Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet (Kodansha Globe) Paperback – 15 April 1995
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"Hopkirk handles the storytelling with infectious enthusiasm...[with] great and obvious love for the subject, and is one of those British writers who cannot write an awkward of boring sentence."—Bruse Colman, The San Francisco Chronicle
"A lament for a country that, wanting only to be left alone, was hauled unceremoniously into the twentieth century, and is now an unwilling satellite of Communist China."—Richard E. Nicholls, The Philadelphia Inquirer
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- Publisher : Kodansha Globe; Reprint edition (15 April 1995)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 286 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1568360509
- ISBN-13 : 978-1568360508
- Item Weight : 358 g
- Dimensions : 14.48 x 2.03 x 21.59 cm
- Country of Origin : USA
- Best Sellers Rank: #445,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Although most of the people Hopkirk chronicles in Trespassers on the Roof of the World were motivated by the desire and associated glory of being the first Westerner to reach Lhasa, their tales are not the most interesting, at least in my viewpoint. Mohamed-i-Hameed, Sarat Chandra Das, Kishen Singh, Nain Singh and his cousin Mani, all British spies and often referred to as "pundits", did much of the early work of opening up Tibet. Their activities were technically illegal and much resented by the Tibetans but their resourcefulness and bravery cannot be questioned and I cannot help but admire them. Hopkirk's expose' of their activities is altogether too brief and I hope he is able to write more about them in the future.
Sad to say, once the British did reach Lhasa, interest in Tibet slowly faded to the point that when the Tibetans asked western powers for aid in resisting the Chinese annexation of their country in 1950, there was very little done for them. Realpolitik at work, I suppose, but I also think it made many people (especially the Tibetans) wonder what all the fuss among Westerners over Tibet was about in the first place. All in all, Trespassers on the Roof of the World is a great book for anyone interested in learning more about Central Asia's history and is an entertaining read to boot. I highly recommend it.