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Kathmandu is the greatest city of the Himalaya. Closed to the world until 1951, this medieval time capsule now finds itself battered by modernization, consumerism and bungled Western intervention. Erudite, entertaining and accessible, this remarkable book is both a memoir of ten years spent living in the Nepalese capital and a chronicle of its remarkable history. The result is a riveting description of an ancient theocratic monarchy, a jewel of world art, a communist hotbed, a failed democracy and an environmental catastrophe.