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Publisher's Summary

A landmark in travel writing, this is the incredible true story of Heinrich Harrer’s escape across the Himalayas to Tibet, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. Heinrich Harrer, already one of the greatest mountaineers of his time, was climbing in the Himalayas when war broke out in Europe. He was imprisoned by the British in India but succeeded in escaping and fled to Tibet. Settling in Lhasa, the Forbidden City, where he became a friend and tutor to the Dalai Lama, Heinrich Harrer spent seven years gaining a more profound understanding of Tibet and the Tibetans than any Westerner before him.

Seven Years in Tibet was translated into 53 languages, became a best seller in the United States in 1954, and sold three million copies.

©1982 Heinrich Harrer (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"It deserves its place among the few great travel stories of our times." (The Times)
"Few adventurers in this century have had the combined luck and hardihood to return with such news as this. Fewer still have rendered it so powerfully unadorned." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Some books, like some mountains, are lonely and unrivalled peaks. This is one of them." (Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Excellent

Where does Seven Years in Tibet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is in my top ten of true stories.

Any additional comments?

This is better than the movie counterpart. It really goes deeper, and the story is one that leaves you feeling. There is adventure, human development, cultural understanding, and beauty in this story.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Loved the narrator, I had never seen the movie so now am anxious to see it. Such an incredible experience to go through and it gives you an appreciation for the Tibetan people.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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What a story!

This book had a really good narrator and kept your attention all the way through definitely recommend. A really good read.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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An Adventure Classic

Heinrich Harrer was an Austrian mountain climber. In 1939 he is in India when World War II breaks out. He is taken to a detention camp in Bombay. He escapes and heads toward Tibet. At that time Tibet did not allow outsiders into their country. He walks, hides and runs until he crosses the Tibet boarder. Then he has to use all his skills to trick and deceive his way past daunting Tibetan officials. He walks seventy days over rugged mountainous terrain before he reaches Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

He makes friends and lives with a family; he becomes fluent in Tibetan. He comes to the attention of the government who consults him on various matters where he contributes tremendously, because of his western school training. He becomes a tutor to the Dalai Lama.

I enjoyed his marvelous descriptions of his first sights of Tibet. He describes Tibetan life including their colorful ceremonies. Toward the end he also tells of the 1950 military takeover of Tibet by China and the Dali Lama and his government fleeing to India. In the afterword, the author tells of the Dalai Lama coming to his 90th birthday party in Germany. I enjoyed the afterword as it brought events up to the current date. I had no idea how badly Tibet has suffered under Chinese rule.

This book was first published in 1952 and apparently has sold millions worldwide. I seem to be late on the scene having just discovered this interesting book. Mark Meadows does a good job narrating the book. I highly recommend this book, it is a fascinating read.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Very significant to history

Great book, worth the read. It can be a bit tedious at times, but you won't regret keeping on it. A rare peek into a lost civilization and culture.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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"Free Tibet!" is No Joke -- Most Excellent Read!

This is not Great Literature; it gets all the stars because it is one man's unique story of what happened when he was away from his native Austria climbing mountains in the Himalayas when World War II broke out. As a young man, in great physical condition, educated and quick-thinking, he took charge of circumstances, broke out of POW camp and got himself to Lhasa, Tibet. The story is well told and beautifully narrated. Mark Meadows sounds like a handsome Brit wearing a tuxedo. As Harrer's English would have been similarly accented, this makes perfect sense. The story has an old-timey feel to it. In fact, as it is a translation from German, I noticed some archaic usages which only remind the listener that this whole story is wonderful history. Apparently, Harrer presented himself extremely well. He also applied his wits and strength to the task at hand. He and his friend arrived in Lhasa ragged, dirty and barefoot with bleeding, blistered and frost-bitten feet after enduring great hardship on extremely high altitude mountain passes. They managed to get help and get work, and Harrer became tutor to the teen-aged Dalai Lama! Yes, the same delightful holy man still active in the world today. At fourteen, he was almost a prisoner in his own kingdom, a keen mind curious about the world, science, the future, and held back by ancient tradition, extremely conservative religious beliefs. Harrer brought order to the young man's studies and did his best to explain. When the Dalai Lama asked for what we would call a media room, Harrer constructed a fine little theater. The two men remained lifelong friends.

Many years ago I had read all the books by an author called Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, describing monastic life in Lhasa. Later, I was told that he was a phoney, a Brit who "did his homework." I felt rather cheated and wondered how much of all that had been true. It had been my only introduction to Tibet. On second investigation, I think this author may have been a "walk-in." And now I have moved home from sea level to 3,500 feet and then to over 6,000 feet. Harrer mentions elevation quite often in his book, the thin air, physical adaptation. Visitors to high-altitude locations like South Lake Tahoe will notice they have to rest more often than they planned. Indeed, when you move here, it's like running in sand for a good six months until you adapt. At any rate, the Lobsang-Rampa lore and not-so-high-altitude experience all comes together in Heinrich Harrer's story, describing the pageantry, the humor, love of color, gorgeous clear air. If he sometimes seems to be bragging, well, it really happened and it had to be told! I deplore the Chinese takeover and trashing of Tibet. This is an entertaining and most worthwhile book!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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German WWII POW Escapes from British into Tibet

Extremely interesting account of mountaineer, Heinrich Harrer's capture by the British military at the outbreak of WWII, while hiking in the Himalayas . . . already a soldier in the German army, he and his friends were captured and imprisoned, where they several times escaped, only to be caught . . . eventually succeeding . . . Harrer's relationship with the young Dalai Lama is astonishing, and makes one wonder at how it changed the trajectory of Heinrich's life . . . a man who clearly sided with Hitler in the most horrendous war of all time . . . great listen . . .

