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Walt Whitman
Bookmarks: 'American Veda' by Philip Goldberg
Bookmarks: 'American Veda' by Philip Goldberg

Long before the Fab Four embraced the East, there were the Fab Three — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Philip Goldberg's "American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation — How Indian Spirituality Changed the West" (Harmony: 386 pp., $26) is an authoritative, engaging survey of why, starting with these three venerable American thinkers, the flowers of Eastern practices have thrived in Western soil. When he set foot in Harvard Divinity School a century and a half ago, Emerson had a shattering realization about Christianity. His discovery of Eastern texts "dispelled once for all the dream about Christianity being the...