intricacies of palace intrigue with the Dalai Lama’s escape to India reads like the international thriller that it is. The reader appreciates the Dalai Lama’s maturing into a world leader as he negotiates his escape from Norbulingka. Shakya describes how loyal followers of the government were able to communicate with the people of Lhasa despite the lack of control of official communication networks.
The relationship between the governments of Tibet and China include the involvement of the newly-created CIA, Prime Minister Nehru, the Dalai Lama, Zhou Enlai, and others. Although its detail does make the book dense at times, it provides great detail and background to help understand Tibet and its quest for independence.