Halfway between the summer of love and the Tet offensive, the Beatles went to India to study with the Maharishi?and Lewis Lapham, esteemed Harper's editor and award-winning writer, was there. WITH THE BEATLES is a remarkable book of cultural commentary on that seminal '60s moment.
The ashram in Rishikesh, India was the ultimate '60s scene: the Beatles, Donovan, Mia Farrow, a stray Beach Boy and other '60s icons gathered along the shores of the...
Halfway between the summer of love and the Tet offensive, the Beatles went to India to study with the Maharishi—and Lewis Lapham, esteemed Harper's editor and award-winning writer, was there. WITH THE BEATLES is a remarkable book of cultural commentary on that seminal '60s moment.
The ashram in Rishikesh, India was the ultimate '60s scene: the Beatles, Donovan, Mia Farrow, a stray Beach Boy and other '60s icons gathered along the shores of the Ganges—amidst paisley and incense and flowers and guitars—to meditate at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The February 1968 gathering received such frenzied, world-wide attention that it is still considered a significant, early encounter between Western pop culture and the mystical East. And Lewis Lapham was the only journalist allowed inside.
And what went on inside the compound has long been the subject of wild speculation and rampant rumor. The Beatles said they wrote some of their greatest songs there . . . and yet they also came away bitterly disillusioned. In WITH THE BEATLES, Lewis Lapham finally tells the whole story.
Nearly 40 years late and awfully short, Harper's editor-in-chief Lapham expands on his 1968 two-part magazine report on the Maharishi Mahesh's ashram in Rishikesh, India-oh, and the Beatles were there, too. Then a young journalist writing for the Saturday Evening Post, where the articles that form the basis for this book originally appeared, Lapham was dispatched to India to get the scoop on a budding hippie craze-transcendental meditation, or TM-and the slightly built, eternally grinning (and moneymaking) yogi who had won some very high-profile converts, including the exhausted Beatles, folk singer Donovan, Mia Farrow (then Mrs. Frank Sinatra) and Beach Boys singer Mike Love. Despite a short description of a lengthy taxi ride with Ringo Starr, the Beatles are barely evident in Lapham's text beyond the occasional sighting or stray guitar chord lilting through the Indian air. There are some marvelous photos of the Beatles, many taken by a young follower of the maharishi named Paul Saltzman who published them in his own book in 2000. Even with these shots, however, Lapham's surprisingly ordinary, at times self-important prose, will disappoint if not flat-out bore readers expecting anything close to what the title might suggest. (Oct. 19) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Lapham has an unparalleled ability to provide political and cultural context to any subject he discusses...While reams of paper have been used by rock journalists to opine about the Beatles’ trip to India and the influence it had on song lyrics or the eventual break-up of the group, few of these writers have looked beyond the reaches of the band to see any greater meaning in the event...WITH THE BEATLES, offers a unique and refreshing outsider’s perspective on a small event that was symbolic of larger, shifting trends in the youth movement of the ’60s."
—Matt Goody, The Republic
"Charming and smoothly written...with nifty pictures...sure to become a collector's item."
—The Boston Globe
Lewis Lapham is one of the most distinguished editors and writers working in the U.S. today. As editor-in-chief of Harper's Magazine, he is known for his monthly columns of political and cultural commentary. He is also the other of numerous books, including, most recently, Gag Rule and 30 Satires.