The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life

Houghton Harcourt. Feb. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9780544416581. $30. REL
Using secondary sources, as well as information culled from interviews with key figures such as the Dalai Lama himself, this work by Norman (Freedom in Exile) presents a compelling portrait of the religious leader whose life has been a continuous struggle to maintain spiritual goals while dealing with temporal matters. After being recognized as the reincarnated Lama at a young age, the Dalai Lama was taken from his family and educated by a cadre of devoted tutors. After China annexed his homeland of Tibet, he fled to India in 1959 and has yet to return. Since then, he has been the leader of Tibet in exile. As well, he has been the greatest advocate for Buddhism throughout the world and has seen its popularity spread owing, in no small part, to his charisma.
VERDICT The Dalai Lama himself insists that much of his life is dedicated to spiritual concerns. What remains, he has committed to causes such as freeing his homeland. This balance between spiritual and worldly goals is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of his life and this definitive book, which is sure to attract anyone seeking more insight into this enduring leader.

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