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Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

Andrew Duff



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Birlinn Ltd
01 January 2019
History; Asian history; Classic travel writing
This is the true story of Sikkim, a tiny Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas that survived the end of the British Empire in India only to be annexed by India in 1975. It tells the remarkable story of Thondup, the last King of Sikkim, and his American wife Hope Cooke, thrust unwittingly into the spotlight as they sought support for Sikkim's independence after their `fairytale' wedding in 1963. But as tensions between India and China spilled over into war in the Himalayas, Sikkim became a pawn in the Cold War ideological battle that played out in Asia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Rumours circulated that Hope was a CIA spy. Meanwhile a shadowy Scottish adventuress, the Kazini of Chakung, married to Sikkim's leading political figure, coordinated opposition to the Palace. As the geopolitical tectonic plates of the Himalayas ground together, forming the political landscape that exists today, Sikkim never stood a chance. On the eve of declaring Emergency in India, Indira Gandhi brazenly annexed the country.

Thondup died a broken man in 1982; Hope returned to New York; Sikkim began a new phase as India's 2nd state. Based on interviews and archive research, as well as a retracing of a journey the author's grandfather made in 1922, this is a thrilling, romantic and informative glimpse of life in Shangri La.
By:   Andrew Duff
Imprint:   Birlinn Ltd
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 160mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   660g
ISBN:   9781780275628
ISBN 10:   1780275625
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   01 January 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Andrew Duff is a freelance journalist based in London and Scotland who writes on India and related subjects. In the UK his work has appeared in The Times, The Financial Times and the Sunday Telegraph, and in India in the Times of India and the India Quarterly. He travels frequently in India and East Asia.

Reviews for Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom

'A masterly and accessible account ... superbly researched, with sources ranging from Scottish missionary teachers' letters to classified US intelligence records and packed full of extraordinary characters straight out of a James Bond novel. The book has great relevance to today's Asia; anyone with an interest in India and China's complex relationship should read this enthralling book' -- Prajwal Parajuly, author of The Gurkha's Daughter 'Those who fantasise about Shangri-La will find this book a fascinating requiem for their dreams' * Country Life * 'Andrew Duff masterfully weaves together the many strands of the unfolding drama to produce a gripping page-turner' * The Hindu * 'Andrew Duff draws out the remarkable story of Sikkim's annexation and its last king through not just extensive historical research but fascinating human stories' * DNA India * 'Clearly the most comprehensive account so far of Sikkim's fall... a masterly skill in story-telling' * Calcutta Telegraph * 'An enthralling retelling of the Sikkim tragedy' -- Pass Blue * Barbara Crossette * 'Andrew Duff's book is a remarkable piece of detective work. In addition to the fascinating human stories Duff relates, the book is a very valuable addition to how the Cold War played out in South Asia, and to the history of the foreign policies of China, India and the US ... that it is exceptionally well-written makes it all the more compelling to read' - Michael Burleigh, author of Small Wars, Faraway Places

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