In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of a high plateau in a mountainous region where there were gold-digging ants. This launched the myth of Tibet as a place of beauty, riches and peace. University of Cambridge Professors, Lezlee Brown Halper and Stefan Halper, were invited to visit Tibet in 1997 as guests of the Chinese government.
The only way to see the place while they were there was to sneak out of their hotel window, past their Chinese guards at 3 a.m. They were shocked by the real Tibet they encountered: a 180 degree departure from the myth. This prompted their academic careers in Asian and Tibetan studies, as well as work at The White House and with the U.S. State Department. In their book, “TIBET: An Unfinished Story,” The Halpers say that Tibet’s is a story of treachery and ambition stretching from London to Delhi, Beijing to Washington. They explain why Tibet fascinates the world and why it is stuck in its current desperate state, and they predict that the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to deconstruct Tibetan culture will ultimately fail.