cover image Dancing in My Dreams: A Spiritual Biography of Tina Turner

Dancing in My Dreams: A Spiritual Biography of Tina Turner

Ralph H. Craig III. Eerdmans, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7863-2

Craig, a PhD candidate in religious studies at Stanford, debuts with a finely drawn portrait of the “queen of rock ’n’ roll” and the spiritual beliefs that animated her life, from the gospel tradition of her childhood to her turn toward “metaphysical religion” (think psychics and spiritual seeking) during the 1960s and early ’70s to her embrace of Buddhism. While Turner’s abusive relationship with her bandmate and husband Ike Turner is well-known, less so is how the Buddhist tradition of chanting helped her summon the strength to leave him in 1976; according to Craig, Turner considered her introduction to the practice to be an “indication that her place in the universe was indeed being rearranged.” As Turner’s career skyrocketed, her religious devotion deepened and she eventually became “one of the highest-profile African American Buddhists.” After she retired from live performances in May 2009 at age 69, she spent her latter years working as a Buddhist teacher and recording interfaith albums. Craig skillfully balances rigorous research with insight into Turner’s psyche to unearth new dimensions of her life and career, and in the process gives welcome due to the oft-neglected role of Black Americans in the history of Buddhism in the West. Even the most ardent of Turner’s fans will be enlightened. (Nov.)