Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia

June 2011 • ISBN 978-0-8356-0891-6 • $17.95 pb • 6×9 • 304 pages

By Andrei Znamenski

With all the action and suspense of a bestselling mystery novel, Red Shambhala draws the reader into a fantastically bizarre geopolitical plot to fulfill ancient Buddhist prophecies in the heart of Asia.

Using archival documents, former Library of Congress historian Andrei Znamenski reveals the strange accounts of a clandestine quest for ultimate power that captivated the minds of Bolshevik revolutionaries, spiritual adventurers, and nationalists both West and East in the 1920s. Perhaps the only one on the subject, Red Shambhala explores how these forces exploited Shambhala and related prophecies to promote their fanatical schemes.

In this breath-taking account, Znamenski explores the minds of plotters like Gleb Bokii, the Bolshevik secret police commissar who tried to use Buddhist tantra techniques to conjure the ideal human; famed occultist Nicholas Roerich, the Russian painter who, driven by his otherworldly Master and blackmailed by the Bolshevik secret police, posed as a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama to unleash Shambhala war in Tibet; and Roerich’s friend, FDR’s Vice-President Henry Wallace, who tapped into Buddhist wisdom in the hope to engineer a better world.

For all those interested in the secret machinations that often occur behind political movements, Red Shambhala proves impossible to put down! Blackmail, ritualistic blood sacrifice, Tantric “avenging” lamas, fiery psychic visions from masters of a Great White Brotherhood and a magical black stone that fell from heaven, Red Shambhala reveals that real-life history is at times far stranger than fiction.

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Andrei Znamenski studied history and anthropology both in Russia and the United States. Formerly a resident scholar at the Library of Congress, then a foreign visiting professor at Hokkaido University, Japan, he has taught at The University of Memphis and Alabama State University.  His fields of interests include religions of indigenous people of Siberia and North America, shamanism, and esotericism.  Znamenski is the author of Shamanism and Christianity (1999), Through Orthodox Eyes (2003), Shamanism in Siberia (2003), The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination (2007), and the editor of the three-volume anthology Shamanism: Critical Concepts (2004).