by Ruth Middleton
208 pages. Apparently out of print now.
"This unique biography explores the inner journey of a woman whose outer life was a thrilling story of passion and adventure. Alexandra David-Neel (1868–1969), born in Paris to a socially prominent family, once boasted, "I learned to run before I could walk!" In the course of a lifetime of more than one hundred years, she was an acclaimed operatic soprano, a political anarchist, a religious reformer, an intrepid explorer who traveled in Tibet for fourteen years, a scholar of Buddhism, and the author of more than forty books. But perhaps the most intriguing of all her adventures was the spiritual search that led her from a youthful interest in socialism and Freemasonry to the teachings of the great sages of India and culminated in her initiation into the secret tantric practices of Tibetan Buddhism. This book reveals the penetrating insight and courage of a woman who surmounted physical, intellectual, and social barriers to pursue her spiritual quest."