'Alexander Norman knows the Dalai Lama probably better than any Englishman alive' Spectator For all his universal fame, the Dalai Lama remains personally elusive. Now, Alexander Norman, acclaimed scholar of the history of Tibet, delivers the definitive biography - unique, multilayered and, at times, even shocking The Dalai Lama recounts an astonishing odyssey from an isolated Tibetan village to worldwide standing as spiritual and political leader of one of the world's most profound and complex cultural traditions. Norman reveals that, while the Dalai Lama has never been comfortable with his political position, he has been a canny player - at one time CIA-backed - who has maneuvered amidst pervasive violence, including placing himself at the center of a dangerous Buddhist schism. Yet even more surprising than the political, Norman convinces, is the Dalai Lama's spiritual practice, rooted in magic, vision, and prophecy - details of which are revealed in this book for the very first time. This is the illuminating life story of one of today's most radical, charismatic, and beloved world leaders.