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A Shining City on a Hill Paperback – 2018
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This book is a biovel, a novelized biographic story which narrates the author’s visit to Colorado USA in the nineteen eighties and his investigations of the forces that shape, move and control American society. Arriving from India where he had spent eight years, the writer uncovered little known or hidden facets of America’s history and political system. He evokes the Eastern influences that have played a role, from the nation’s genesis within the British Empire to the vedantic inspiration of the New England Transcendentalists, from the theosophical and occultist connections of free masonic sects to the ‘Indic’ references in the writings of Herman Melville and other novelists. Those connections help explain the fascination of some leading scientists, statesmen and military commanders for Hindu and Buddhism mysticism and metaphysics, often related to the spreading use of psychotropic drugs and the rise of the New Age Movement, but the Conservative Puritanical reaction and the ruthless power of a mighty Deep State bore the seeds of events which shook America in this century, from the 911 terrorist attacks to the ensuing invasions and continuing wars in the Middle East and the election of Donald Trump. The book reveals that America’s long standing high level interest in esotericism came of age when some of its ruling elites came into contact with what they could only regard as the Supernatural. That is perhaps the greatest secret that has been kept until today and it may account in part for the current state of the USA. About the Author Côme Carpentier de Gourdon, born in the Canary Islands (Spain) of French parents, studied in Europe, India and the USA and has lived, traveled and taught in more than 50 countries on four continents (including several universities and academic institutions in France, India, the USA, Switzerland, Peru, Russia, Italy, China, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Lebanon and Greece).
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I have an unusual reason for being interested in this challenging book. In the late 1950s, in Western Canada, just past eight o'clock on a still winter's night, I saw what appeared to be a formation of nine lighted spheres passing low over a wooded field, outside Victoria. This grouping, altogether shaped like a V, moved deliberately, high above tall trees, and then swept eastward, away from my view. Standing beside me were two senior members of my family, conservative types not given to flighty thinking. I asked my great-uncle, a retired general who'd been around a bit, what he thought it was up there. He smiled thinly and quoted Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Côme Carpentier de Gourdon opens a chapter with that very quotation from Hamlet; this connected me, through many decades, with quite a strange childhood experience.... I enjoyed this inner space exploration--and though a good editor would have been useful to the book's Indian publisher, I believe that the truths which Côme Carpentier de Gourdon seeks are both eternal and essential to human understanding.