Trespassers on the Roof of the World ePUB å

Trespassers on the Roof of the World ePUB å


10 thoughts on “Trespassers on the Roof of the World

  1. Daren Daren says:

    Hopkirk sets out to summarise a history of Western adventurers attempts unsuccessful ans those which succeed to reach Lhasa Commencing with Montgomerie s spies in 1865 through to the Dali Lama s departure from Lhasa to India in the wake of Chinese invasion in 1959.He does sothan adequately, and does a good job of determining where to spend his time and where to skip over the main points He maintains a good pace, keeping the entertainment level and interest levels high, throwing in cult Hopkirk sets out to summarise a history of Western adventurers attempts unsuccessful ans those which succeed to reach Lhasa Commencing with Montgomerie s spies in 1865 through to the Dali Lama s departure from Lhasa to India in the wake of Chinese invasion in 1959.He does sothan adequately, and does a good job of determining where to spend his time and where to skip over the main points He maintains a good pace, keeping the entertainment level and interest levels high, throwing in cultural aspects anddistant history as necessary.This is one of Hopkirk s many books on The Great Game espionage, and confrontation political and diplomaticthan military between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over Central Asia Britain had fears that Russia was making dealt with Lhasa although they were not , and considered it essential to get eyes inside Lhasa Their early attempts, which met with some success, involved training Indians as surveyors to map the routes in and avoid detection by taking on the role of Buddhist holy men With notes secreted with prayer wheels, a compass hidden in a false compartment and a thermometer in the removable top of a staff.As keen as the British were to access Lhasa, the Tibetan s were to keep foreigners out Execution was the punishment for attempting to enter Lhasa, although this wasn t commonly carried out especially on those Westerners who were caught and there were many who were first instructed to return the way they came, and when as was mostly the case it was not possible to do so usually climatic conditions and the state of their pack animals and guides they were offered assistance with asimple route out of Tibet usually to India.I wont spoil the fun with a list of those who tried, and what the outcomes were, but we may get one longercomplex story in a chapter, or two or even three attempts in a a chapter Either way, they are all varied and interesting, for what is essentially a list of people who are all trying to to the same thing, andoften than not ended in the same outcome Worth a read if only to put all those attempts into a context Also referred to are a number of books written by those lucky enough to have been sent out which leads on to further reading indepth if desired.For me four stars


  2. Bettie Bettie says:

    A brief history of Tibet where the original Gods descended by ropes from the sky and skittled back up to heaven as and when the notion appealed to them, however one of the ropes became severed and that is where the race of Tibetans originates.A thousand years later Buddhism hits, that bastardised form that came via India and included all manner of animistic mysteries Mixed into this was a low grade Christianity and voil the result is Laimist religion we know today.The main stay of this book i A brief history of Tibet where the original Gods descended by ropes from the sky and skittled back up to heaven as and when the notion appealed to them, however one of the ropes became severed and that is where the race of Tibetans originates.A thousand years later Buddhism hits, that bastardised form that came via India and included all manner of animistic mysteries Mixed into this was a low grade Christianity and voil the result is Laimist religion we know today.The main stay of this book is the surreptitious mapping of this forbidden to outsiders land during The Great Game years and the spy tactics employed by the Colonial English Army in India Some parts of the adventure encapsulated in Kim by Kipling Page 55 If the gatecrashers were determined to get in, the Tibetans were equally determined to keep them out The dreadful retribution meted out to a Tibetan official who had unwittingly given assistance to one such intruder is grim proof of this insert horrid description here The gatecrasher who caused all this trouble was Sarat Chandra Das, immortalised in Kim as Hurree Chunder Mookerjee. Annie Royle Taylor 7 October 1855 9 September 1922 was an English Evangelical missionary to China and the first Western woman known to have visited Tibet She attempted to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa Henry Savage Landor In 1897 he set off on his travels to explore Tibet where he was captured and suffered terrible adversities and tortures Nevertheless, he discovered the sources of the Indus and the Brahmaputra Landor returned fearlessly to Tibet a second time and then to Nepal From his journeys to Tibet and Nepal come his books In the Forbidden Land 1898 and Tibet and Nepal 1905 Alexandra David N el, a Blavatsky Theosophy student FrancisYounghusband1904 British expedition to Tibet, during which a massacre of Tibetans occurredTuesday Lobsang Rampa, author of The Third Eye, turned out to be plain, untravelled Cyril Henry Hoskin, a plumber from Devon.Ultimately the history is just such a sad thing to contemplate its privacy prised open by Westeners and then The Red Guards take over the country completely.Spring 2013 Himahlya reads CR In the Forbidden Land4 Trespassers on the Roof of the WorldCR In the Himalayas


