chronicles relations between the Tibetans and the United States since 1908, when a Dalai Lama first met with U.S. representatives. What was initially a distant alliance became more intimate and entangled in the late 1950s, when the Tibetan people launched an armed resistance movement against the Chinese occupiers. The Tibetans fought to oust the Chinese and to maintain the presence of the current Dalai Lama and his direction of their country. In 1958, John Kenneth Knaus volunteered to serve in a major CIA program to support the Tibetans. For the next seven years, as an operations officer working from India, from Colorado, and from Washington, D.C., he cooperated with the Tibetan rebels as they utilized American assistance to contest Chinese domination and to attain international recognition as an independent entity.
Since the late 1950s, the rugged resolve of the Dalai Lama and his people and the growing respect for their efforts to free their homeland from Chinese occupation have made Tibet's political and cultural status a pressing issue in international affairs. So has the realization by nations, including the United States, that their geopolitical interests would best be served by the defeat of the Chinese and the achievement of Tibetan self-determination. Beyond Shangri-La provides unique insight into the efforts of the U.S. government and committed U.S. citizens to support a free Tibet.