In a world tainted by the ignorant rantings of Edward Said and his mis-characterization of Orientalists, where "the west" is seen only as a negative force, books like this one remind us of the unequaled contributions of Western curiosity and desire for knowledge to cultures which otherwise may have remained hidden forever.
When westerners arrived in India, all traces of Buddhism had vanished from the land that gave it life, and from the memories of its inhabitants. It was through the efforts of these curious orientalists that Buddhisms origins were re-discovered, catalogued, and preserved for mankind.
This book tells that story in a fascinating narrative, reminiscent of a non-fiction thriller. Fabulous, and important.