  3. Caroline Caroline says:

    At the beginning of the 19th century Tibet was largely unknown Hemmed in by ferociously high mountains, and experiencing freezing temperatures, it was not the easiest of places to explore A third factor was to play an important part too The British and Russian empires were extending their influence into central Asia, creeping towards Tibet In fact Britain just wanted to form a series of buffer states, or a cordon sanitaire between the wealth of India and possible trouble from the north, At the beginning of the 19th century Tibet was largely unknown Hemmed in by ferociously high mountains, and experiencing freezing temperatures, it was not the easiest of places to explore A third factor was to play an important part too The British and Russian empires were extending their influence into central Asia, creeping towards Tibet In fact Britain just wanted to form a series of buffer states, or a cordon sanitaire between the wealth of India and possible trouble from the north, but the Tibetans were convinced that the British had designs on their goldfields They also felt that the British and Russians wanted to destroy their religion The Tibetans were passionate about their traditional religious beliefs, and as a result they took these imagined threats very seriously They therefore became extremely hostile to anyone crossing their borders Their main deterrent besides the natural barriers of mountains and the cold , was to order their citizens to never help foreigners entering Tibet in any way Anyone transgressing this, even if it was done in absolute innocence, was subject to the most horrendous and torturous punishments.I like to think that the following waves of explorers, cartographers, soldiers and missionaries who entered Tibet did not know about the threat they posed to the well being of any native Tibetans they tried to barter with, or fooled with their disguises The retaliation they brought down upon the heads of those who unwittingly helped them was cruel and savage beyond belief But a steady wave of people did enter Tibet, and this book is all about them the people who made the attempt to breach the Himalayan mountains and reach the impossible goal of Lhasa.Some of the people in this book really stood out for me The PunditsThese were incredibly courageous and tough Indians, sent up to Tibet from British India, mainly to map what was largely uncharted territory, but also to bring back any intelligence they could garner Their journeys were full of adventure, and in many instances incredibly harsh and demanding The tools they used for their cartography were extraordinary, as everything had to be hidden in their Tibetan disguises Not only was the Buddhist rosary ingeniously adapted.but so were prayer wheels These were fitted with a secret catch which enabled the pundit to open the copper cylinder and insert or remove the scrolls of paper bearing his route notes and other intelligence Late the workshops at Dehra Dun were to conceal compasses inside the wheels, so that a pundit could take bearings while pretending to be at prayer Large instruments like sextants were concealed in specially built false bottom in the travelling chests which native travellers carried, while secret pockets were added to their clothing Thermometers, for measuring altitude, were concealed in hollowed out staves, and mercury necessary for setting an artifical horizon when taking sextant readings was hidden in a sealed cowrie shell and poured into a pilgrim s bowl whenever needed Most extraordinary, to me, was that much of this mapping was done by the pundits counting their footsteps The pundit Nain Singh walked 1,200 miles, and counted two and a half million individual paces, with the aid of his rosary Another pundit, Kishen Singh, was sent on a gigtantic route survey of nearly 3,000 miles He counted five and a half million paces with his rosary Later cartography expeditions found their work surprisingly accurateThe AdventurersHenry Savage Landor, grandson of the Victorian poet, had the most amazing and harrowing time in Tibet He and his two servants were lucky to escape with their lives, and this was much due to Landor s almost freakish impassiveness when they were captured and tortured by hostile Tibetans.Ekai Kawaguchi was a Japanese Buddhist monk, and abbot of a monastery he entered Tibet disguised as a Chinese physician He reached Lhasa, even though it took him four years, and he stayed there for fourteen months He did not gain a favourable impression of the Tibetan monks, describing them as lascivious, ignorant, cruel, dirty, greedy, lazy and dishonest He was also not enad with the levels of dirt he found in Lhasa One of the chapters in his book is entitled A Metropolis of Filth Most of all, he was horrified by the barbaric way the Tibetans punished wrongdoers, and tortured suspects What I particularly liked about him was that with his simple medical knowledge he was able to help the local people, and he gained a good reputation in this respect Eventually he even got to meet the Dalai Lama The SoldierIn 1902 the British were really worried about Russia s intentions towards Tibet Unable to liaise with the Tibetans through normal channels because the Tibetans refused to communicate , Franchis Younghusband was sent to Tibet He went there first with 200 Indian troops but the Tibetans still refused to talk to them, and later, in 1903 he was sent back, this time with 1000 soldiers and this time there was fighting At Guru and Karo Pass the Tibetans were defeated, in spite of having much larger numbers The British went on into Lhasa.and won the hearts of the people They respected their holy places They paid for their provisions They had a good reputation for being merciful after the fighting at Guru.Younghusband was popular, and able to negotiate a strong pro British agreement with the Tibetans, although later this was considerably watered down by a revision from London The book also describes the first Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1910, and their retreat in the face of revolution at home It also describes the brutal and tragic second Chinese invasion of 1950 the repercussions of which are felt to the present day.Throughout the book, and in spite of the incredibly harshness of their living conditions, and the savage enactment of Tibetan law. the Tibetans themselves were praised for their good humour, courage, loyalty and stoicism.In the end I was left feeling quite ambivalent towards all those who tried enter Tibet during this period the loss of limbs and lives, to both servants and animals, seemed a high price to pay for the knowledge gained.Generally I enjoyed the book, except I was slightly bored by the repetitiveness of the layout descriptions of one explorer after the other I have also been spoilt I have read Heinrich Harrer s Seven Years in Tibet, which is one of my all time favourite books This book complements Harrer s book well though, and it s good to have learntabout the broader context of Tibet in the nineteenth and twentieth century


  4. Jeanette (Again) Jeanette (Again) says:

    This author is an outstanding historian and an excellent storyteller His great strength is in sharing the history without including the boring details that only serious historians find interesting The book starts with an explanation of why the Tibetans historically guarded their borders and the holy city of Lhasa so carefully Then the book describes a series of expeditions large and small that crossed the borders illegally and attempted to reach Lhasa The Tibetans were fierce and vigilant, a This author is an outstanding historian and an excellent storyteller His great strength is in sharing the history without including the boring details that only serious historians find interesting The book starts with an explanation of why the Tibetans historically guarded their borders and the holy city of Lhasa so carefully Then the book describes a series of expeditions large and small that crossed the borders illegally and attempted to reach Lhasa The Tibetans were fierce and vigilant, and the attempts were repelled Eventually the British succeeded by using military force, and established outposts in Tibet.The latter part of the book details some of the early attempts to reach the summit of Mt Everest known to Tibetans as Goddess Mother of the World from within Tibet There are also some little known accounts of harrowing experiences during WWII One I found especially interesting was about a WWII plane that crashed near Lhasa in a storm Those aboard didn t even know they were in Tibet.The book ends on a sad note, telling of how the Chinese Red Guards took over Tibet and set about destroying all that was good or unique about it.There s a lot of fascinating information about the old culture of Tibet in this book, also They were primitive and tribal, and very superstitious Not at all like the Shangri La image a lot of people have of the Forbidden Land Their traditional greeting was to stick their tongues out at each other as far as they could, flat against their chins There s even a picture in the book of them doing this


