Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet

Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet

4.7 14
by Jonathan Green
     
 

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The once indomitable peaks of the Himalaya, which have long served to isolate Tibet from its neighbors, have meanwhile become the ultimate test for serious Western mountain climbers. Each year, increasing numbers seek glory and an escape from the drudgery of their lives-an answer to life's eternal riddle in the world's highest mountain range. Roughly 2,500 Tibetans

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Overview

The once indomitable peaks of the Himalaya, which have long served to isolate Tibet from its neighbors, have meanwhile become the ultimate test for serious Western mountain climbers. Each year, increasing numbers seek glory and an escape from the drudgery of their lives-an answer to life's eternal riddle in the world's highest mountain range. Roughly 2,500 Tibetans, [however], flee their country annually in a brutal journey over the Himalaya...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2006, an impulsive, naïve young Tibetan nun and her best friend, both yearning for religious freedom from Chinese rule, joined a group of fellow Tibetans desperate to escape to India, where the Dalai Lama has lived since the 1950 annexation of Tibet by China. Kelsang Namtso and Dolma Palkyi embarked on the brutal journey over the Himalayas. Smuggled by illegal guides past Chinese border police, the group braved freezing temperatures and snow, the high altitude, and perilous crevasses. Green alternates the refugees' trek with that of Luis Benitez, an American celebrity mountain guide leading a rich group of international clients to the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu. The two groups met on the peak as Chinese guards, alerted to the refugees' presence, chased after the escapees with machine guns ablaze, and Kelsang was killed in full view of the Westerners. One of Benitez's clients filmed the incident, which gained worldwide notoriety. Awkwardly written and poorly edited, freelance journalist Green's earnest chronicle trumpets his disdain for the exploitation of the Himalayas by rich, macho mountaineering novices, his hatred of Chinese Communists for human rights violations, and his reverence for Tibetan culture. (June)
From the Publisher

Shelf Awareness
“A shattering tale that will appeal to readers of all things about Tibet, mountaineering, human rights and the preservation of cultural integrity.”
 
Kirkus
“Green’s steely, factually dense analysis of this unlawful conspiracy sheds light on a perennial human-rights crisis…. In clear, concise prose, the author deliberates over China’s stranglehold on Tibet, its systematic dismantling of the indigenous culture and the terror tactics employed on families.”
 
The Bookseller
“A gripping tale of routine murder that would have gone unreported but for the fact that a group of Western clumbers were silent witnesses to the killing of a young Tibetan woman attempting to cross the border into India.”
 
Mikel Dunham, author of Buddha’s Warriors
“Once in a while, a book comes along that transcends its region-specific subject matter and addresses universal questions with calm moral clarity. Murder in the High Himalaya is such a book. It is a mesmerizing alpine adventure of horrifying consequences, a sober look at China’s crimes against humanity, and a reality check on the so-called heroics of Westerners who belong to the elite mountaineering community.”
 
Macleans
“Who spoke out and who did not, and why, is at the heart of one of the most unsettling books of recent years.” 
 
Economist
“By personalising Namtso’s life and death, Mr Green has conjured in the flesh an otherwise anonymous figure from Tibet’s shadows” 
 
Daily Beast
“Brilliantly told…. Captivating.”
 
The Economist, June 11, 2010

"By personalising Namtso’s life and death, Mr Green has conjured in the flesh an otherwise anonymous figure from Tibet’s shadows." 

 
The Daily Beast, June 18, 2010
“Brilliantly told…. Captivating.”
 
The Spectator (UK), June 17, 2010
“A word is missing from the subtitle of Jonathan Green’s shocking exposé: cowardice. It shines out of his story of the murder of the 17-year-old Tibetan nun, Kelsang Namtso…. The core of this book is Kelsang’s murder and its implications, which Green, an experienced journalist, recounts vividly and with scrupulous attention to evidence… In this book he shows himself to be a first-class reporter.”
 
Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2010
“Green’s descriptions are breathtaking.”
 

Richard Gere
Murder in the High Himalaya is the enthralling story of Kelsang Namtso and Dolma Palkyi and the unbearable lengths these young girls went to in search of education and freedom. It is a heartbreaking and damning statement of failed policies by the Chinese government against Tibetans who despite these brutal obstacles, still refuse to give up hope. For the first time we were eyewitnesses to the murder of innocent Tibetans during their attempt at freedom. This book is a meaningful testament to the human spirit in its purest form.”
 
Peter King, Sports Illustrated.com
“Great thing about [Murder in the High Himalaya] is I knew nothing about Tibetan culture and the Dalai Lama and the vital significance to every citizen there, in defiance of Chinese law. Fascinating.”
 
The Asian Review of Books
“As a resident of the Himalayas, and a practicing Buddhist myself, I was impressed with the author's understanding of the complex culture and the subtleties of people living in the Himalayan region.”
 
Mail on Sunday
“…an extraordinary book…. [Green’s] irrefutable account of a superpower’s shame.” 

Kirkus Reviews
The cold-blooded slaying of a runaway Tibetan teenager ignites worldwide concern about the violent oppression at "the roof of the world."For three years, American journalist Green travelled to remote sections of Tibet to investigate the murder of a young nun who died at the hands of Chinese border officials. In clear, concise prose, the author deliberates over China's stranglehold on Tibet, its systematic dismantling of the indigenous culture and the terror tactics employed on families like Dolma's, who were frightfully roused in the night by the Chinese officials known for randomly inspecting the homes of native Tibetans for proof of "activities deemed ?unpatriotic' to China and Mao Zedung's Communist legacy." Dolma fled Tibet alongside her fiery, impulsive best friend Dolkar. Both girls grew up close in Juchen Village, a mountainside hamlet, and became increasingly aware of the police-state atmosphere of their homeland, which only served to feed their dreams of crossing the Himalayan range into India. Dolkar's burgeoning spirituality was the impetus for the girls' escape in 2006 after she took vows to become a Tibetan nun and was rechristened Kelsang Namtso. As a spiritual exile from communism, Kelsang realized she was now a target of the aggressive Chinese government and must flee for her life. Green injects Kelsang and Dolma's great escape with anxious tension as their group of 75 refugees exhaustively traversed the Nangpa La, a treacherous, highly patrolled mountain passage, aided by an illegal guide. "Minutes from the border," Kelsang was mercilessly shot by patrol guards, and the scene was observed by senior Everest mountaineer Luis Benitez, who was concurrently guiding a group nearby. China's relentless campaign of obfuscation and blamelessness ensued, and Tibetans continued to flee, unabated by the violence. Green's steely, factually dense analysis of this unlawful conspiracy sheds light on a perennial human-rights crisis. Agent: Jody Hotchkiss/Hotchkiss and Associates

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586487140
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author


Award-winning journalist Jonathan Green has written for the New York Times, Men's Journal, Esquire, GQ, The Financial Times Magazine, Men's Health, and The Mail on Sunday, among others. Never shy of demanding assignments, he has reported in war-torn Sudan, the jungles of Borneo, and the ice fields of Alaska. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife.

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