Murder in the High Himalaya – a review

Popular and a prize winner, I’d been looking forward to listening to this book on my recent trip to the Himalaya.

AudibleMurder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy, and Escape from Tibet (2010)

It’s based around the Nangpa La shooting incident of 2006 near Cho Oyo:

… A group of unarmed Tibetan pilgrims attempting to leave Tibet via the Nangpa La pass were fired upon by Chinese border guards. Kelsang Namtso, a 17-year-old nun, was killed and a number were injured. …

The Chinese government initially denied the charges, but Kelsang’s murder was graphically filmed by a Romanian photographer, who was nearby as part of a climbing expedition.

After Romanian photographer Sergiu Matei smuggled the video out of Tibet, it became headline news around the world, drawing attention to the plight of Tibetans under Chinese rule/occupation. …

A documentary called Tibet: Murder in the Snow, based on this incident, was released in 2008 by 360 Degree Films, an Australian production company, working in collaboration with the BBC. …

It’s an awful story.

There’s no need for the author to demonize the Chinese. Their crime speaks for itself.

Click PLAY or watch a book trailer on YouTube. The video includes the shooting of Kelsang Namtso.

Quickly I lost confidence in first time author, investigative journalist Jonathan Green.

The telling is very cliche. Everything China BAD. Everything Tibetan GOOD.

It was as balanced a portrayal of the situation as the film Seven Years in Tibet. Biased.

He keeps making the statement: “oxygen level is half what it is at sea level“.

Of course the percentage of oxygen in the air does not change significantly with altitude, but absolute O2 content decreases as air pressure decreases.

Is that investigative journalist clear on the difference?

I’m not sure he knows what he’s talking about.

One character in the book when questioned states that Annapurna is in Tibet. It’s entirely within Nepal.

Apparently Jonathan Green spent a lot of time the Himalaya.

It’s not apparent in this book.

This is a disappointing read.


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