In 1982, while he was still a schoolboy, Patrick French met the Dalai Lama for the first time. Ever since, he has been fascinated by Tibet's people, its history, and its recent plight.
For centuries, Tibet has occupied a unique place in the Western imagination: Romantic, mysterious, a remote mountain kingdom of incarnate lamas and nomadic herdsmen, of gold-roofed monasteries and hidden valleys which hold the secret of eternal youth. In recent years, Tibet has acquired an additional resonance as the oppressed vassal of its mighty neighbour China. Its plight has attracted Hollywood stars, and the exiled Dalai Lama has become the global embodiment of spiritual attainment and unflagging commitment to his nation.
'Tibet, Tibet' has its origins in Patrick French's twenty-year involvement in the Tibetan cause. Part memoir, part travel book, part history, it is a quest for the true Tibet.
On his journey, Patrick French in continually sidetracked by a cascade of information, thoughts and reflections on such subjects as how to blind a cabinet minister using a yak's knucklebones, the correct method of travelling across a desert by night, and the reasons for the Dalai Lama's transformation into "an unknown dark-brown bird, bigger than a normal raven". Patrick French has found a new way of writing about a place and its history. He fascinatingly illuminates one of the most persistently troubling of international issues, and confirms his reputation as one of the finest writers at work today.