Gift Guide

Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison


John Lennon called himself a working class hero. George Harrison was a working class mystic. Born in Liverpool as the son of a bus conductor and a shop assistant, for the first six years of his life he lived in a house with no indoor bathroom. This book gives an honest, in-depth view of his personal journey from his blue-collar childhood to his role as a world-famous spiritual icon.

Author Gary Tillery’s approach is warmly human, free of the ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $5.72   
  • New (9) from $8.50   
  • Used (4) from $5.72   
Working Class Mystic: A Spiritual Biography of George Harrison

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49 price
(Save 34%)$15.95 List Price


John Lennon called himself a working class hero. George Harrison was a working class mystic. Born in Liverpool as the son of a bus conductor and a shop assistant, for the first six years of his life he lived in a house with no indoor bathroom. This book gives an honest, in-depth view of his personal journey from his blue-collar childhood to his role as a world-famous spiritual icon.

Author Gary Tillery’s approach is warmly human, free of the fawning but insolent tone of most rock biographers. He frankly discusses the role of drugs in leading Harrison to mystical insight but emphasizes that he soon renounced psychedelics as a means to the spiritual path. It was with conscious commitment that Harrison journeyed to India, studied sitar with Ravi Shankar, practiced yoga, learned meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and became a devotee of Hinduism. George worked hard to subdue his own ego and to understand the truth beyond appearances. He preferred to keep a low profile, but his empathy for suffering people led him to spearhead the first rock-and-roll super event for charity. And despite his wealth and fame, he was always delighted to slip on overalls and join in manual labor on his grounds. At ease with holy men discussing the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, he was ever the bloke from Liverpool whose father drove a bus, whose brothers were tradesmen, and who had worked himself as an apprentice electrician until the day destiny called.

Tillery’s engaging narrative depicts Harrison as a sincere seeker who acted out of genuine care for humanity and used his celebrity to be of service in the world. Fans of all generations will treasure this book for the inspiring portrayal it gives of their beloved “quiet” Beatle.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Often called “the quiet Beatle” because of his silence both on and off stage, Harrison spoke forcefully and eloquently in the later years of the band and during his solo career about the power of the divine and our own capacities to embrace it within. In a meditation on Harrison’s music that is alternately repetitious and frustratingly superficial, Tillery (The Cynical Idealist) traces Harrison’s mystical journey back to an acid trip in April 1965 in which Harrison realized that he had embraced, and been embraced by, the divine. From that moment, he discovered an affinity with Hinduism. Tillery dutifully treads well-worn territory in narrating Harrison’s relationships with sitarist Ravi Shankar, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Prabhupada, as well as Harrison’s deep engagement with the writings of Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi) and other Hindu spiritual teachers. Harrison’s songs, Tillery points out, strive to awaken us to the truths that he saw quite clearly: “to burn out our past karma, to become aware of our divinity, and to break free of eternal return.” Because it doesn’t engage Harrison’s song lyrics in detail, Tillery’s study lacks the depth of Dale Allison’s finely tuned The Love There That’s Sleeping: The Art and Spirituality of George Harrison (2006). (Nov.)
Library Journal
Tillery has analyzed the spirituality of John Lennon (The Cynical Idealist) and written a short story collection set in Vietnam (Darkling Plain) and humorous detective novels, and he is a celebrated professional sculptor. Perhaps his breadth of interests allowed him to take this wide-screen look at the spirituality of George Harrison. As a member of the Beatles and a somewhat reclusive solo pop star until his death in 2001, Harrison was generally known for his spirituality and embrace of Hinduism. Tillery examines Harrison's lyrics, life, and writings and convincingly explains their place—contradictions and all—within Hinduism and within Harrison's personal spiritual quest. The writing is clear and concise but occasionally veers into near proselytizing as Tillery extends his discussion beyond that for which he finds direct evidence in Harrison's work. VERDICT This is a clear, generally well-documented, and fairly short read that will find favor among Harrison and Beatles fans. Recommended.—James E. Perone, Univ. of Mount Union, Alliance, OH
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835609005
  • Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 587,405
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

A native of the Southwest, Gary Tillery was born in Phoenix in 1947. In 1968-69 Tillery served in Vietnam with the United States Air Force. His enlistment over in 1970, he returned to Phoenix and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from Arizona State University and a Master’s degree from the American Graduate School of International Management.

After two decades in the business world, primarily as co-owner of an advertising agency in suburban Chicago, Tillery turned his time and energy to his lifelong passion for literature and art. He published a collection of interrelated short stories set in Vietnam titled Darkling Plain, and began a series of humorous novels featuring “soft-boiled” detective Jack Savage—the first two titled Death, Be Not Loud and To An Aesthete Dying Young.

Working Class Mystic is Tillery’s follow-up to his 2009 release, The Cynical Idealist: A Spiritual Biography of John Lennon (Quest Books). Each of these mystical biographies examines the rock stars’ creative work as it relates to their spiritual development.

Tillery is also a professional sculptor. He favors the mediums of metal and stone, using these traditional materials to express contemporary ideas. His most prominent work is the sculpture for the Vietnam Memorial in Chicago. He also created the bronze bust of Steve Allen for the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood; and through his association with the Rotblatt-Amrany Studio he created, among other works, the life-size bronze of Luis Aparicio at U. S. Cellular Field.

Tillery has displayed in galleries from Pennsylvania to New Mexico and appeared in shows as far away as Shanghai. His works are in the private collections of Patricia DuPont and General Tommy Franks, and the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago possesses two pieces in its permanent collection.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)