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Alexandra David-Neel: Portait of an Adventurer Paperback – July 1, 1989


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Alexandra David-Neel: Portait of an Adventurer + My Journey to Lhasa: The Classic Story of the Only Western Woman Who Succeeded in Entering the Forbidden City + Magic and Mystery in Tibet
Price for all three: $34.83

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1st edition (July 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877734135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877734130
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ruth Middleton is a sculptor and writer who divides her time between France and the United States. This biography is based on her study of the private, unpublished correspondence, documents, manuscripts, and photographs preserved in the Archives of the Alexandra David-Neel Foundation in Digne, France.

Customer Reviews

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Easy and enjoyable read.
P Dunaway
Private art collectors and museums in Paris possessed some of the finest of Buddhist and Hindi art in the world.
Jon Reisdorf
I read this book back in my late teens for a fascinating vicarious journey to Lhasa.
Lois J. Coleman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lois J. Coleman on December 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book back in my late teens for a fascinating vicarious journey to Lhasa. Alexandra David-Neel is a wandering woman's role model. What a life!! I could read it again and again and I can't describe the joy at having re-discovered this collectors item.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Bowden on May 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No one can doubt the significance of this woman's incredible life and spiritual journey. However, this book will not really tell you that much about the real Alexandra David-Neel. Aside from a few well chosen quotes, her real nature is largely obscured by this authors fawning admiration for her character and desire to place her high upon a pedestal. David-Neel's motivations and behavior remain masked as a result of this treatment. For a much more compelling (and realistic) examination of her life, try "The Secret Lives of Alexandra David-Neel" by the Fosters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Mummert on May 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was an excellent view of the world through her eyes. What a fascinating person she was...and to witness her independent spirit and devotion via this book was quite interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ruth Middleton's Alexandra David-Neel: Portrait of an Adventurer (1989) is a celebration of the inner journey of one of the West's earliest Buddhist scholars and certainly the least respected one. She lived 1868 - 1969, and was a Belgian-French anarchist, writer, musician, exolorer, spiritual seeker and devout Buddhist. Her over twenty popular books about the buddha-dharma titillated, tantalized and teased spiritualists with tales of levitation, clairvoyance, astral projection and past life recalls. In her day, she became a popular lecturer on Buddhism, feted by the elite of Western society. However, David-Neel's most scholarly, serious work - well written and researched - was largely unread and ignored by students of Buddhism. Gratefully Middleton's appendix introduces us to two of these works available on Amazon: The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects, paperbacks in stock at $9.79 and Buddhism: It's Doctrine and It's Methods, which is available at very reasonably priced paperbacks ( $2.63 + shipping). I intend to read both.
I checked out Wikipedia and learned that Alexandra David-Néel wrote over 30 books about Eastern religion, philosophy, and her travels. Her teachings influenced beat writers Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg, and philosopher Alan Watts. She is, however, best known for her 1924 trek to Lhasa, Tibet when it was forbidden to foreigners. It is this visit and the events that led up to it which is the focus of Ruth Middleton's well researched, well written sympathetic biography.
I am a Buddhist convert. Since 1992, I have read well over a hundred books on all forms of Buddhism and a dozen books on the history of Buddhism and never heard of Alexandra David-Néel.
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By P. A. Iyer on February 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read a few books about Alexandra whose life was so interesting and especially inspiring as a woman in her day. Ruth MIddleton really captures her essence though by her ability to weave information from a variety of sources. This is by far, my favorite version of her story, more objective and clearer than Ms. Neel's work herself. I couldn't put it down.
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