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.