Winter Reading List: What our community is reading

We hope that you enjoy this Tibet winter reading list featuring recommendations given by our members and supporters, ranging from historical accounts to personal narratives. As the cold weather gets even chillier, why not curl up with a cuppa and immerse yourself in one of these books about Tibet.

Tibet With My Eyes Closed

“In this collection of short stories, heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure, the lives of displaced Tibetans building new homes in India are chronicled with rare nuance…Madhu Gurung writes evocatively and with deep empathy about the Tibetan community’s struggles and success, despair and hope, and the fabric of family and identity that stretches and dissolves and knits itself back in new configurations.”


Tibet in Agony

Tibet in Agony provides the first clear historical account of the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa. Sifting facts from the distortions of propaganda and partisan politics, Jianglin Li reconstructs a chronology of events that lays to rest lingering questions about what happened in those fate-filled days and why. Her story begins with throngs of Tibetan demonstrators who—fearful that Chinese authorities were planning to abduct the Dalai Lama, their beloved leader—formed a protective ring around his palace.”

– Harvard University Press

Captured in Tibet

In 1950, Robert Ford was working as a radio officer for the government of Tibet and was the only Westerner to witness the invasion. He was taken prisoner by the Chinese government and held captive until 1955, accused of espionage and anti-Communist propaganda.

“This is a gripping account of a lone English radio operator working in Chamdo, Kham, arrested when the Chinese invaded. It provides authentic first hand accounts of life as it was then and the subsequent Chinese occupation.”

 – ATC Board Member Annie Wale

In Search For the Panchen Lama

“Hilton does an excellent job of explaining all the historical and political complexities of the position of the Panchen Lama in Tibet. The book serves as a fascinating biography of the tenth Panchen Lama, and exposes the steps behind the recognition of the eleventh, and the inhumane steps the Chinese government took to discredit the Dalai Lama’s true choice. I highly recommend this book for anyone with interest in Tibet.”

Review on Goodreads

Meltdown in Tibet

“An intrepid environmentalist and travel writer…Buckley provides in his latest book an impassioned and angry account of… [how] China has penetrated Tibet’s ground waters, and its deep-lying minerals, and violated its mighty rivers and grasslands.”

–  Jonathan Mirsky, High Peaks Pure Earth

A Hell on Earth

A Hell on Earth is the biography of Ven. Bagdro a Tibetan monk who became a political prisoner of China in 1988, when he was only 20 years old. The title reflects the terrible experience that the author endured as a Tibetan political prisoner. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tibetan struggle and the recent history of China and Tibet in this period.”

Review on Amazon

Our Tibet: The Journey of One Tibetan Family

“Our Tibet is a revealing and insightful true story of the exile and return of a Tibetan family and a plea for the return of Tibet’s future to Tibetans.” 

– The Book Depository

“Through the eyes of one Tibetan family. A journey against all odds. A bond between generations. A story of love, courage and the enduring strength of a people striving for freedom.”

– National Library Board of Singapore

Tears of Blood

“Mary Craig tells the story of Tibet with candor and power. Based upon extensive research and interviews with large numbers of refugees now living in exile in India, this book presents four decades of religious persecution, environmental devastation, and human atrocities that have caused Tibetans to weep “tears of blood.”

– Goodreads

Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama

“A wonderfully entertaining and fascinating book by the exiled leader of Tibet and winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. In an unassuming and down-to-earth style, he writes about what it means to be the living reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, the religious and secular head of Tibet…One comes away from this book with tremendous respect and admiration for this compassionate man and spiritual leader.”

– Review in Foreign Affairs

Tibet - A History

Tibet: A History sheds light on the country’s complex relationship with China and explains often-misunderstood aspects of its culture, such as reborn lamas, monasteries and hermits, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the role of the Dalai Lama. Van Schaik works through the layers of history and myth to create a compelling narrative, one that offers readers a greater understanding of this important and controversial corner of the world.”

– Goodreads

Seven Years in Tibet

“The well known story of Austrian mountaineer who escaped a British internment camp in India during the Second World War. Harrer lived in Tibet, where he befriended the young Dalai Lama, until November 1950 when he left after the invasion by the Chinese Red Army.”

– ATC Company Secretary Mark Openshaw

No Passport to Tibet

“This is a factual account, recalled forty-three years later with the aid of a detailed diary kept at the time, of a fifteen-hundred mile journey through previously unknown and un-surveyed rough country in the year before the outbreak of the First World War. Twenty b/w photographs assist the reader’s imagination.”

– Goodreads review

Thank you to our members and supporters who shared their recommendations! Check out Our Summer Reading List: 12 books by Tibetan authors.