“Old Lhasa: A Biography” is a comprehensive, English-language account of the legendary city, featuring its history, religion, and culture. The author, M.A. Aldrich, presents an accessible and captivating narrative, highlighting Lhasans’ daily lives and their enduring spirit.
“Old Lhasa: A Biography” covers a wide range of topics, from the traditional customs still practiced in the Tibetan Quarter, such as prayer wheel spinning and incense burning, to the iconic palaces, temples, and monasteries that are central to Tibetan civilization, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Gandan Monastery. The author, M.A. Aldrich, is a natural storyteller and brings the history of Lhasa to life through legends and anecdotes about the city’s kings, lamas, and other historical figures. The book also provides a useful guide for travelers to Lhasa, helping them to understand the complex religious and cultural significance of the sights they will see and offering tips for experiencing the local culture, such as trying traditional foods and joining in the evening prayer rituals. This book is the final in Aldrich’s trilogy on Asian cultural capitals. He is a retired lawyer who lived in East and Central Asia for more than thirty years.