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Beyond Shangri-LaBeyond Shangri-La

America and Tibet's Move into the Twenty-First Century

John Kenneth Knaus

Narrated by Steven A. Berner

Available from Audible

Book published by Duke University Press

Beyond Shangri-La chronicles relations between the Tibetans and the United States since 1908, when a Dalai Lama first met with U.S. representatives. What was initially a distant alliance became more intimate and entangled in the late 1950s, when the Tibetan people launched an armed resistance movement against the Chinese occupiers. The Tibetans fought to oust the Chinese and to maintain the presence of the current Dalai Lama and his direction of their country. In 1958, John Kenneth Knaus volunteered to serve in a major CIA program to support the Tibetans. For the next seven years, as an operations officer working from India, from Colorado, and from Washington, D.C., he cooperated with the Tibetan rebels as they utilized American assistance to contest Chinese domination and to attain international recognition as an independent entity.

Since the late 1950s, the rugged resolve of the Dalai Lama and his people and the growing respect for their efforts to free their homeland from Chinese occupation have made Tibet's political and cultural status a pressing issue in international affairs. So has the realization by nations, including the United States, that their geopolitical interests would best be served by the defeat of the Chinese and the achievement of Tibetan self-determination. Beyond Shangri-La provides unique insight into the efforts of the U.S. government and committed U.S. citizens to support a free Tibet.

The Foreword is by Robert A. F. Tenzin Thurman.

John Kenneth Knaus has continued to support Tibet throughout his career. He is currently a Research Associate working on Tibetan affairs at the Fairbank Center for East Asian Research at Harvard University. He is the author of Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival.


“This is a well-documented study of the complex America-China-Tibet triangle.”

Publishers Weekly

Beyond Shangri-La by John Kenneth Knaus is a highly worthwhile read and an absorbing history of United States foreign policy toward Tibet.”

—Rebecca Aguilar, Book Kvetch

Beyond Shangri-La is a valuable and highly informative contribution to understanding both Tibet and the history of American foreign policy in Asia. Benefiting from the author's personal experience with America's Tibet policy, first as a CIA officer and later as an institutional historian, the book gives often dramatic insights into the surprisingly crucial role of individual officials in government shifts of policy and direction. It comes at a time when America's relations with China are at a point of unprecedented importance for world affairs and when understanding the deep history of the difficult issues within that relationship—Tibet chief among them—is important to successfully navigating them.”

—Robert Barnett, author of Lhasa: Streets with Memories

“I am honored to herald Ken Knaus's masterful account of America's role in Tibet's agonizing and inspiring progress into a future that is still uncertain.... A hearty welcome to this magnum opus, and may its skillful narrative and honest factual presentation create a forceful if implicit wake-up call that comes to fruition as soon as possible.”

—Robert A. F. Tenzin Thurman, from the Foreword

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University Press Audiobooks