  5. Tim Pendry Tim Pendry says:

    Peter Hopkirk, a leading British journalist, wrote a series of excellent popular histories of Central Asia, between 1980 and 1996, which opened up the area to the British public and re introduced them to the Great Game for control of Eurasia that continues to this day.This volume, the second of six and published in 1982, concentrates on Tibet after it closed its borders to protect its unique culture and then became the subject of intense curiosity by Victorians with many different motives, prepa Peter Hopkirk, a leading British journalist, wrote a series of excellent popular histories of Central Asia, between 1980 and 1996, which opened up the area to the British public and re introduced them to the Great Game for control of Eurasia that continues to this day.This volume, the second of six and published in 1982, concentrates on Tibet after it closed its borders to protect its unique culture and then became the subject of intense curiosity by Victorians with many different motives, prepared to risk severe deprivation and death in order to reach Lhasa.The book speaks for itself The first half is essentially a long series of individual stories, some of which are basically espionage, others simple adventuring and some absurd idealistic efforts to Christianise the country Each an adventure and each a good read.Surveying Tibet was a military concern for the British since there was, probably ill informed, fears that Moscow might appear in Lhasa one day and the way south to British India be laid open The Russians themselves clearly had some interest in keeping Tibet out of British control.Throughout this time, Tibet held a curious place within the Chinese Empire, nominally part of it but essentially independent in all but name desperately poor and ruled by an exceptionally brutal theocratic caste operating a form of feudalism maintained through religious fear.The virtue of the book lies in the skills of Hopkirk as journalist He reports things straight without ideological overlay contemporary journalists might have learned a thing or two from him and in a way that allows us, with maps, to construct a strong sense of Tibet s topography The climax of the book is Younghusband s Expedition of 1903 which was a classically British reluctant invasion against an unprepared feudal army led by religious numskulls where even the invaders were horrified by the slaughter and were quick to try to save the lives of those they shot.The book loses impetus towards the very end because Younghusband effectively opened up Lhasa to British influence which the British Cabinet clearly did not entirely care about with a line of trading situations out of Sikkim that probably benefited Raj and Tibet alike.But the British always respected Chinese suzerainty and did nothing substantial to improve the condition of the country Tibet also declined to be anything but studiously neutral in the Second World War which probably sealed its fate later.The final chapter is a fair account of the Chinese invasion of Tibet which really has nothing to do with the main theme of the book but is a necessary coda for a readership that, at time of publication, was very aware of the role of Central Asia Afghanistan in the Cold War.This brings out the modern moral problem of Tibet On the one hand, the Tibet that China invaded in 1950 was recognised as within China by the international community and China was invading a regime that was only marginally less brutal, feudal and poor than 100 years before.On the other hand, anyone who believes in national self determination might recognise that the Tibetans ought to have had a right to determine their future that is, if they had been anything close to a democracy.Hopkirk is sound in his judgements The British had withdrawn from the Raj and Nehru did not want confrontation with China The Chinese came in as class liberators not without some justification but faced the fact that much of the population was dependent on the existing system.In disrupting that system, the Chinese authorities instigated rebellion and a genuine Tibetan nationalist revolt counteracted any class liberation strategy Things deteriorated from Chinese mismanagement and then brutality as Chinese investigators were later to accept.The romance of the current Dalai Lama, however, should not stop us from considering that the story of Tibet is not a black and white story and no doubt the US has been dabbling as it often does with agit prop and subversion It is a complex story that needsup to date telling.As a whole, this well written book is largely about individual tales of adventure and derring do by remarkable men and some women who make our contemporaries look like wimps in terms of what they were prepared to do for whatever ends they had in mind.As so often, the uniqueness of the British Raj shines through Though ultimately always beholden to the British Government in London on policy, it really ran itself and developed political, military, diplomatic and espionage systems that were state of the art at the time At the other end of the book from the Chinese invasion is the remarkable story not of the incursion of lone Westerners but of the Indians who worked for British intelligence and went undercover in Tibet at great risk, literally to pace out a survey of Tibet with their feet and hidden instruments.Indeed, one of the problems of the book is how to claim discovery when, of course, the Chinese had no problem of access and neither did, say, Russian Buryats or Raj Ladakhs Self evidently the book is only about those excluded by Lhasa the presumed agents of foreign imperial powers.So, this book is not to be regarded as a book of discovery or even exploration since the Tibetans knew their own country only too well but one of imperial incursion and cultural invasion, even if the Tibetans perhaps could have done with some modern ideas for the sake of their people.Romantics may want or have wanted Tibet to be preserved in the aspic of theocracy because of its unique Buddhist culture but we should be clear about this that culture was obscurantist and capable of extreme cruelty and exploitation.The spiritual aspects of Buddhism did not require thousands of parasitical lamas and many of the beliefs were and are absurd uses of human energy in obeisance to a structure of power that brought few material benefits to the population and was based largely on fear of demons and lamas.Which brings us back to modern Tibet which is in limbo modernised up to a point by China with a condition of the people improved materially but not master of its own destiny and now with large numbers of Han Chinese settlers having diluted its ethnic base.One has no doubt that feudalism has gone for good but the structures and networks of the old families in exile no doubt stand ready to return and create a form of neo liberal Buddhism if this can be engineered by Washington so that little is resolved.One might hope that the Tibetans themselves might be given some form of democracy free of foreign but also of theocratic influence but its geo political situation and the ambitions of elites of all stripes make this unlikely It remains subject to a zero sum game between empires.All we can hope for is continued material improvements as the Chinese economy improves and as Eurasia becomes a unified economic zone and sufficient respect for tradition that Tibetans can feel that their identity is still theirs and can be built on for the future


  6. Sophie Schiller Sophie Schiller says:

    There are no other words to describe this book other than it is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding Central Asian Tibetan exploration After reading it, you will come away with a better understanding of Tibetan culture and beliefs but also the fears, anxieties and stress the Tibetans have been under for centuries to maintain their distinct culture and way of life and the players who risked their lives to break down the walls of Tibetan instransigence Anyone planning to embark on a journey There are no other words to describe this book other than it is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding Central Asian Tibetan exploration After reading it, you will come away with a better understanding of Tibetan culture and beliefs but also the fears, anxieties and stress the Tibetans have been under for centuries to maintain their distinct culture and way of life and the players who risked their lives to break down the walls of Tibetan instransigence Anyone planning to embark on a journey to Tibet, either physically or scholarly, must read this book Mr Hopkirk treats the subject with the respect and dignity it deserves, especially with regard to honoring the memory of those who made the self sacrificing journey to the roof of the world


