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The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama, and the First British Expedition to Tibet

Teltscher, Kate

49 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374217009 / ISBN 13: 9780374217006
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
Used Condition: Good
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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP10088722

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The High Road to China: George Bogle, the ...

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 2007

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1st.

About this title

Synopsis:

A virtuoso work of narrative history about two societies whose relationship is of urgent interest today
The High Road to China traces two extraordinary journeys across some of the harshest and highest terrain in the world: the first British mission to Tibet, and the Panchen Lama’s state visit to China to mark the emperor’s seventieth birthday.

In the late eighteenth century, with its empire expanding, the British sought a commercial opening to China, which was closed to outsiders; and they saw a possible advocate with Peking in the Panchen Lama, the spiritual leader of the Buddhist people of Tibet. The British envoy, a young Scot named George Bogle, sought an opening to China through negotiations with the Panchen Lama’s envoy, a Hindu monk and trader, and then through the incarnate deity himself. All the while, he kept a journal, in prose that is by turns playful, self-deprecating, grandiose, and shrewd, and through his words Kate Teltscher makes this meeting of two worlds palpably real to the reader. The High Road to China brings the pleasures of narrative history to bear on a crucial turning point in history, one whose effects are still being felt.

Book Description:

Touching, humorous, and illuminating, this travelogue takes readers back in time to a remarkable, world-shaping moment. With rich language and the help of a remarkable journal, author Kate Teltscher traces two extraordinary journeys across some of the harshest and highest terrain in the world: the first British expedition to Tibet and the Panchen Lama’s state visit to mark the Emperor’s seventieth birthday.

In the late eighteenth century, with their empire expanding, the British sought a commercial opening to China. European traders were banned from China, but the cunning British East India Company saw a possible advocate in the Panchen Lama, the spiritual leader of the Buddhist people of Tibet. In the hopes of gaining access to Peking, they sent a young Scot named George Bogle as their envoy. Bogle was able to gain an audience with the Panchen Lama, and in him he found much more than a business partner; the Incarnate Lama was a friendly man who loved to discuss politics, science, art, and culture. Bogle gradually became less of a tourist and less of a colonist, growing comfortable and happy the longer he spent in Tibet even as his mission to open China failed. All the while, he kept a detailed journal—his prose by turn playful, self-deprecating, grandiose, and shrewd—and this revelatory document gives readers an exhilarating front seat to the beginnings of international relationships that exert their effects even now.

            Teltscher’s portrayal of Bogle’s unique diplomatic relationship with the holy man is an admission that history is made by people—and people have emotions, flaws, and feelings that enrich and affect history.

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