Good enough as far as it goes, but Peter Guralnick and Greil Marcus can rest easy, unthreatened by competition here.

READ REVIEW

1965

THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY YEAR IN MUSIC

Lively though superficial survey of the annus mirabilis that brought us “Eve of Destruction,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Help!”

Journalist/filmmaker Jackson doesn’t serve up much of a thesis beyond the rather vaporous observation that the year 1965 “is the moment in rock history when the Technicolor butterfly burst out of its black-and-white cocoon.” Put another way, enough musicians had dropped acid by then to alter the course of pop music, which had been spinning through cycles of folk, R&B, jazz and rock and was now making a mélange of all of them, courtesy of inchoate groups as far afield from each other as the Mothers of Invention, the Doors and the Velvet Underground—and atop the stack, as ever, the indomitable Beatles. There’s not much new in the individual bits of data assembled here, though Jackson’s gleanings are sometimes pleasing. High points include the makings of the Beatles’ song that would become “Drive My Car,” a recording which John Lennon sagely said, “It needs cowbell,” and of the anthemic “Eve of Destruction,” which the Byrds and their lesser peers the Turtles (then the Tyrtles) rejected—and wisely, for, as the latter’s Howard Kaylan said, “whoever recorded this song was doomed to have only one record in their/his career.” The year was light on hard-charting women, though Jackson does a solid job covering the hit-makers, including a very young Cher and an ever-so-earnest Mary Travers. The author occasionally stretches a little too far: If a cigar is sometimes just a cigar, then the white shirt of “Satisfaction” might just be a shirt and not an occult commentary on racism, and it’s downright silly to claim that Dylan’s “From a Buick Six” is “a psychic flash of the motorcycle accident that will take Dylan off the road a year later.”

Good enough as far as it goes, but Peter Guralnick and Greil Marcus can rest easy, unthreatened by competition here.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05962-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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