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The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship

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Frank Lloyd Wright was renowned during his life not only as an architectural genius but also as a subject of controversy--from his radical design innovations to his turbulent private life, including a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Utterly fascinating. The best book on FLW in 20 years

This book absolutely blows the lid off the Taliesin idyll. Hails Wright (and rightly so) for the genius that he was but exposes his faults, many of which are so utterly shocking to anyone with even a minimal knowlege of Wright's life. Be prepared: it will definitely change your opinion of Wright. Book goes into a huge amount of detail on the relationship between Wright, his wife Olgivanna, and their involvement with her former mentor Gurdjieff, who had coveted Taliesin as the base of his American operations. In short, everything in Wright's life was far from calm. The apprentices are the real story here. The authors portray them as talented, but inexperienced amateurs, and it is fascinating to read how they had to work in such difficult situations on such monumental works as Fallingwater and the Johnson Wax building, all the while dealing with Wright's idiosyncracies. The apprentices were really the physical manifestation of Wright's genius. Most (sadly) faded from view or were hesitant to write books of their own lest they were perceived as riding their Master's coat tails. I'm glad their stories are now being told. The authors present a great story and a very eye-opening book on what had been a relatively little-known aspect of FLW's life and legacy.

A terrific read!! Insightful and fascinating!!

Wright is not only an important architect but a fascinating historical figure. Zellman is one of LA's great unacknowledged architects and his book lives up to his reputation as a savvy innovator able to weave together diffuse threads and create a coherant, stunning whole. Working with University Professor Roger Friedland, the authors have created a page turner that will be of interest not just to Wright fans but to those that like an extensively researched and well written biography. I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it!

What Was That About The Dark Side Of Genius ... ?

For years I have been devoted to Frank Lloyd Wright, seeking out his buildings and reading all I could get my hands on about his life and work. His one-of-a-kind genus created a body of work which has lost none of its power. For me that power holds a nostalgia, too, for an era we will never see again, a time when cheap labor and an architect's take-no-prisoners charisma could get astonishing structures erected. Those elegant Usonian homes from the 1940s do make me pine for an era of cheaper materials and fewer code restrictions. One can read the histories of his structures and grow dewey-eyed: To think there was a time when one could build a house for $5,000, and have that house be an exquisite cedar and brick jewel box, sited magnifiecntly on a bluff with a glorious view of the valley below -- in very short order proclaimed a masterpiece -- ! But so much of the canonical Wright literature is hagiography. This book is anything but. Its first pages, for instance, rip away the veil of obscurity regarding Iovanna, Wright's & Olgivanna's child, who was still living when then the authors began the project. Until I read these passages, it had not occured to me that the woman was mysteriously absent from what I read about Wright and the Fellowship. The authors tracked her down to a mental institution. There is clearly a tragedy surrounding her, one that the keeper's of Wright's legacy have ... hidden? avoided? dismissed? She seems lucid enough when the authors talk to her. It is sad of course to have one's heroes diminshed. Wright does not come off well in this book. His and Olgivanna's antagonistic relationship is fully exposed. And she in particular seems an absolute horror. Perhaps I am unrealistically devoted to the ideal of independence of the human creative spirit, but I found the evidence of her meddling in the lives of the people around her to be appalling stuff. Wright's pettiness also had me confounded. Frequently his behavior was downright childish. Towards the end of the book a good case is made for a strong history of manic-depression on both Wright's and his Olginanna's part, and certainly so in the case of their only child. This book is filled with background on Gurdjieff In previous books his influence on the Fellowship has been alluded to but never has it been discussed in such detail. I found much of the detail to make for tedious reading however; I decided immediately Gurdjieff to be the very epitome of the Cult Of Gobbledygook (as such, a perfect foil for Wright himself -- did you ever try to read HIS writing??). I must confess that as much as I love Wright's architecture and will continue to seek it out as well as the buildings designed by his apprentices, it is a bit of a relief to read it is not ALL regarded as masterwork. There are 2 books available covering the work of Wright's apprentices (Tobias Guggenheimer's "A Taliesin Legacy" and the official Taliesin Assosciate Architect's coffee-table style "A Living Architectu

Zellman and Friedland's literary coup!

Harold Zellman, architect and architectural historian and Roger Friedland, Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology at UCSB, have pulled off a major literary coup. They've written a book that will not only satisfy the academic rigor of their colleges, but also will be a sure-fire best seller full of sex, lies and architecture. The new book The Fellowship - The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright & The Taliesin Fellowship is a mesmerizing account of the drama, scandalous sexual escapades, spiritual journey, and artistic achievements of a man many believe was the premier architect of the twentieth century. The book, published this week by Regan Media, has already been selected by Book of the Month Club, cited in Vanity Fair and The New York Post's Page Six Zellman and Friedland's ten-year opus on Frank Lloyd Wright originally began when the two teamed up as Getty Scholars to examine a modernist cooperative community built in West Los Angeles after World War II. While researching Crestwood Hills, the two traced its origins back to two men--an architect and a violist--both of whom had been apprentices at Taliesin, an architectural commune set up in 1932 by Wright and his wife, the mysterious Olgivanna. Taliesin was created to be an experimental center for both architecture and living. Staffed by young, eager aspiring architects -- mostly male -- who wanted to learn from the master, it quickly evolved into a "cult of genius," a place where Olgivanna, Wright's third wife, could promote the teaching of Georgi Gurdjieff. This bald, mustachioed, charismatic Russian trickster-guru claimed his eyes could not only penetrate a man's psyche, but also bring a woman to orgasm from across a room. For the next thirty years, Taliesin became a place where Wright would not only get free in-house labor, but his wife would be able to have total sway over the mental, physical and sexual lives of the architect's devoted followers. Zellman and Friedland were able to crack the hitherto impenetrable world of Taliesin, to show how many of the hundreds who came to study there were transformed by the Wrights into willing instruments of Olgivanna's will, how she was able to exert, total control, both emotionally and sexually over many of Wright's protégés. Frank Lloyd gave his wife the ultimate gift, her own live-action dollhouse. In addition, The Fellowship depicts how the Wrights created one of the few safe havens for homosexuals of their era. Taliesin became one of the great closets in American history. Gay men could be safe there at a time when overt homosexual activity was still a dangerous activity in our country. However, a number of them paid quite a price. The chapters on Olgivanna's playing with her doll house are riveting, particularly the stories about Joseph Stalin's daughter, Svetlana, who became a virtual slave of the Wright's and complained that her father's hours was not as an emotionally scaring experience as being at Taliesin. The best sec
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