Bowerman vs. The Baghwan

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  4/23/2007

As part of the Deschutes Public Library’s A Novel Idea … Read Together, the Deschutes Public Library Foundation presents Coaching Central Oregon: Bill Bowerman, the Rajneeshees, and the Battle For Wasco County presented by Marion S. Goldman, UofO professor of Sociology and Religious Studies on April 28, 2007, at 2:00 p.m. at the Redmond Public LIbrary. The presentation is part of the Novel Idea … Read Together, community-reading project offered by Deschutes Public Library and the Deschutes Public Library Foundation.

In 1981, follwer of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Rajneesh bought a ranch in Wasco County, Oregon. Their plan was to settle in Central Oregon and make the ranch previously known as "The Big Muddy,” their home. The arrival of the Rajneesh in Central Oregon raised a few eyebrows and casued concern. Among the concerned was Bill Bowerman, University of Oregon’s famous track coach and co-founder of Nike.

Goldman is Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. She has studied Rajneeshees, Jesus People, and other new religious movements in the Pacific Northwest.
In her presentation, Professor Goldman considers the varied forces keeping Central Oregon from erupting into armed struggle during the years when Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his devotees established their communal city on the former Big Muddy Ranch. Professor Goldman interviewed Bowerman and members of his family for her 1999 book, Passionate Journeys: Why Successful Women Joined a Cult. The talk also includes material from her 2004 Interview with Ma Anand Sheela, the Rajneesh leader who created the context for battle in Wasco County.

Now in its fourth year, “A Novel Idea...Read Together” has become the premier community reading program in Oregon. This month-long reading and discussion event is organized by the Deschutes Public Library and funded by the

Deschutes Public Library Foundation with the support of other community sponsors. The purpose of the event is to build community by broadening and deepening appreciation of literature through reading, participation, and discussion.

The 2007 selected book, Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, describes the life of Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon’s legendary track coach and co-founder of Nike. The book celebrates the spirit of Oregon through the life of this incredible man who faced life with genius, humor and grit. Author Kenny Moore, a former senior writer for Sports Illustrated and a world-class runner under Bowerman’s tutelage, delivers a fully realized portrait of Bowerman. More than 20 programs will highlight this year’s book, each of which is designed to enhance the participant’s knowledge of the book and the man whose legacy touched our lives in a variety of unexpected ways.

For a complete listing of Novel Idea programs, please call 312-1032.

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