Prisoners of Shangri-La by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
Tibetan Buddhism and the West

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



Prisoners of Shangri-La is a provocative analysis of the romance of Tibet, a romance that, even as it is invoked by Tibetan lamas living in exile, ultimately imprisons those who seek the goal of Tibetan independence from Chinese occupation.

"Lopez lifts the veil on America's romantic vision of Tibet to reveal a country and a spiritual history more complex and less ideal than popular perceptions allow. . . . Lively and engaging, Lopez's book raises important questions about how Eastern religions are often co-opted, assimilated and misunderstood by Western culture."—Publishers Weekly

"Proceeding with care and precision, Lopez reveals the extent to which scholars have behaved like intellectual colonialists. . . . Someone had to burst the bubble of pop Tibetology, and few could have done it as resoundingly as Lopez."—Booklist

"Fascinating. . . [A] provocative exploration. Lopez conveys the full dizziness of the Western encounter with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism."—Fred Pheil, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

"A timely and courageous exploration. . . . [Lopez's] book will sharpen the terms of the debate over what the Tibetans and their observers can or should be doing about the place and the idea of Tibet. And that alone is what will give us all back our Shambhala."—Jonathan Spence, Lingua Franca Book Review

"Lopez's most important theme is that we should be wary of the idea . . . that Tibet has what the West lacks, that if we were only to look there we would find the answers to our problems. Lopez's book shows that, on the contrary, when the West has looked at Tibet, all that it has seen is a distorted reflection of itself."—Ben Jackson, Times Higher Education Supplement


About Donald S. Lopez Jr.

See more books from this Author
Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Carl W. Belser Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including "Curators of the Buddha: The Study of Buddhism under Colonialism" and "Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the Wes"t. He is also editor of the series Buddhism and Modernity.
Published May 28, 1998 by University Of Chicago Press. 294 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Prisoners of Shangri-La

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

What all these acts of interpreting Tibetan Buddhism share, says Lopez, is a whole or partial disregard for the concrete, living contexts of Tibetan religion.

| Read Full Review of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibe...


He writes, “The counter-argument may be made that nationalistic forms of Buddhism do exist, and that they have played an important historical function in creating Buddhism as it is known today.” So now the discussion is of “nationalistic forms of Buddhism” – not just the categories based on conte...

Aug 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibe...

Elephant Journal

These seven are: the term Lamaism (not actually from Tibet but a means of characterizing Tibetan religion), The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the visions of Rampa, the mantra Om mani padme hum, Thangka painting, Tibetan Buddhism in the Academy, and Shambala.

Mar 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibe...

Reader Rating for Prisoners of Shangri-La

An aggregated and normalized score based on 21 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review