A history of larger-than-life characters and the demise of the tiny Himalayan kingdom nestled between India and China.
This is the true story of Sikkim, a tiny Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas that survived the end of the British Empire only to be annexed by India in 1975.It tells the remarkable tale of Thondup Namgyal, 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.
As tensions between India and China spilled over into war in the Himalayas, Sikkim became a pawn in the Cold War in Asia during the 1960s and 1970s. Rumors 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 world’s major powers jostled for regional supremacy during the early 1970s, Sikkim and its ruling family never stood a chance. On the eve of declaring an emergency across India, Indira Gandhi outwitted everyone to bring down the curtain on the 300-year-old Namgyal dynasty.
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 a real-life Shangri-La.
Praise for Sikkim
“A remarkable piece of detective work…. Fascinating human stories…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 U.S.” —Michael Burleigh, author of The Best of Times, the Worst of Times