Book Review: Escape From the Land of Snows

I had the rare opportunity where there were no books in my "to read" stack, so I went to the

library and walked around just reading the backs of books and picked up a couple.  The following is one of the books selected during that particular visit to the library. 

Review of Book #45

Escape From the Lands of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama's Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero by Stephen Talty

I was so excited when I picked up this book because I am so intrigued by the Dalai Lama and was anxious to learn more about him.

Perhaps my hopes for this book were misplaced.   Rather than a book describing the war, I was anticipating a book about the Dalai Lama himself; hoping to learn about how the Dalai Lama's trip from Tibet to India changed and impacted his life, and perhaps a little more about the Buddhist faith.  I was somewhat disappointed to find that the book covered mostly the war between the "rebel" Tibetans and Communist China.   A great amount of time is spent on how important the Dalai Lama is to the people of Tibet and the desire they posses to protect him from the Chinese that are invading their city.  Jumping between different people involved in the war, the devotion to the Dalai Lama becomes very apparent.   The actual story of the Dalai Lama's journey is sparsely scattered among the other people fighting the war.   I don't feel that I actually learned much about how the journey impacted the Dalai Lama until the second to last chapter of the book.  

I did learn that a young man, twenty four years of age, who is leading the country has to stand up to Mao Zedong and his desire to spread Communism.  Growing up in a completely secluded, protected environment, the Dalai Lama has no idea that people can be evil and trusts anyone who is human.   His trip to India shows him that people can be evil, are very poor, and need help.   Compassion being something that has run deep in the Dalai Lama from early childhood, he begins to understand humans a little better.   He leaves Lhasa a rich man and enters India poor with "poor man's disease" or dysentery.   The escape to India allows him to change some of the traditions of Buddhism that he struggled with, for example separating government and religion.

Overall, I think if I had not had preconceived ideas of this book I would have enjoyed it much more.  Although I did learn some things, so it was not a complete waste of time.

Curious to know what you have been reading? 


  1. I'd love to see your whole list of books! I've been meaning to "document" some of my reading too, so maybe this will nudge me. A few in my stack right now are: Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Real Love for Real Life by Andi Ashworth (Charlie Peacock's wife), Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst, Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner

    1. Jen, I will definitely be sharing my whole list at the end of December. Thanks for sharing what is in your stack right now. I will reference this post when my stack needs to be stocked again! :)