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book! Can't recommend it highly enough!

I love the movie so I thought I would give the book a shot. Still no complaints about the movie, but the book fleshes out the time line so well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating!

I have actually read this book in hard copy a few times but loved this audible version of the book. This true historical account is all the more interesting because of the fact that Tibet was a closed country and in fact, is still somewhat difficult for the casual tourist to visit. There is nothing else that I'm aware of from this particular era that goes into such wonderful detail about the customs and everyday life of the Tibetans. I especially loved his relationship with his Holiness the Dalai Lama when he was a child. History has never been so entertaining.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Certainly the most inspiring book of exploration

Certainly the most inspiring book of exploration, adventure, humanity. It would be hard to ignore the plight of the Tibetan people after such unfortunate violence against a devout people. The tales of adventure take you quickly into this world, and the sense of duty to the people keep you in.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Will
  • 09-09-16

Wonderful

Truly inspiring. Educational. Historical & Eye-Opening. A fantastic book and tremendously well read. I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacqueline
  • 04-14-13

Fantastic a life we never see.....

We are so convinced that Western life (fast paced focused upon the self and high achievement etc.) is the right way to live that we rarely get the opportunity to stop and think and consider our priorities in life.

You would be very fortunate in your life if the sacred person of another culture was once your student/companion on a daily basis - you would be very fortunate.

The intimate life of a Westerner in Tibet is a rare insight into another world another culture that is far removed from our materialistic yearnings. Come step inside and feel the desire to live a different life and pass on your worldly knowledge to another culture. A mesmerising view of another country listen and enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • emma
  • 10-04-17

Interesting but a bit dry

A biography of a very interesting life, but written by a self-confessed non-writer, so rather dry and stilted in parts. Reads a bit like a what-I-did-on-my-holidays essay: and then this happened, and then that happened, and then... Also, rather dated in some aspects. Overall, a pleasant listen and it was great to learn more about the history of Tibet and the Dalai Lama from a first-hand account.

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  • Matthew
  • 11-11-16

brilliant and all other synonyms for the word.


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  • Nicholas
  • 02-25-15

Inspirational story..

Inspirational account of extraordinary man who encounters an extraordinary people; Well narrated and thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • Amy
  • 01-19-15

Understanding Tibet.....

Enjoy would be the wrong word but very satisfying to anyone with an interest in Tibet and for those who like travel writing. Well read too.

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  • Ian Murray
  • 12-03-14

Fantastic

Any additional comments?

Best book I've read this year. Wish there were more like it.<br/>As good as into the wild, into thin air..etc<br/>kept me interested all the way through.

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  • Julia Brown
  • 01-01-14

Brilliant first half, repetitive end.

Would you listen to Seven Years in Tibet again? Why?

Seven Years in Tibet was great for the first bit. It was inspiring listening to how Heinrich escaped the prison camp and the torment he and his friends went to, getting to Tibet. After that however, the book becomes a little dull and repetitive. However, I made it to the end, so worth a listen as it is so informative of the time.

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  • maxianson
  • 12-18-13

Seven Years in Tibet - exceptional read

Would you consider the audio edition of Seven Years in Tibet to be better than the print version?

an equal treat

What other book might you compare Seven Years in Tibet to, and why?

Shackleton / The Endurance .... historically correct .. both stirring inspirational accounts of survival against all odds

Which scene did you most enjoy?

all of the tale is a fabulous read

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

of course

Any additional comments?

this book took me to Tibet ... the nearest I will probably get in this life .. thank you.

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  • Mrs. K. M. Fitzgerald
  • 04-07-13

Travelogue With a Difference

Although I was attracted to this book because of its connections in the film version with the Dalai Lama, it is actually much more than this. At least half of it is about Harrer's escape from the POW camp and his journey to Lhasa and all of the difficulties that he overcame in that journey. The details about Tibetan culture - and the range of it in different areas - is fascinating to listen to. The reader's voice is a bit dry and unemotive, but it is clear and reasonably engaging. I have still given it 5 stars, because I have enjoyed the book's content so much.

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  • Liz
  • 09-15-16

loved this book

interesting on so many levels - cultural, political, spiritual. an inspirational story that makes me want to know more about Tibet.

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  • Jonathan
  • 05-02-16

Captivating

Seven Years in Tibet is an exciting and culturally fascinating story. Although the audiobook is read less dramatically, owing to the diary type entries recorded by the author, than other books you could listen to, it makes the story no less interesting. Knowing that it is a true story made it so much more astounding for me. In the descriptions of their mountain treks, I thought the book did not do their reality justice! I tried to put myself in their shoes and imagine the hardship that they endured. It actually inspired me to seek out adventure for myself! You won't regret listening to this book.

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  • Cameron
  • 10-18-15

very interesting book.

alot of in depth and unique information on tibet and am intriguing journey. i enjoyed but it did have slowrt moments.