Transcendental Meditation in America


         "It is well worth reading, and, like Putz, it gets me thinking about religion and the Midwest anew …"                                                        -- Doug Anderson, Northwestern College

" ... covers the past, present and future of transcendental meditation in this country, although it provides a narrowed focus on an Iowa small town and tells how two thousand followers of the 1960s icon Maharishi Mahesh Yogi moved to tiny Fairfield and set up a university and a school for other ages, allowing followers to immerse themselves in TM from toddlerhood through adulthood. While today the guru Yogi is dead and his followers are aging, the movement still remains--and it's up to TM to change with the times. By examining the changes TM brought to a tiny Midwestern town, professor Weber provides an important historical document key to any student of Midwest history and culture in a title recommended for new age and American history collections alike!"

                                                                                                                -- Midwest Book Review

         "Weber (Businessweek) has written a scattered but fascinating and balanced account of the community in Fairfield, IA, that grew up around the presence and charisma of the famed and controversial Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008). He follows the story of this unusual group as it rises, and, in the wake of its founder's death, slowly declines despite the members' efforts to keep a university going and run for public office. Weber looks frankly at both the joy Transcendental Meditation (TM) has brought to its members and the folly and debate that have surrounded it as well; he shrewdly compares its likely future to that of the nearby Amana community, a semiseparate group of utopian dreamers. VERDICT An honest look at the very mixed success of TM in the Midwest, this book should be of keen interest to academics and general readers alike."                                                                                                                                                           -- Library Journal

        "The book was a nuanced, well-reported, investigative piece that relied heavily on interviews. Clocking in at only 190 pages (plus about 10 for endnotes), it was an easy and engrossing read…For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the book came from the multifarious ways that Weber's interviewees explained TM's relationship with religion. I'd imagine that teachers could pull out the sections from the book in which individuals explain why or why not TM is a religion (TMers generally claim it is not, while opponents claim that it is), and have an interesting discussion.

          … How long TM will survive is up for debate, but for now it continues to have its share of celebrity supporters and ardent defenders. For example, if you check out Amazon* you'll find four reviewers (three of whom are insiders either to TM or Fairfield) take offense to Weber's supposedly “distorted” view of the movement. For my part, I found Weber's book to be fair and compelling throughout, and it has whetted my appetite for recent and forthcoming books like Arthur Versluis' American Gurus and Jeff Wilson's Mindful America, not to mention Michael Altman's more distant From Heathens to Hindus: Religious Difference in Protestant America."

                                                                                                            -- Paul Putz, Before It's News