Richly Detailed, Historical Account of the Lahu Tribal People of China and Southeast Asia: TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS

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New book is an Intimate, First-hand Account by the Son of American Missionary Parents, Who Grew Up With the Lahu and Knew Them Throughout His Life (1901 – 1975)

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The Lahu, a mountain residing ethnic group of Southeast Asia and China, are specifically found in the southern Yunnan province of China, northeastern Burma, western Laos, and northern Thailand. Isolated over the centuries by living in remote regions, the Lahu did not mix to any great extent with the neighboring ethnic groups and were unique in their language, culture, and social organization. Until very recently, when anthropologists have begun studying contemporary Lahu groups, few “outsiders” knew much at all about these people. Plainspeople regarded them as backward, wild people, and they made very little effort to know them. This lack of understanding nearly always resulted in an underestimation of the mentality of these tribal people. In recent times, despite the fact that a few Westerners have come into contact with and learned the everyday language of the Lahu to a certain degree, very few if any have attained the fluency of the deeper terminology the Lahu used, making it almost impossible for modern students of Lahu culture to thoroughly grasp full meanings in their speech, let alone subtle meanings in their traditional poems and songs. However, the author of this account, understood every nuance of Lahu language.

TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS is Harold Mason Young’s detailed account of the Lahu people, more precisely, the Lahu Na divisions of the several ethnic Lahu-speaking Southeast Asian tribal groups. Even less is known about the Lahu Na than of other Lahu groups, making this account all the more precious to historians and scholars focused on this region. Young’s amazing knowledge of Lahu Na society, culture and environment arose from the unusual experience of having been born of American Baptist missionary parents who were stationed in Kengtung Burma (1901). He grew up among the Lahu and also worked with them as a missionary during his young adult years in Banna, China. He accumulated knowledge and appreciation for their lifestyle as perhaps few other foreigners world ever accomplish, especially at this time in history. Young later left the church and lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, were he founded the Chiang Mai Zoo and where he eventually died (1975). He enjoyed close Lahu friends throughout his life.

Young was familiar with many Asian tribal groups, yet he considered the Lahu Na as very unique. In this book, he carefully details their history as passed down from generation to generation, their customs, beliefs, rituals, love songs, their incredible knowledge of nature and more. Young’s account is especially significant, since the Lahu were pre-literate and hence did not keep records. His descriptions offer vision and understanding of these people’s traditional way of life, much of which would otherwise be lost to the modern world.

TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS is not a formal ethnography of the Lahu Na people, yet scholars will find considerable information about them and related subjects. Students of anthropology, political science, environmental sciences, biology, linguistics and nature can benefit from information in this book.

For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to

TO THE MOUNTAIN TOPS * by Harold Mason Young
A Sojourn Among The Lahu of Asia
Publication Date: August 26, 2013
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 479 pages; 978-1-4836-2892-9
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 479 pages; 978-1-4836-2893-6
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4836-2894-3

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

For more information, contact Xlibris at (888) 795-4274 or on the web at

NOTE: Forthcoming: Harold Mason Young’s account of the Wa Tribal People, to be published by Xlibris

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