  7. brian dean brian dean says:

    The book does exactly what it claims to, describes the efforts of outsiders to visit Lhasa, but so few of the stories have happy endings, and the country of Tibet sure does not, that this is not an uplifting book.I read Hopkirk s The Great Game and Quest for Kim, both of which literally cover similar ground The three together focus on the lure and mystery of the Himalayas and Tibet specifically.I don t know how much of Tibet the Llamas thought they ruled but the book shows there was a lot they The book does exactly what it claims to, describes the efforts of outsiders to visit Lhasa, but so few of the stories have happy endings, and the country of Tibet sure does not, that this is not an uplifting book.I read Hopkirk s The Great Game and Quest for Kim, both of which literally cover similar ground The three together focus on the lure and mystery of the Himalayas and Tibet specifically.I don t know how much of Tibet the Llamas thought they ruled but the book shows there was a lot they didn t control The main difficulty of explorers trying to reach Lhasa were the bandits Criminals or not, they did an excellent job of supporting Tibet s rulers in not allowing foreigners far into their country.I wrote that the stories are not uplifting but they sure are examples of dedication and perseverance The men and women who attempted to reach Lhasa faced great challenges and overcame many And even when they failed in their ultimate goal, they still managed to supply the outside world with maps and biological specimens never before known


  8. Philip Philip says:

    First Hopkirk book I ever read, and got me hooked on his whole series of Central Asian histories Fascinating in that they are all character driven and there s nointeresting cast of characters than all those 19th and early 20th century British explorers


  9. Anita Edwards Anita Edwards says:

    A series of short stories chronicling all the attempts by Westerners to enter Tibet and the forbidden city of Lhasa from the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century.The cast of characters range from interesting to charming, baffling, to insensitive, timid to brutal, but all including the Chinese and Tibetans with an unwavering ethnocentrism While the book merely tells the stories it s hard not ask bigger questions Why the desperate need to map Tibet, when the mappers would A series of short stories chronicling all the attempts by Westerners to enter Tibet and the forbidden city of Lhasa from the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century.The cast of characters range from interesting to charming, baffling, to insensitive, timid to brutal, but all including the Chinese and Tibetans with an unwavering ethnocentrism While the book merely tells the stories it s hard not ask bigger questions Why the desperate need to map Tibet, when the mappers would never be allowed in and therefore never be able to use the maps they made at the cost of many lives Is curiosity anyor less of a justification for trespassing in another culture than racial, religious and cultural prejudice is for excluding a class of visitors Tibet wasn t forbidden to everyone, the Chinese and Indians always had access Buddhists on pilgrimage from outside of Tibet were routinely admitted.But it would be disingenuous for me to say I didn t think Tibetans had good reason to think the West was out to reform their religion, their medieval government or that racial prejudice and arrogance wasn t a big part of the motivation to explore.Tragically, despite all the energy and lives Tibetans spent on keeping them out,it wasn t ultimately Westerners who ravaged Tibet and Tibetan culture It was Maoist China and the Red Guard.While it doesn t take a position, this book is weighing on my mind as I am scheduled to go to Lhasa in a little over a week It hasn t escaped my notice that it is the Chinese who are giving me a visa to enter Tibet, not the Tibetans I admit curiosity about this place, these people and the Potala Palace are prime motivators for going Still, I wonder if a Tibetan were allowed to state his her opinion, if they wouldn t say tourism is just the latest kind of invasion and I am just another trespasser on the roof of the world


  10. Ted Ted says:

    Not exciting enough to be a good adventure book nor compelling enough to be a satisfying history, this is nonetheless a decent read due to both the author s solid writing and the intriguing subject It becomes quite repetitive, however, as explorer after explorer gets turned away before reaching Lhasa It feels like he included some stories for the sake of completeness rather than for their drama I did like the book enough that I may try someof Hopkirk s histories of Central Asia.


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Trespassers on the Roof of the World ❮PDF / Epub❯ ☆ Trespassers on the Roof of the World Author Peter Hopkirk – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk No other land has captured man s imagination quite like Tibet Hidden away behind the Himalayas, ruled over by a god like king, it has long been the stuff of travelers dreams Peter Hopkirk tells of the the Roof PDF È No other land has captured man s imagination quite like Tibet Hidden away behind the Himalayas, ruled over by a god like king, it has long been the stuff of travelers dreams Peter Hopkirk tells of the forcible opening up of this medieval land during the th and th centuriesThe tale has a Trespassers on PDF/EPUB ² cast of secret agents and soldiers, explorers and missionaries, mystics and mountaineers intruders determined to snatch from the Tibetans the secret of their contentment The story ends with the Chinese invasion inSo it was that the long suffering Tibetans finally lost their freedom to the last of the many trespassers A marvelous book, well on the Roof PDF/EPUB ã researched and written a treat for armchair explorers everywhere New Statesmen.

    Load results Apple Footer Apple Support during the th and th centuriesThe tale has a Trespassers on PDF/EPUB ² cast of secret agents and soldiers, explorers and missionaries, mystics and mountaineers intruders determined to snatch from the Tibetans the secret of their contentment The story ends with the Chinese invasion inSo it was that the long suffering Tibetans finally lost their freedom to the last of the many trespassers A marvelous book, well on the Roof PDF/EPUB ã researched and written a treat for armchair explorers everywhere New Statesmen."/>
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • Trespassers on the Roof of the World
  • Peter Hopkirk
  • 21 June 2019
  • 0874775760

