Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts

Monica Furlong, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $17.45 (236p) ISBN 978-0-395-35344-8
Popular Zen philospher Watts, whose bestsellers on oriental mysticism helped create a counterculture, privately insisted that he was a rogue, a fake and entertainer. Without either glorifying or sensationalizing Watts, this superb, intimately detailed biography assesses the impact of a flawed guru, the shy English-born scholar who, by the ""summer of love'' in 1967, had become a flower child brimming with confidence and flowing hair. Heavy drinking fueled by a gnawing sense of loneliness, three marriages replete with sexual adventures, writing and lecturing to support his seven children marked the life of a very human sage who seems an odd mixture of wisdom and childishness. Watts sought to reawaken Christians to the ``innerness'' of their religion; he also believed that assimilating Asian wisdom could help Westerners heal their schizoid mentality. Furlong ( Merton: A Biography shows how his ideas evolved and suggests their relevance for a new generation of readers. Photos. (October 28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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