Sunday, June 23, 2013


The mystical mountain regions of the Himalayas have captivated western imaginations: British imperial ambitions in the Great Game, spiritual questers seeking enlightenment, or hippies seeking a groovy end of a trail in Kathmandu.  Here's my miscellaneous collection. 

1.  Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer (1954).  Austrian Harrer was an expert mountaineer preparing to climb a Himalayan peak when he was interred in India by the British.  He escaped his internment camp to make his way into Tibet.  Harrer gains the confidence of a young Dali Lama and stays in the mountain country until 1950 when he was forced out by the Chinese Communists.  40 pages of black and white photos.  Later made into a movie with Brad Pitt as Harrer.  Book-of-the-Month Club edition.  Bought used at an unremembered location.   

2.  Roof of the World: Tibet, Key to Asia, Amaury de Riencourt (1950).   In 1946, de Riencourt trekked into Tibet to study the mysticism of the Tibetan lamas.  He provides a portrait of the country with great detail on the capital city of Lhasa.  Black and white maps and photos.   Inscription from Christmas 1950, "Greetings to you Helen, you who are to me one of life's gifts - a friend who has been with me and through many years!  Love Louise."  Bought used at the State Department Bookstore.

3.  Tibet: A Chronicle of Exploration, John MacGregor (1970).  Pen-named by a U.S. Department of State diplomat who found the Himalayas irresistible.  This is history of European fascination and exploration of Tibet starting from the time of Marco Polo.  Black and white photos, illustrations and historical maps.  Bought used at the State Department Bookstore.

4.  Zanskar: The Hidden Kingdom, Michel Peissel (1979).  Piessel was an explorer of Himalayan lands.  Zanskar sits at the top of India next to Pakistan and Tibet in the Himalayan Range.  He befriends the two "kings" who rule this closed land.  Color photos.  Bought used, possibly at the State Department Bookstore. 

5.  Mustang: The Forbidden Kingdom, Michel Peissel (1967).  Isolation within Isolation -- Mustang is an area within Nepal.  Peissel continues his successful exploration of this remote area.  Bought used somewhere.

6.  Bayonets to Lhasa, Peter Flemming (1961).  Veteran adventurer of central Asia and brother of Ian Flemming, Peter Flemming provides a chapter in the history of the Great Game between Russia and England.  In 1904, the British incursion into Tibet was led by Colonel Francis Younghusband, soldier and mystic.  Bought used at the State Department Bookstore.  

7.  Stones of Silence, George Schaller: Journeys in the Himalayas (1980).  Mostly a study of wildlife of the Himalayas.  Color photos.  Bought at the State Department Bookstore.

8.  Beyond the High Himalayas, William O. Douglas (1952).  Written by the late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  Black and white and color photos and maps.  Bought used at the State Department Bookstore. 

9.  Tibetan Marches, Andrea Migot (1948).  Migot was a French Army doctor who journeyed alone through Eastern Tibet and China in order to research aspects of Tibetan Buddhism  During this journey he tried but failed to reach Lhasa disguised as a lama.  Bought used somewhere.  

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