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Through a lyrical narrative of her journey to Tibet in 2007, activist Canyon Sam contemplates modern history from the perspective of Tibetan women. Traveling on China's new " Sky Train," she celebrates Tibetan New Year with the Lhasa family whom she'd befriended decades earlier and concludes an oral-history project with women elders.
As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women's courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic "new Lhasa," Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet's past through the lens of the women - a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride - affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today - in Tibet, in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.
Gracefully connecting the women's poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, the author comes full circle, finding wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet's irreversible changes.
For more about the author, go to http://www.canyonsam.com/skytrain.html
University of Washington Press
In her remarkable book, writer and activist Sam examines the stories of varied Tibetan women-displaced aristocrats, impassioned freedom fighters, educators, and others-united in their desperation to reclaim their country. Over a period of years, Sam recorded stories of life under Chinese occupation, visiting her subjects by China's new "sky train." A third-generation Chinese-American, Sam also chronicles her own experiences in Tibet throughout the narrative, skillfully mimicking readers' slow discovery of the country in its many dimensions. Though complicated politically, Sam handles Tibet's dilemma with knowledge and grace, addressing the larger history of Tibet to reveal a beautiful, subtle culture that's as rich as it is foreign. At no time does Sam sugarcoat the effects of Chinese occupation on the people or the land, rendering human rights issues in terms of intensely personal experience. Visceral and deeply felt, this narrative deserves a read from anyone interested in human rights and the untold stories of oppressed women everywhere. 30 illus.
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ForewordPrefaceIntroduction1. Sky Train2. Morning on the Changtang3. Lhasa4. Crossing the Himalayas5. DharamsalaEpilogueNotes GlossaryAcknowledgments About the Author
University of Washington Press
Posted May 8, 2010
I never knew much about Tibetian Culture Prior to this reading, except that it was interconected with Buddhism. I however did not know how the Chinese invaded and put the culture behind a "death wall", culturally, socially, psychologically, everything was beaitfully written. Makes me want to get up and join the fight for a culture that has touched me to my core.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.