Tantric Buddhism, as it originated in in eighth-to twelfth century India, has been presented by Western scholars as exploiting women.
But Shaw documents extensive and impeccable evidence for a diametrically opposite picture.
This was a movement created and led by women, which swept Asia with a cultural renaissance that emphasized spiritual life in the midst of the world and "the transformative dimensions of passion and intimacy."
Tantric teachers gave Shaw initiations necessary to receive the most advanced teachings, and Asian Tantric scholars encouraged her research by affirming her vision of Tantra and sharing difficult-to-find texts.
Shaw's descriptions of these "bold, outspoken, independent women," translated by her directly from primary sources, moved me with an unsettling combination of rage and joy.