Donald S. Lopez at the NYT:
“Dalai Lama” is a foreign title. Tibetans refer to him with names like “Precious Protector,” “Wish-Fulfilling Jewel” and “the Presence.” The divide between the Tibetan Buddhist world — which often has included China and Mongolia — and the world beyond has rarely been of particular consequence to the Dalai Lamas, until this one, the 14th, who is the first to spend most of his life in exile; he fled to India in 1959 and has not returned. His biographer, facing the usual problems of recounting the life of a figure still living (the Dalai Lama will be 85 this year), is also faced with the dilemma of describing his life on the world stage (which has been fairly well documented) and his life inside the world of Tibetan Buddhism (which has not). This is the challenge that Alexander Norman, a longtime associate of the Dalai Lama, takes up in his new biography.