Rebeccasreads highly recommends BUDDHA'S WARRIORS as an enthralling account of a fabled brotherhood of freedom fighters as their nation came under seige 60 years ago. From unmapped Himalayan valleys to Beijing back doors to Colorado training camps, we follow the fierce few who would rather die than live enslaved by an alien culture.
Most of us in the Western world have a romantic & confused image of Tibet, fueled, of course, by our vision of Shangri-La. BUDDHA'S WARRIORS is no fairy tale, & no movie with a happy ending. The devastation of the Tibetan people & their culture is still going on.
Mikel Dunham, author of an exquisite photo album SAMYE: A Prilgimage to the Birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism, has set the narrative of BUDDHA'S WARRIORS around the oral transcripts of the Tibetan men he interviewed, the ones who actually fought the Chinese, telling the inside story of this historic modern fight against conquest which, for many "reasons" the rest of the world has largely ignored.
BUDDHA'S WARRIORS gives a vivid picture of Tibetan life before, during, & after Mao's takeover. It is a saga of brave soldiers & cowardly traitors; hope against desolation, courage against repression, atheism against Buddhism -- the real-life fight between good & the evil empire.
"Buddha's Warriors" is a story that needed desperately to be told -- what it took to turn thousands of non-violent Tibetan Buddhists into an armed rebellion, and how the CIA left them high and dry -- and Dunham tells it with expertise and flair. Somehow he has gathered an incredible roster of primary sources (including American insiders), and he wields them like a knife against the history of Chinese oppression and U.S. cowardice.
Dunham has a knack for pulling together the pieces of this somewhat obscure tale -- just try to find it in history books -- and making it coherent, exciting.
Few people seem to know how China's invasion drove so many dedicated pacifists to violent means. Even the Dalai Lama, who for so long has refused even to acknowledge violence as a viable method, gives these Khampa warriors their due respect in the book's foreward. That's quite something.
Dunham has done a great service to written history by publishing this book. But it's not hard work to read, like so many histories these days. Those who do not follow Tibet's latest struggle will surely enjoy it all the same, and those who regard the struggle with a certain degree of frustration and disbelief ("how can they not fight?!") will be infused with a good healthy dose of vindication and righteous anger.