About the Author: Peter Hopkirk

the Roof PDF È Peter Hopkirk was born in Nottingham, the son of Frank Stewart Hopkirk, a prison chaplain, and Mary Perkins He grew up at Danbury, Essex, notable for the historic palace of the Bishop of Rochester Hopkirk was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford The family hailed originally from the borders of Scotland in Trespassers on PDF/EPUB ² Roxburghshire where there was a rich history of barbaric raids and reivers hanging justice It must have resonated with his writings in the history of the lawless frontiers of the British Empire From an early age he was interested in spy novels carrying around Buchan s Greenmantle and Kipling s Kim stories about India on the Roof PDF/EPUB ã At the Dragon he played rugby, and shot at BisleyBefore turning full time author, he was an ITN reporter and newscaster for two years, the New York City correspondent of Lord Beaverbrook s The Sunday Express, and then worked for nearly twenty years on The Times five as its chief reporter, and latterly as a Middle East and Far East specialist In the s, he edited the West African news magazine Drum, sister paper to the South African Drum Before entering Fleet Street, he served as a subaltern in the King s African Rifles in in the same battalion as Lance Corporal Idi Amin, later to emerge as a Ugandan tyrantHopkirk travelled widely over many years in the regions where his six books are set Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and eastern TurkeyHe sought a life in dangerous situations as a journalist, being sent to Algeria to cover the revolutionary crisis in the French colonial administration Inspired by Maclean s Eastern Approaches he began to think about the Far East During the Bay of Pigs fiasco in he was based in New York covering the events for the Express No stranger to misadventure, Hopkirk was twice arrested and held in secret police cells, once in Cuba, where he was accused of spying for the US Government His contacts in Mexico obtained his release In the Middle East, he was hijacked by Arab terrorists in Beirut, which led to his expulsion The PLO hijacked his plane, a KLM jet bound for Amsterdam at the height of the economic oil crises in Hopkirk confronted them and persuaded the armed gang to surrender their weaponsHis works have been officially translated into fourteen languages, and unofficial versions in local languages are apt to appear in the bazaars of Central Asia In , he was awarded the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal for his writing and travels by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs much of his research came from the India Office archives, British Library, St PancrasHopkirk s wife Kathleen Partridge wrote A Traveller s Companion to Central Asia, published by John Murray in ISBN Hopkirk died on August at the age of .


10 thoughts on “Trespassers on the Roof of the World

  1. Daren Daren says:

    Hopkirk sets out to summarise a history of Western adventurers attempts unsuccessful ans those which succeed to reach Lhasa Commencing with Montgomerie s spies in 1865 through to the Dali Lama s departure from Lhasa to India in the wake of Chinese invasion in 1959.He does sothan adequately, and does a good job of determining where to spend his time and where to skip over the main points He maintains a good pace, keeping the entertainment level and interest levels high, throwing in cult Hopkirk sets out to summarise a history of Western adventurers attempts unsuccessful ans those which succeed to reach Lhasa Commencing with Montgomerie s spies in 1865 through to the Dali Lama s departure from Lhasa to India in the wake of Chinese invasion in 1959.He does sothan adequately, and does a good job of determining where to spend his time and where to skip over the main points He maintains a good pace, keeping the entertainment level and interest levels high, throwing in cultural aspects anddistant history as necessary.This is one of Hopkirk s many books on The Great Game espionage, and confrontation political and diplomaticthan military between the British Empire and the Russian Empire over Central Asia Britain had fears that Russia was making dealt with Lhasa although they were not , and considered it essential to get eyes inside Lhasa Their early attempts, which met with some success, involved training Indians as surveyors to map the routes in and avoid detection by taking on the role of Buddhist holy men With notes secreted with prayer wheels, a compass hidden in a false compartment and a thermometer in the removable top of a staff.As keen as the British were to access Lhasa, the Tibetan s were to keep foreigners out Execution was the punishment for attempting to enter Lhasa, although this wasn t commonly carried out especially on those Westerners who were caught and there were many who were first instructed to return the way they came, and when as was mostly the case it was not possible to do so usually climatic conditions and the state of their pack animals and guides they were offered assistance with asimple route out of Tibet usually to India.I wont spoil the fun with a list of those who tried, and what the outcomes were, but we may get one longercomplex story in a chapter, or two or even three attempts in a a chapter Either way, they are all varied and interesting, for what is essentially a list of people who are all trying to to the same thing, andoften than not ended in the same outcome Worth a read if only to put all those attempts into a context Also referred to are a number of books written by those lucky enough to have been sent out which leads on to further reading indepth if desired.For me four stars

  2. Bettie Bettie says:

    A brief history of Tibet where the original Gods descended by ropes from the sky and skittled back up to heaven as and when the notion appealed to them, however one of the ropes became severed and that is where the race of Tibetans originates.A thousand years later Buddhism hits, that bastardised form that came via India and included all manner of animistic mysteries Mixed into this was a low grade Christianity and voil the result is Laimist religion we know today.The main stay of this book i A brief history of Tibet where the original Gods descended by ropes from the sky and skittled back up to heaven as and when the notion appealed to them, however one of the ropes became severed and that is where the race of Tibetans originates.A thousand years later Buddhism hits, that bastardised form that came via India and included all manner of animistic mysteries Mixed into this was a low grade Christianity and voil the result is Laimist religion we know today.The main stay of this book is the surreptitious mapping of this forbidden to outsiders land during The Great Game years and the spy tactics employed by the Colonial English Army in India Some parts of the adventure encapsulated in Kim by Kipling Page 55 If the gatecrashers were determined to get in, the Tibetans were equally determined to keep them out The dreadful retribution meted out to a Tibetan official who had unwittingly given assistance to one such intruder is grim proof of this insert horrid description here The gatecrasher who caused all this trouble was Sarat Chandra Das, immortalised in Kim as Hurree Chunder Mookerjee. Annie Royle Taylor 7 October 1855 9 September 1922 was an English Evangelical missionary to China and the first Western woman known to have visited Tibet She attempted to reach the forbidden city of Lhasa Henry Savage Landor In 1897 he set off on his travels to explore Tibet where he was captured and suffered terrible adversities and tortures Nevertheless, he discovered the sources of the Indus and the Brahmaputra Landor returned fearlessly to Tibet a second time and then to Nepal From his journeys to Tibet and Nepal come his books In the Forbidden Land 1898 and Tibet and Nepal 1905 Alexandra David N el, a Blavatsky Theosophy student FrancisYounghusband1904 British expedition to Tibet, during which a massacre of Tibetans occurredTuesday Lobsang Rampa, author of The Third Eye, turned out to be plain, untravelled Cyril Henry Hoskin, a plumber from Devon.Ultimately the history is just such a sad thing to contemplate its privacy prised open by Westeners and then The Red Guards take over the country completely.Spring 2013 Himahlya reads CR In the Forbidden Land4 Trespassers on the Roof of the WorldCR In the Himalayas

