Transcendental Meditation in America

"With this book, Joe Weber has made an important contribution to the University of Iowa Press's series entitled 'Iowa and the Midwest Experience." ... He details the history of TM in America and in Fairfield, Iowa, through dozens of interviews with important critics and adherents. He also includes impressive references to books and articles from magazines and newspapers. These readings are thoroughly described in the bibliography and notes at the end of the book as well as smoothly identified in the text."

                                                                                     -- Carolyn Johnsen, Prairie Fire

       "Weber (Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln) provides a balanced and insightful study that acknowledges the creativity and the crises associated with the arrival of an international spiritual movement in an Iowa town in the 1970s. Practitioners of transcendental meditation (TM) selected Fairfield, Iowa, to become a major center for alternative education and meditation practice. TM has been well documented as a new religious movement by scholars (e.g., Lola Williamson, Transcendent in America, CH, July'10, 47-6199), and widely promoted by its practitioners. Weber's study is unique in effectively interweaving the movement's ideology, institution building, philanthropy, involvement in local politics and government, and initiation and expulsion of followers into a sustained narrative that matches those found in the best American community studies. Weber's more than three decades as a practicing journalist, many of them at BusinessWeek, along with his university teaching experience, have made him a canny interviewer and skilled researcher. This book almost certainly will find a place among the long-enduring studies of North American communal, intentional, and utopian experiments. The author's account of the transformation of the long-established town of Fairfield and the inauguration of the new incorporated Maharishi Vedic City is vivid and compelling.

      Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers."

                                                                -- G.R. Thursby, University of Florida, CHOICE