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Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's…
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Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to… (2009)

by Yangzom Brauen

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1605174,566 (3.93)36
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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
This book was incredible. Great story and Brauen does a fantastic job re-telling the story of her grandmother and mother. It gave me a much better understanding of Tibet and China's occupation there. Learning about the history and current situation from personal accounts instead of history book gave it much more feeling and depth. Her grandmother is also a devout Buddhist and nun. The author weaves in all kinds of stories. beliefs and traditions of Tibet Buddhism. It was fascinating learning about all of it. The only reason I didn't give it four stars is because of the last few chapters. It drug on a little--talked too much about the author and didn't end as powerfully as the book started. Other than that wonderful and truly inspiring account of the human spirit to survive. ( )
  BarbF | Apr 7, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Yangzom Brauen's memoir follows the lives of three generations - her grandmother, her mother, and herself - from Tibet to exile. Along the way, she highlights her grandmother's Buddhist faith as a nun, and the plight of Tibet under Chinese rule.

Memoirs can be a powerful way of talking about universal topics, like oppression, faith, family, poverty. I knew very little about Tibet before reading Brauen's family story. The part of the book where she focuses on her grandmother taught me the most about Tibetan society and Buddhism. From there, she moves to their flight and exile in India and focuses on her mother's experiences there. Finally, her section of the book shows their freedom in Switzerland, though because of her activism parts of her portion read less as one individual's experience as a political statement for an autonomous Tibet as she details various protests in which she took part. Sometimes the writing had the slightly uneven sound of a translation. Even so, her story of her family's experiences, trials, and the changes that each generation makes is powerful. ( )
  bell7 | Apr 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I didn't expect this book to be as compelling as it was. It is the story of Brauen's mother's and grandmother's journey and it is also a story of Tibet's unfinished journey. It is always fascinating to me to read how much people will endure for freedom -- and sad that they must endure anything. It's inspiring to see them prevail. Kunsang and Sonam did indeed endure and prevail. Brauen has taken to heart their stories and is doing what she can to help Tibet to prevail. Her story is part of that journey. It was also interesting to me to see the juxtaposition of Switzerland's and China's political systems, and both of those to the much simpler system of Tibet. ( )
  Airycat | Apr 13, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved the first three quarters of this book. Only when the story moved to modern Switzerland did it lose my interest. But the harrowing stories of the family's life in Tibet and their escape to India was amazing. Despite what other reviewers have mentioned, I thought the story would not have been complete without the details about the ongoing turmoil in Tibet. It added immensely to my understanding about what the family went through. I recommend the book. ( )
  andrea58 | Apr 7, 2012 |
ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS: A TIBETAN FAMILY'S EPIC JOURNEY FROM OPPRESSION TO FREEDOM by Yangzom Brauen is made up of descriptions of one Tibetan family’s progression through different cultures, beginning in Tibet before the Chinese invasion and ending in Switzerland until they do a complete circle and return to Tibet many years later after the Chinese allow them back in. Each culture the family moves to is more technologically advanced than the last. This book is about their ability to cope in each new culture and how they view Tibet on their return. At least, that’s what I thought Brauen intended.

Actually, only two members of the family, the mother and daughter, make it all the way. The daughter’s daughter, Brauen, did not make the journey as the title and cover picture imply. She was born and raised in Switzerland but likes to call both Switzerland and Tibet her countries. Although she did go to Tibet with her mother, grandmother, and Swiss father many years later, their return wasn’t permanent.

But the book doesn’t end there. Maybe it ought to. Instead, it continues. Notice, I say the book continues, not the story. That is because my impression was that the continuation was another story, that of Brauen’s protests against oppression of Tibet and her hope that Tibet not be forgotten.

I have a problem with books that have no dialog, with unemotional, impersonal descriptions of people and things. That’s how this book is, especially in its first half. It contains so many details it drags. Details should enhance a story. But here they mostly don’t because the author tries to cover too much.

This is the risk I find in most nonfiction. Although I prefer nonfiction over fiction, most nonfiction fails for me because most authors don’t know how to write it other than to state the facts.

Although the second half of this book is better than the first, it, too, is made up of many impersonal descriptions. I was never made angry, sad, touched, or happy for anyone.

This book has received many favorable reviews on amazon.com and goodreads.com. Maybe you should believe them and not me. Maybe you will be able to manage to keep your mind from wandering. But I think that will be a trick.

I won a finished, hard cover copy of this book through luxuryreading.com. So I actually feel guilty for disagreeing with their two reviews of ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS. But there it is. ( )
  techeditor | Feb 26, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312600135, Hardcover)

A powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao’s Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom

Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. There was a saying in Tibet: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth." The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life--the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born.

Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph,as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though, ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A memoir and portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao's Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom. Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. There was a saying in Tibet: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth." The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life, the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born. Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph,as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though, this story is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond.… (more)

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