  3. Caroline Caroline says:

    At the beginning of the 19th century Tibet was largely unknown Hemmed in by ferociously high mountains, and experiencing freezing temperatures, it was not the easiest of places to explore A third factor was to play an important part too The British and Russian empires were extending their influence into central Asia, creeping towards Tibet In fact Britain just wanted to form a series of buffer states, or a cordon sanitaire between the wealth of India and possible trouble from the north, At the beginning of the 19th century Tibet was largely unknown Hemmed in by ferociously high mountains, and experiencing freezing temperatures, it was not the easiest of places to explore A third factor was to play an important part too The British and Russian empires were extending their influence into central Asia, creeping towards Tibet In fact Britain just wanted to form a series of buffer states, or a cordon sanitaire between the wealth of India and possible trouble from the north, but the Tibetans were convinced that the British had designs on their goldfields They also felt that the British and Russians wanted to destroy their religion The Tibetans were passionate about their traditional religious beliefs, and as a result they took these imagined threats very seriously They therefore became extremely hostile to anyone crossing their borders Their main deterrent besides the natural barriers of mountains and the cold , was to order their citizens to never help foreigners entering Tibet in any way Anyone transgressing this, even if it was done in absolute innocence, was subject to the most horrendous and torturous punishments.I like to think that the following waves of explorers, cartographers, soldiers and missionaries who entered Tibet did not know about the threat they posed to the well being of any native Tibetans they tried to barter with, or fooled with their disguises The retaliation they brought down upon the heads of those who unwittingly helped them was cruel and savage beyond belief But a steady wave of people did enter Tibet, and this book is all about them the people who made the attempt to breach the Himalayan mountains and reach the impossible goal of Lhasa.Some of the people in this book really stood out for me The PunditsThese were incredibly courageous and tough Indians, sent up to Tibet from British India, mainly to map what was largely uncharted territory, but also to bring back any intelligence they could garner Their journeys were full of adventure, and in many instances incredibly harsh and demanding The tools they used for their cartography were extraordinary, as everything had to be hidden in their Tibetan disguises Not only was the Buddhist rosary ingeniously adapted.but so were prayer wheels These were fitted with a secret catch which enabled the pundit to open the copper cylinder and insert or remove the scrolls of paper bearing his route notes and other intelligence Late the workshops at Dehra Dun were to conceal compasses inside the wheels, so that a pundit could take bearings while pretending to be at prayer Large instruments like sextants were concealed in specially built false bottom in the travelling chests which native travellers carried, while secret pockets were added to their clothing Thermometers, for measuring altitude, were concealed in hollowed out staves, and mercury necessary for setting an artifical horizon when taking sextant readings was hidden in a sealed cowrie shell and poured into a pilgrim s bowl whenever needed Most extraordinary, to me, was that much of this mapping was done by the pundits counting their footsteps The pundit Nain Singh walked 1,200 miles, and counted two and a half million individual paces, with the aid of his rosary Another pundit, Kishen Singh, was sent on a gigtantic route survey of nearly 3,000 miles He counted five and a half million paces with his rosary Later cartography expeditions found their work surprisingly accurateThe AdventurersHenry Savage Landor, grandson of the Victorian poet, had the most amazing and harrowing time in Tibet He and his two servants were lucky to escape with their lives, and this was much due to Landor s almost freakish impassiveness when they were captured and tortured by hostile Tibetans.Ekai Kawaguchi was a Japanese Buddhist monk, and abbot of a monastery he entered Tibet disguised as a Chinese physician He reached Lhasa, even though it took him four years, and he stayed there for fourteen months He did not gain a favourable impression of the Tibetan monks, describing them as lascivious, ignorant, cruel, dirty, greedy, lazy and dishonest He was also not enad with the levels of dirt he found in Lhasa One of the chapters in his book is entitled A Metropolis of Filth Most of all, he was horrified by the barbaric way the Tibetans punished wrongdoers, and tortured suspects What I particularly liked about him was that with his simple medical knowledge he was able to help the local people, and he gained a good reputation in this respect Eventually he even got to meet the Dalai Lama The SoldierIn 1902 the British were really worried about Russia s intentions towards Tibet Unable to liaise with the Tibetans through normal channels because the Tibetans refused to communicate , Franchis Younghusband was sent to Tibet He went there first with 200 Indian troops but the Tibetans still refused to talk to them, and later, in 1903 he was sent back, this time with 1000 soldiers and this time there was fighting At Guru and Karo Pass the Tibetans were defeated, in spite of having much larger numbers The British went on into Lhasa.and won the hearts of the people They respected their holy places They paid for their provisions They had a good reputation for being merciful after the fighting at Guru.Younghusband was popular, and able to negotiate a strong pro British agreement with the Tibetans, although later this was considerably watered down by a revision from London The book also describes the first Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1910, and their retreat in the face of revolution at home It also describes the brutal and tragic second Chinese invasion of 1950 the repercussions of which are felt to the present day.Throughout the book, and in spite of the incredibly harshness of their living conditions, and the savage enactment of Tibetan law. the Tibetans themselves were praised for their good humour, courage, loyalty and stoicism.In the end I was left feeling quite ambivalent towards all those who tried enter Tibet during this period the loss of limbs and lives, to both servants and animals, seemed a high price to pay for the knowledge gained.Generally I enjoyed the book, except I was slightly bored by the repetitiveness of the layout descriptions of one explorer after the other I have also been spoilt I have read Heinrich Harrer s Seven Years in Tibet, which is one of my all time favourite books This book complements Harrer s book well though, and it s good to have learntabout the broader context of Tibet in the nineteenth and twentieth century

