Drawing on a vast array of historical and biographical sources, this volume elaborates Tibetan political history, arguing that Tibet has long been an independent nation, and that the 1950 incursion by the Chinese was an invasion of a sovereign country. The author situates Tibet's relations with a series of Chinese, Manchurian, and Mongolian empires in terms of the preceptor-patron relationship, an essentially religious connection in which Tibetan religious figures offered spiritual instruction to the contemporaneous emperor or other militarily powerful figure in exchange for protection and religious patronage. Simultaneously, this volume serves as an introduction to many aspects of Tibetan culture, society, and especially religion. The book includes a compendium of biographies of the most significant figures in Tibet's past.
Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa (1907-1989) was the finance minister and a senior diplomatic representative of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. He wrote several books and many articles on Tibetan history.
Derek F. Maher, Ph.D. (2003) in Religious Studies, University of Virginia, is Associate Professor of Buddhism at East Carolina University, where he is the Director of the Religious Studies Program. He has published widely on Tibetan history and biography.
'No book review can do justice to this overwhelming and almost intimidating sum of detailed scholarship and careful translation and editing. This book, not only for its historical contents and the point of view of its author, but also for its academic “tour de force”, is a great contribution to the history of Tibet and will benefit Tibetans and Westerners alike.'
The Journal of Asian Studies, 70/1 (2011)
Anyone interested in Tibetan history, nationalist historiography, Sino-Tibetan relations, Asian history, and the intersection of religion and politics.