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This is an excellent, illuminating book, in line with Goldstein's preceding volume. It is both superbly researched and highly readable, thanks to the author's admirable capacity to weave significan not quotations and documents into his narrative. This said, a couple of issues may be raised. 1st and almost all important, in analyzing this chunk of Tibetan history Goldstein adopts a consistent approach, reflecting his views. This is fully acceptable, however sometimes1gets the impression that the author's perspective has become static and schematic, as if he had partially lost his previous sensitivity to the events on the ground. The previous volume's extraordinarily vivid image of Lhasa's life and society is no longer there and the author seems to have become somewhat estranged from Tibetan mentality. Second, while it is impossible for anyone to fully grasp the complexity of Tibetan life and culture, Goldstein's relative indifference to its essential religious dimension is quite apparent here.
It is not possible to fully understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened—and why—during the 1950s. In a book that continues the story of Tibet's history that he began in his acclaimed A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State, Melvyn C. Goldstein critically revises our understanding of that key period in midcentury. This authoritative account utilizes new archival material, including never before seen documents, and extensive interviews with Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, and with Chinese officials. Goldstein furnishes fascinating and sometimes surprising portraits of these major players as he deftly unravels the fateful intertwining of Tibetan and Chinese politics against the backdrop of the Korean War, the tenuous Sino-Soviet alliance, and American cold war policy.
It is not possible to fully understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened in the 1950’s. The third volume in Melvyn Goldstein's History of Modern Tibet series, The Calm before the Storm, examines the critical years of 1955 through 1957. During this period, the Preparatory Committee for a Tibet Autonomous Region was inaugurated in Lhasa, and a major Tibetan uprising occurred in Sichuan Province. Jenkhentsisum, a Tibetan anti-communist émigré group, emerged as an important player with secret links to Indian Intelligence, the Dalai Lama’s Lord Chamberlain, the United States, and Taiwan. And in Tibet, Fan Ming, the acting head of the CCP’s office in Lhasa, launched the "Great Expansion," which recruited many thousands of Han Cadres to Lhasa in preparation for beginning democratic reforms, only to be stopped decisively by Mao Zedong’s "Great Contraction" which sent them back to China and ended talk of reforms in Tibet for the foreseeable future. In Volume III, Goldstein draws on never-before seen Chinese government documents, published and unpublished memoirs and diaries, and invaluable in-depth interviews with important Chinese and Tibetan participants (including the Dalai Lama) to offer a new level of insight into the events and principal players of the time. Goldstein corrects factual errors and misleading stereotypes in the history, and uncovers heretofore unknown information on the period to reveal in depth a nuanced portrait of Sino-Tibetan relations that goes far beyond anything previously imagined.
The "Tibetan Question," the nature of Tibet's political status vis-à-vis China, has been the subject of often bitterly competing views while the facts of the issue have not been fully accessible to interested observers. While one faction has argued that Tibet was, in the main, historically independent until it was conquered by the Chinese Communists in 1951 and incorporated into the new Chinese state, the other faction views Tibet as a traditional part of China that split away at the instigation of the British after the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and was later dutifully reunited with "New China" in 1951. In contrast, this comprehensive study of modern Tibetan history presents a detailed, non-partisan account of the demise of the Lamaist state. Drawing on a wealth of British, American, and Indian diplomatic records; first-hand-historical accounts written by Tibetan participants; and extensive interviews with former Tibetan officials, monastic leaders, soldiers, and traders, Goldstein meticulously examines what happened and why. He balances the traditional focus on international relations with an innovative emphasis on the intricate web of internal affairs and events that produced the fall of Tibet. Scholars and students of Asian history will find this work an invaluable resource and interested readers will appreciate the clear explanation of highly polemicized, and often confusing, historical events.
It is not possible to understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened in the 1950s, especially the events that occurred in 1957–59. The fourth volume of Melvyn C. Goldstein's History of Modern Tibet series, In the Eye of the Storm, provides new perspectives on Sino-Tibetan history during the period leading to the Tibetan Uprising of 1959. The volume also reassesses issues that have been widely misunderstood as well as stereotypes and misrepresentations in the popular realm and in academic literature (such as in Mao’s policies on Tibet). Volume 4 draws on important new Chinese government documents, published and unpublished memoirs, new biographies, and a large corpus of in-depth, specially collected political interviews to reexamine the events that produced the March 10th uprising and the demise of Tibet’s famous Buddhist civilization. The result is a heavily documented analysis that presents a nuanced and balanced account of the principal players and their policies during the critical final two years of Sino-Tibetan relations under the Seventeen-Point Agreement of 1951.
An account of Tibet and the Tibetan people that emphasises the political history of the 20th century. This book attempts to reach beyond the polemics by considering the various historical arguments, using archival material from several nations and drawing conclusions focused on available documents.
This captivating autobiography by a Tibetan educator and former political prisoner is full of twists and turns. Born in 1929 in a Tibetan village, Tsering developed a strong dislike of his country's theocratic ruling elite. As a 13-year-old member of the Dalai Lama's personal dance troupe, he was frequently whipped or beaten by teachers for minor infractions. A heterosexual, he escaped by becoming a drombo, or homosexual passive partner and sex-toy, for a well-connected monk. After studying at the University of Washington, he returned to Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1964, convinced that Tibet could become a modernized society based on socialist, egalitarian principles only through cooperation with the Chinese. Denounced as a 'counterrevolutionary' during Mao's Cultural Revolution, he was arrested in 1967 and spent six years in prison or doing forced labor in China. Officially exonerated in 1978, Tsering became a professor of English at Tibet University in Lhasa. He now raises funds to build schools in Tibet's villages, emphasizing Tibetan language and culture.
Presents a comprehensive history of the country, from its beginnings in the seventh century, to its rise as a Buddhist empire in medieval times, to its conquest by China in 1950, and subsequent rule by the Chinese.
"These extraordinary memoirs dictated by a key figure in the history of 20th century Sino-Tibetan relations are essential reading for all interested in understanding this important subject. The founder of the Tibetan Communist Party recalls vividly his personal role in the epic struggle of the Tibetan people over tradition and modernity, and the hopes, betrayals and tragedies that have marked it. The idealism, honesty and courage that have defined his life are in full evidence in this gripping personal narrative."—John L. Holden, President, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations "This is one of the great untold stories of modern Tibet. Phüntso Wangye is a man who has never stopped fighting for his people, and the story of his life is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and essential for understanding what has happened in Tibet since the 1930s. Tibetan history has never before been as exciting to read as it is here."—John Ackerly, President, International Campaign for Tibet