  4. Jeanette (Again) Jeanette (Again) says:

    This author is an outstanding historian and an excellent storyteller His great strength is in sharing the history without including the boring details that only serious historians find interesting The book starts with an explanation of why the Tibetans historically guarded their borders and the holy city of Lhasa so carefully Then the book describes a series of expeditions large and small that crossed the borders illegally and attempted to reach Lhasa The Tibetans were fierce and vigilant, a This author is an outstanding historian and an excellent storyteller His great strength is in sharing the history without including the boring details that only serious historians find interesting The book starts with an explanation of why the Tibetans historically guarded their borders and the holy city of Lhasa so carefully Then the book describes a series of expeditions large and small that crossed the borders illegally and attempted to reach Lhasa The Tibetans were fierce and vigilant, and the attempts were repelled Eventually the British succeeded by using military force, and established outposts in Tibet.The latter part of the book details some of the early attempts to reach the summit of Mt Everest known to Tibetans as Goddess Mother of the World from within Tibet There are also some little known accounts of harrowing experiences during WWII One I found especially interesting was about a WWII plane that crashed near Lhasa in a storm Those aboard didn t even know they were in Tibet.The book ends on a sad note, telling of how the Chinese Red Guards took over Tibet and set about destroying all that was good or unique about it.There s a lot of fascinating information about the old culture of Tibet in this book, also They were primitive and tribal, and very superstitious Not at all like the Shangri La image a lot of people have of the Forbidden Land Their traditional greeting was to stick their tongues out at each other as far as they could, flat against their chins There s even a picture in the book of them doing this

  5. Tim Pendry Tim Pendry says:

    Peter Hopkirk, a leading British journalist, wrote a series of excellent popular histories of Central Asia, between 1980 and 1996, which opened up the area to the British public and re introduced them to the Great Game for control of Eurasia that continues to this day.This volume, the second of six and published in 1982, concentrates on Tibet after it closed its borders to protect its unique culture and then became the subject of intense curiosity by Victorians with many different motives, prepa Peter Hopkirk, a leading British journalist, wrote a series of excellent popular histories of Central Asia, between 1980 and 1996, which opened up the area to the British public and re introduced them to the Great Game for control of Eurasia that continues to this day.This volume, the second of six and published in 1982, concentrates on Tibet after it closed its borders to protect its unique culture and then became the subject of intense curiosity by Victorians with many different motives, prepared to risk severe deprivation and death in order to reach Lhasa.The book speaks for itself The first half is essentially a long series of individual stories, some of which are basically espionage, others simple adventuring and some absurd idealistic efforts to Christianise the country Each an adventure and each a good read.Surveying Tibet was a military concern for the British since there was, probably ill informed, fears that Moscow might appear in Lhasa one day and the way south to British India be laid open The Russians themselves clearly had some interest in keeping Tibet out of British control.Throughout this time, Tibet held a curious place within the Chinese Empire, nominally part of it but essentially independent in all but name desperately poor and ruled by an exceptionally brutal theocratic caste operating a form of feudalism maintained through religious fear.The virtue of the book lies in the skills of Hopkirk as journalist He reports things straight without ideological overlay contemporary journalists might have learned a thing or two from him and in a way that allows us, with maps, to construct a strong sense of Tibet s topography The climax of the book is Younghusband s Expedition of 1903 which was a classically British reluctant invasion against an unprepared feudal army led by religious numskulls where even the invaders were horrified by the slaughter and were quick to try to save the lives of those they shot.The book loses impetus towards the very end because Younghusband effectively opened up Lhasa to British influence which the British Cabinet clearly did not entirely care about with a line of trading situations out of Sikkim that probably benefited Raj and Tibet alike.But the British always respected Chinese suzerainty and did nothing substantial to improve the condition of the country Tibet also declined to be anything but studiously neutral in the Second World War which probably sealed its fate later.The final chapter is a fair account of the Chinese invasion of Tibet which really has nothing to do with the main theme of the book but is a necessary coda for a readership that, at time of publication, was very aware of the role of Central Asia Afghanistan in the Cold War.This brings out the modern moral problem of Tibet On the one hand, the Tibet that China invaded in 1950 was recognised as within China by the international community and China was invading a regime that was only marginally less brutal, feudal and poor than 100 years before.On the other hand, anyone who believes in national self determination might recognise that the Tibetans ought to have had a right to determine their future that is, if they had been anything close to a democracy.Hopkirk is sound in his judgements The British had withdrawn from the Raj and Nehru did not want confrontation with China The Chinese came in as class liberators not without some justification but faced the fact that much of the population was dependent on the existing system.In disrupting that system, the Chinese authorities instigated rebellion and a genuine Tibetan nationalist revolt counteracted any class liberation strategy Things deteriorated from Chinese mismanagement and then brutality as Chinese investigators were later to accept.The romance of the current Dalai Lama, however, should not stop us from considering that the story of Tibet is not a black and white story and no doubt the US has been dabbling as it often does with agit prop and subversion It is a complex story that needsup to date telling.As a whole, this well written book is largely about individual tales of adventure and derring do by remarkable men and some women who make our contemporaries look like wimps in terms of what they were prepared to do for whatever ends they had in mind.As so often, the uniqueness of the British Raj shines through Though ultimately always beholden to the British Government in London on policy, it really ran itself and developed political, military, diplomatic and espionage systems that were state of the art at the time At the other end of the book from the Chinese invasion is the remarkable story not of the incursion of lone Westerners but of the Indians who worked for British intelligence and went undercover in Tibet at great risk, literally to pace out a survey of Tibet with their feet and hidden instruments.Indeed, one of the problems of the book is how to claim discovery when, of course, the Chinese had no problem of access and neither did, say, Russian Buryats or Raj Ladakhs Self evidently the book is only about those excluded by Lhasa the presumed agents of foreign imperial powers.So, this book is not to be regarded as a book of discovery or even exploration since the Tibetans knew their own country only too well but one of imperial incursion and cultural invasion, even if the Tibetans perhaps could have done with some modern ideas for the sake of their people.Romantics may want or have wanted Tibet to be preserved in the aspic of theocracy because of its unique Buddhist culture but we should be clear about this that culture was obscurantist and capable of extreme cruelty and exploitation.The spiritual aspects of Buddhism did not require thousands of parasitical lamas and many of the beliefs were and are absurd uses of human energy in obeisance to a structure of power that brought few material benefits to the population and was based largely on fear of demons and lamas.Which brings us back to modern Tibet which is in limbo modernised up to a point by China with a condition of the people improved materially but not master of its own destiny and now with large numbers of Han Chinese settlers having diluted its ethnic base.One has no doubt that feudalism has gone for good but the structures and networks of the old families in exile no doubt stand ready to return and create a form of neo liberal Buddhism if this can be engineered by Washington so that little is resolved.One might hope that the Tibetans themselves might be given some form of democracy free of foreign but also of theocratic influence but its geo political situation and the ambitions of elites of all stripes make this unlikely It remains subject to a zero sum game between empires.All we can hope for is continued material improvements as the Chinese economy improves and as Eurasia becomes a unified economic zone and sufficient respect for tradition that Tibetans can feel that their identity is still theirs and can be built on for the future

