Book Blurbs

November/December 2000

Reading time min

Book Blurbs

Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival, John Kenneth Knaus, '44, MA '49, PublicAffairs, 1999; $27.50 (history/ foreign relations). The author, a longtime CIA operations officer, helped direct America's covert aid to Tibetans fighting China's takeover between 1950 and 1974. Key to that effort was a secret Colorado camp where U.S. agents trained Tibetan resisters in mountain guerrilla tactics. Drawing on previously classified material and his recent interviews with freedom fighters, diplomats, politicians and the Dalai Lama, Knaus tells the inside story of an ultimately fruitless campaign. When America no longer sought to "contain" China, Tibet lost its strategic usefulness--and its patron. Militarily, the resistance was doomed anyway, Knaus observes: Washington had overestimated Tibetans' stomach for guerrilla warfare. But he sees some hope for an eventual political solution.

religion coverFinding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning, Scotty McLennan, HarperSanFrancisco, 2000; $24 (religion). "The mountain beckons." So begins this handbook for those who have lost touch with their childhood religion or never had one. Likening spiritual exploration to a mountain climb, with organized religion serving as marked trails, McLennan's travel guide outlines six stages of spiritual growth that span a lifetime: magic, reality, dependence, independence, interdependence and unity. He illustrates each phase with the stories of people whose religious backgrounds range from Christianity to Buddhism to Ba'hai. Most are students, faculty and staff McLennan met during his 15 years as chaplain at Tufts University. He will become Stanford's dean for religious life on January 1.

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