Melvyn C. Goldstein awarded E. Gene Smith Inner Asia Book Prize for 2022

Professor Melvyn C. Goldstein has been awarded the Association for Asian Studies’ 2022 E. Gene Smith Inner Asia Book Prize for his 2019 book: A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 4: In the Eye of the Storm, 1957-1959  (University of California Press, 2019).

The E. Gene Smith Inner Asia Book Prize “honors outstanding and innovative scholarship across disciplines and country of specialization for a book on Inner Asia.” The award statement from the Association for Asian Studies states:

In this massive tome, the fourth and final volume in Mel Goldstein’s magisterial History of Modern Tibet, the author unfolds the events that led to the Lhasa Uprising of 1959, and what Goldstein calls the “End of Old Tibet.” Goldstein ably demonstrates that the decisions undertaken by the major political actors of the era, including the Dalai Lama, Mao Zedong, and many others, ultimately generated an outcome that no one really wanted. Goldstein’s meticulous handling of an impressive range of actors in this distressing drama, including Tibetans, Chinese, and Americans, leaves the reader and the specialist not only with much to think about, but also with many new available materials to explore further. The author’s nuanced and unprejudiced descriptions and analyses rely on an unprecedented wealth of primary sources in multiple languages (primarily Tibetan and Chinese), both oral and written, collected over many years, and overcoming countless challenges, many of them also available online through the Tibetan Oral History Archive Project. With this volume, Goldstein has achieved a remarkable feat.


A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 4: In the Eye of the Storm, 1957-1959  (University of California Press, 2019)


It is not possible to understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama without understanding what happened in the 1950s, especially the events that occurred in 1957-59. The fourth volume of Melvyn C. Goldstein’s History of Modern Tibet series, In the Eye of the Storm, provides new perspectives on Sino-Tibetan history during the period leading to the Tibetan Uprising of 1959. The volume also reassesses issues that have been widely misunderstood as well as stereotypes and misrepresentations in the popular realm and in academic literature (such as in Mao’s policies on Tibet). Volume 4 draws on important new Chinese government documents, published and unpublished memoirs, new biographies, and a large corpus of in-depth, specially collected political interviews to reexamine the events that produced the March 10th uprising and the demise of Tibet’s famous Buddhist civilization. The result is a heavily documented analysis that presents a nuanced and balanced account of the principal players and their policies during the critical final two years of Sino-Tibetan relations under the Seventeen-Point Agreement of 1951.


“Prodigious precision … It shows the complexity of relations within the Tibetan administration, between the latter and the Chinese administration in Lhasa, and within the Chinese intelligentsia in Tibet itself.” – Journal of Chinese Studies

“On one hand, this volume is the culmination of Melvyn C. Goldstein’s forty-year effort to tell the story of Tibet’s half-century of autonomy, and on the other, it is a freestanding account of that story’s most dramatic and tragic moment. In the end, Goldstein presents foundational scholarship on a crucial moment in Sino-Tibetan history, one that is essential to understand contemporary politics between China and the Dalai Lama.” – Brantly Womack, C. K. Yen Professor of Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia

“A History of Modern Tibet, Volume 4 is a careful and detailed examination of the political history of central Tibet during the two years preceding the uprising in Lhasa on March 10, 1959. Goldstein conveys a wealth of new insights based on his extensive analysis of Tibetan, Chinese, and English written and oral sources. This important and accessible volume fills a lacuna in the field of modern Tibetan history, and it is essential reading for anyone – specialist and nonspecialist – who is interested in the complex history of modern Tibet.” – Dáša Pejchar Mortensen, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Davidson College

“In this fourth volume of Melvyn Goldstein’s magisterial history of twentieth-century Tibet, Goldstein challenges the myths associated with the 1959 rebellion in Tibet and provides an objective view of the involvement of monks, the CIA, and the Chinese Communists in strong contrast to the biases and propaganda that have enveloped this history.” – Morris Rossabi, author of Modern Magnolia


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