Dr. Albert Shelton was a renowned medical missionary and explorer, who spent nearly twenty years in the wild Tibetan borderlands early in the twentieth century. During the Great Game era when the Tibetans struggled against the imperial ambitions of China, Russia, and the British Raj, Shelton’s station on the Tibetan border was the most remote and dangerous mission on earth. Shelton used the frontier skills he learned as a homesteader boy in the American West to raise his family amidst central Asian banditry and war. Following his escape from a harrowing kidnapping, the Western press trumpeted Shelton as a fearless family man, doctor, diplomat, and explorer. To t he American public, Shelton was Daniel Boone, Wyatt Earp, and the apostle Paul blazing a new frontier.
A great collector of Tibetan artifacts, Shelton became one of the first interpreters of Tibetan culture to the West. Driven by his dream of establishing a hospital in forbidden Lhasa, the Dalai Lama’s seat of power, Shelton arbitrated between the warring Tibetans and Chinese. Recognizing his work, the Dalai Lama issued Shelton an unprecedented invitation to Lhasa. While traveling toward Lhasa, assailants shot Shelton on a remote Himalayan trail. Set against the exciting backdrop of early twentieth-century Tibet and China, Pioneer in Tibetprovides readers a window into the life of a unique adventurer in an untamed land.