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The Rainman’s Third Cure

An Irregular Education

List Price: $16.95

November 10, 2015 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 288 Pages | ISBN 9781619027077
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“Peter Coyote’s The Rainman’s Third Cure meditates on his mentors and Zen path.” —Vanity Fair

“The rainman gave me two cures
And he said, ‘Just jump right in.’
The one was Texas Medicine
And the other was railroad gin.
And like a fool I mixed them
And they strangled up my mind
Now people just get uglier
And I have no sense of time.”
—Bob Dylan, “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”

The guiding metaphor in Peter Coyote’s new spiritual biography is drawn from a line in an early Bob Dylan song. For Coyote, the twin forces Dylan identifies as Texas Medicine and Railroad Gin – represent the competing forces of the transcendental, inclusive, and ecstatic world of love with the competitive, status-seeking world of wealth and power. The Rainman’s Third Cure is the tale of a young man caught between these apparently antipodal options and the journey that leads him from the privileged halls of power to Greenwich Village jazz bars, to jail, to the White House, lessons from a man who literally held the power of life and death over others, to government service and international success on stage and screen.

Expanding his frame beyond the wild ride through the 1960’s counterculture that occupied so much of his lauded debut memoir, Sleeping Where I Fall, Coyote provides readers intimate portraits of mentors that shaped him—a violent, intimidating father, a be-bop Bass player who teaches him that life can be improvised, a Mafia consiglieri, who demonstrates to him that men can be bought and manipulated, an ex game-warden who initates him into the laws of nature, a gay dancer in Martha Graham’s company who introduces him to Mexico and marijuana, beat poet Gary Snyder, who introduces him to Zen practice, and finally famed fashion designer Nino Cerruti who made the high-stakes world of haute monde Europe available to him.

What begins as a peripatetic flirtation with Zen deepens into a life-long avocation, ordination as a priest, and finally the road to Transmission—acknowledgement from his teacher that he is ready to be an independent teacher. Through Zen, Coyote discovers a third option that offers an alternative to both the worlds of Love and Power’s correlatives of status seeking and material wealth. Zen was his portal, but what he discovers on the inside is actually available to all humans. In this energetic, reflective and intelligent memoir, The Rainman’s Third Cure is the way out of the box. The way that works.

PETER COYOTE has performed as an actor for some of the world’s most distinguished filmmakers, including: Barry Levinson, Roman Polanski, Pedro Almodovar, Steven Spielberg, Walter Hill, Martin Ritt, Steven Soderberg, Diane Kurys, Sidney Pollack and Jean Paul Rappeneau. HE has written a memoir of the 1960’s counter-culture called Sleeping Where I Fall, which appeared on three best-seller lists.


“Peter Coyote’s The Rainman’s Third Cure meditates on his mentors and Zen path.” —Vanity Fair

“Coyote has emerged over the past few decades, as the unofficial yet authentic voice of America. His own personal voice echoes across every page of his memoir… The archival photos of Coyote’s parents, father figures, mentors and friends bring them to life, enhance the prose and help make this memoir unforgettable.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“[Rainman’s Third Cure] is an engaging, intelligent, witty and enlightening read by a man who has tamed the wildness within and has the gift of not taking himself too seriously.” —Seattle Times 

“[Coyote] would be the first to admit that he may not have made it without the many mentors who seemed to pop up in his life when he needed them most. And os it is to them that he dedicates his second memoir, The Rainman’s Third Cure… Despite the emotional pain he endured in his youth, Coyote clearly has come to embrace it as much as the many joys he’s experienced in his 73 years.” —Marin Independent Journal

“[His writing] is vivid and compelling, and what is most striking about the book is how revealing Coyote has become about his troubled family and lifelong efforts to come to grips with who he is and who he really wants to be.” —Marin Pacific Sun

“What Coyote’s life story teaches us is that making peace with one’s inner demons can even lead to a deeper and richer engagement with efforts to change the world.” —Beyond Chron

“Remarkably forthright and insightful, this memoir may inspire others to add a bit of Zen to their lives.” —Library Journal Starred Review

“It’s interesting to follow Coyote’s careful, step-by-step unraveling of his own psyche and emotional constructs, and fellow students of Zen will especially appreciate Coyote’s breakdown of meditative retreats and flashes of enlightenment.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] descriptively brilliant biographical odyssey… Presented with so many well-defined faces, there’s guaranteed to be at least one Coyote, and probably more, that readers enjoy meeting.” —Kirkus 

“Actor-writer Coyote was an astute, remarkable young man… [An] engagingly written exploration of his life… There’s plenty here, in anecdotes of caring for the hungry in his Digger kitchens in Haight-Ashbury, befriending and learning from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder (and then following Buddhism for more than 40 years), becoming a respected actor, and raising his own family with the wisdom he carefully garnered as a youngster.” —Booklist

“Peter Coyote’s new memoir is just plain wonderful–richly textured, beautifully written, sad, sweet, sometimes funny, always wise. It is about childhood losses and joy, growing up, mentors, loyalty, the search for Truth, survival, the sixties, the seventies, transcendence, healing, disasters. It is told by a writer of deep wisdom, self-knowledge and charm, yet I gobbled it up, like a novel.” —Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

“Even as a boy, Peter Coyote sensed that his ‘one eye was looking out and the other was looking in.’ That capacity for acute observation combined with unsparing self-reflection permeates this engrossing memoir.  In recounting his ‘irregular education,’ the author has written a book that deserves to stand alongside The Education of Henry Adams.” —Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust

“As he showed in Sleeping Where I Fall, Peter has lived a life most of us could only dream of. In this insightful and beautifully expressed follow up, we get a deeper view not only of his own path, but of the currents underlying so much our own shared histories. Viewed through the prism of three transformational relationships, his story is as moving as it is fascinating. A remarkable book.” —Bonnie Raitt, American singer and songwriter

“There are often people in your life that just fit perfectly and you love without question. Peter is one of those people! His talent and worldliness have always been evident, the kindness and calm he exudes are finally explained in this book. A life well examined and accounted, that provokes thought, elicits smiles and tears and varying degrees of self examination… sort of like spending a relaxing afternoon lunch with my friend, Peter.” —Samuel L. Jackson, American actor and producer

“‘Spiritual path’ is too pallid a term for Peter Coyote’s odyssey—sometimes on rural paths, sometimes in a cavalcade of counterculture vehicles down a highway, and in conversation with the likeliest and unlikeliest mentors, from a farm mechanic to an iconic Italian designer to a zen priest who asks him to be quiet while chopping the carrots. It’s a history with many twists and pleasures, from a glimpse of Billie Holiday to some beautiful turns of phrase, that eventually brings its author—and its readers—through noise and turmoil and adventure to the quiet of Zen Buddhism.” —Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explains Things to Me

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