"Rollicking and well-researched...A story of scandal, financial shenanigans, bodily discipline, oversize egos and bizarre love triangles." -Wall Street Journal
More than fifteen million Americans currently practice yoga (according to Yoga Journal), but how many of them know the true story of how Downward Dog first captivated America? Resurrecting a fascinating and forgotten tale, journalist Robert Love returns to the Gilded Age, when Dr. Pierre Bernard (né Perry Baker in Iowa) revived a discipline banned in Victorian India, packaged it for Americans, and taught legions of followers, who bankrolled his luxurious Hudson River ashram- the first in the nation. Filled with Jazz Age celebrities, heiresses, spies, and outraged clergy, The Great Oom is the enthralling life story of the unlikeliest of gurus, and a stunning saga of mysticism, intrigue, and the American dream.