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In 1959 a nineteen year-old lama, Chgyam Trungpa, led 300 Tibetan men, women and children on a desperate nine-month escape from pursuing Communist troops. Forced to travel where people had never been, they trekked through some of the world's harshest weather and most treacherous mountain terrain. Then, starving and exhausted, they attempted a river crossing under heavy gunfire in flimsy vessels they'd made themselves -- only to face a midwinter climb over the Himalayas.
After half a century, this near-mythic journey can be seen to stand with such legendary accounts of courage, adventure and leadership as Shackleton's famous 1914-17 Antarctic expedition. Unlike those, it was sometimes shaken by dissension and even outright sabotage - but it was also marked by great compassion and good humor, and touched by a magic long gone from the Western world. At heart it is the story of ordinary people and their young leader taking a vast leap into the unknown, to make one of history's most extraordinary escapes.
Told in spare, gripping language, the story is enhanced by Chgyam Trungpa's hand-drawn maps and illustrations, survivors' recollections and a commentary highlighting the back stories. Links to a gallery of images, video footage and satellite imagery enable readers to follow the stunning route and breathe in the spectacular landscape.
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