  6. Sophie Schiller Sophie Schiller says:

    There are no other words to describe this book other than it is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding Central Asian Tibetan exploration After reading it, you will come away with a better understanding of Tibetan culture and beliefs but also the fears, anxieties and stress the Tibetans have been under for centuries to maintain their distinct culture and way of life and the players who risked their lives to break down the walls of Tibetan instransigence Anyone planning to embark on a journey There are no other words to describe this book other than it is a treasure trove of knowledge regarding Central Asian Tibetan exploration After reading it, you will come away with a better understanding of Tibetan culture and beliefs but also the fears, anxieties and stress the Tibetans have been under for centuries to maintain their distinct culture and way of life and the players who risked their lives to break down the walls of Tibetan instransigence Anyone planning to embark on a journey to Tibet, either physically or scholarly, must read this book Mr Hopkirk treats the subject with the respect and dignity it deserves, especially with regard to honoring the memory of those who made the self sacrificing journey to the roof of the world

  7. brian dean brian dean says:

    The book does exactly what it claims to, describes the efforts of outsiders to visit Lhasa, but so few of the stories have happy endings, and the country of Tibet sure does not, that this is not an uplifting book.I read Hopkirk s The Great Game and Quest for Kim, both of which literally cover similar ground The three together focus on the lure and mystery of the Himalayas and Tibet specifically.I don t know how much of Tibet the Llamas thought they ruled but the book shows there was a lot they The book does exactly what it claims to, describes the efforts of outsiders to visit Lhasa, but so few of the stories have happy endings, and the country of Tibet sure does not, that this is not an uplifting book.I read Hopkirk s The Great Game and Quest for Kim, both of which literally cover similar ground The three together focus on the lure and mystery of the Himalayas and Tibet specifically.I don t know how much of Tibet the Llamas thought they ruled but the book shows there was a lot they didn t control The main difficulty of explorers trying to reach Lhasa were the bandits Criminals or not, they did an excellent job of supporting Tibet s rulers in not allowing foreigners far into their country.I wrote that the stories are not uplifting but they sure are examples of dedication and perseverance The men and women who attempted to reach Lhasa faced great challenges and overcame many And even when they failed in their ultimate goal, they still managed to supply the outside world with maps and biological specimens never before known

  8. Philip Philip says:

    First Hopkirk book I ever read, and got me hooked on his whole series of Central Asian histories Fascinating in that they are all character driven and there s nointeresting cast of characters than all those 19th and early 20th century British explorers

  9. Anita Edwards Anita Edwards says:

    A series of short stories chronicling all the attempts by Westerners to enter Tibet and the forbidden city of Lhasa from the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century.The cast of characters range from interesting to charming, baffling, to insensitive, timid to brutal, but all including the Chinese and Tibetans with an unwavering ethnocentrism While the book merely tells the stories it s hard not ask bigger questions Why the desperate need to map Tibet, when the mappers would A series of short stories chronicling all the attempts by Westerners to enter Tibet and the forbidden city of Lhasa from the mid nineteenth century through the mid twentieth century.The cast of characters range from interesting to charming, baffling, to insensitive, timid to brutal, but all including the Chinese and Tibetans with an unwavering ethnocentrism While the book merely tells the stories it s hard not ask bigger questions Why the desperate need to map Tibet, when the mappers would never be allowed in and therefore never be able to use the maps they made at the cost of many lives Is curiosity anyor less of a justification for trespassing in another culture than racial, religious and cultural prejudice is for excluding a class of visitors Tibet wasn t forbidden to everyone, the Chinese and Indians always had access Buddhists on pilgrimage from outside of Tibet were routinely admitted.But it would be disingenuous for me to say I didn t think Tibetans had good reason to think the West was out to reform their religion, their medieval government or that racial prejudice and arrogance wasn t a big part of the motivation to explore.Tragically, despite all the energy and lives Tibetans spent on keeping them out,it wasn t ultimately Westerners who ravaged Tibet and Tibetan culture It was Maoist China and the Red Guard.While it doesn t take a position, this book is weighing on my mind as I am scheduled to go to Lhasa in a little over a week It hasn t escaped my notice that it is the Chinese who are giving me a visa to enter Tibet, not the Tibetans I admit curiosity about this place, these people and the Potala Palace are prime motivators for going Still, I wonder if a Tibetan were allowed to state his her opinion, if they wouldn t say tourism is just the latest kind of invasion and I am just another trespasser on the roof of the world

  10. Ted Ted says:

    Not exciting enough to be a good adventure book nor compelling enough to be a satisfying history, this is nonetheless a decent read due to both the author s solid writing and the intriguing subject It becomes quite repetitive, however, as explorer after explorer gets turned away before reaching Lhasa It feels like he included some stories for the sake of completeness rather than for their drama I did like the book enough that I may try someof Hopkirk s histories of Central Asia.

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