In this engrossing, provocative, and intimate memoir, a young journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers. When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart. At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. At the Maharishi School, Claire learns Maharishi’s philosophy for living and meditates with her class. With the promise of peace and enlightenment constantly on the horizon, every day is infused with magic and meaning. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood. Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.
Follows the establishment of Maharishi University of Management by Marharishi Mahesh Yogi, discussing how it influenced the community in Fairfield, Iowa, and how the founder's death has impacted the university.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a long and tortuous relationship with religion over almost the entirety of its existence. As early as 1917, the Bureau began to target religious communities and groups it believed were hotbeds of anti-American politics. Whether these religious communities were pacifist groups that opposed American wars, or religious groups that advocated for white supremacy or direct conflict with the FBI, the Bureau has infiltrated and surveilled religious communities that run the gamut of American religious life. The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history. Starting from the beginnings of the FBI before World War I, moving through the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, up to 9/11 and today, this book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.
“The more you transform your life from the material to the spiritual domain, the less you become afraid of death.” Leo Tolstoy spoke these words, and they became Henry Stuart’s raison d’etre. The Poet of Tolstoy Park is the unforgettable novel based on the true story of Henry Stuart’s life, which was reclaimed from his doctor’s belief that he would not live another year. Henry responds to the news by slogging home barefoot in the rain. It’s 1925. The place: Canyon County, Idaho. Henry is sixty-seven, a retired professor and a widower who has been told a warmer climate would make the end more tolerable. San Diego would be a good choice. Instead, Henry chose Fairhope, Alabama, a town with utopian ideals and a haven for strong-minded individualists. Upton Sinclair, Sherwood Anderson, and Clarence Darrow were among its inhabitants. Henry bought his own ten acres of piney woods outside Fairhope. Before dying, underscored by the writings of his beloved Tolstoy, Henry could begin to “perfect the soul awarded him” and rest in the faith that he, and all people, would succeed, “even if it took eons.” Human existence, Henry believed, continues in a perfect circle unmarred by flaws of personality, irrespective of blood and possessions and rank, and separate from organized religion. In Alabama, until his final breath, he would chase these high ideas. But first, Henry had to answer up for leaving Idaho. Henry’s dearest friend and intellectual sparring partner, Pastor Will Webb, and Henry’s two adult sons, Thomas and Harvey, were baffled and angry that he would abandon them and move to the Deep South, living in a barn there while he built a round house of handmade concrete blocks. His new neighbors were perplexed by his eccentric behavior as well. On the coldest day of winter he was barefoot, a philosopher and poet with ideas and words to share with anyone who would listen. And, mysteriously, his “last few months” became years. He had gone looking for a place to learn lessons in dying, and, studiously advanced to claim a vigorous new life. The Poet of Tolstoy Park is a moving and irresistible story, a guidebook of the mind and spirit that lays hold of the heart. Henry Stuart points the way through life’s puzzles for all of us, becoming in this timeless tale a character of such dimension that he seems more alive now than ever.
From award-winning journalist David Kushner, a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair, Alligator Candy is “a raw story about courage, survival, and most certainly about love” (Tampa Bay Times). David Kushner grew up in the suburbs of Florida in the early 1970s, running wild with his friends, exploring, riding bikes, and disappearing into the nearby woods for hours at a time. One morning in 1973, however, everything changed when David’s older brother Jon took a short bike trip to the local convenience store. He never returned. Alligator Candy is the story of Jon’s murder at the hands of two sadistic drifters, and everything that happened after. Jon’s death was one of the first in what turned out to be a rash of child abductions and murders that dominated headlines for much of the 1970s and 80s. It was around this the time that milk cartons began to feature the images of missing children, and newscasters began asking, “It’s 10:00, do you know where you children are?” Alligator Candy chronicles Jon’s story, but also tells how parenting in America has changed, casting light on the transition between two generations of children—one raised on freedom, the other on fear. “Parents today can understand the love, hope, and fear Kushner so eloquently describes in this account of one family’s transcendent courage in the face of crushing pain” (Bookpage, “Top Ten Book of the Month”). Alligator Candy is a disturbing, insightful, and inspiring meditation on grief, growth, and what childhood has become: “not only a memorial to a brother tragically deprived of his right to live; but also a meditation on the courage necessary to live freely in a world riven by pain, suffering, and evil” (Kirkus Reviews).
Dr. Jason Selk helps well-known professional and Olympic athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives and organizations develop the mental toughness necessary to thrive in the face of adversity and achieve elite-level results. Tom Bartow, following a career as a winning college basketball coach, became one of the country's top financial advisors and is now one of the premier business coaches nationwide. Together, Selk and Bartow reveal the secrets of how both elite athletes and business leaders climb to the top. In Organize Tomorrow Today (OTT), two of the top minds in human performance come together to deliver the pathway to extreme success. Doing more is not the answer and Selk and Bartow walk you through how to achieve more by doing less. There is a huge difference between knowing something and understanding. There is an even wider gap between understanding and doing. Highly successful people never get it all finished in any given day; however, they always get the most important things completed. Selk and Bartow offer the 8 fundamentals of doing what is most important. OTT will show you the performance gains that athletes, executives, and salespeople spend tens of thousands of dollars to achieve.
Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize. For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play around with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who knows something about what it’s like to live without the feed-and about resisting its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a brave new world - and a hilarious new lingo - sure to appeal to anyone who appreciates smart satire, futuristic fiction laced with humor, or any story featuring skin lesions as a fashion statement.
A host of NPR's "All Things Considered" traces her ancestry in America's South and how it reflects the nation's turbulent efforts toward racial equality, a heritage that has influenced her awareness about character, silence, and integration.
“A free-wheeling vehicle . . . an unforgettable ride!”—The New York Times Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best. “[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist.”—Harper’s Magazine “Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—Atlantic Monthly
From the bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, this is the incredible true story of how a college student and two female accomplices stole some of the rarest objects on the planet—moon rocks—from an "impregnable" high-tech vault. But breaking into a highly secure laboratory wasn't easy. Thad Roberts, an intern in a prestigious NASA training program, would have to concoct a meticulous plan to get past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways even before he could get his hands on the 600-pound safe. And then how was he supposed to get it out? And what does one do with an item so valuable that it's illegal even to own? With his signature high-velocity style, Mezrich reconstructs the outlandish heist and tells a story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.
In a tiny village, cut-off from the outside world, unnatural events are menacing the populace. Apparitions of vampires and zombies terrorise the townsfolk and they come to believe that the Devil occupies the abandoned castle looming over their town. A visitor to the region, a young Count, vows to liberate the town from this thrall - pitting his reason against the forces of superstition. But his limits of reason are breached when he sees his long-lost dead loved one. In a brilliant new translation, this gripping, genre-creating story is again brought to life.