This close look at one of the ultimate guitar gods should find plenty of readers interested in 1960s and ’70s rock.

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JIMMY PAGE

THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY

A full-length biography of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page (b. 1944), whose reclusive habits have only added to his mythic status.

London-based music journalist Salewicz (Dead Gods: The 27 Club, 2015, etc.), who has interviewed his subject many times over the decades, chronicles Page’s rise from working-class London roots. Like many of his generation, Page went to art school on the way to finding a musical career. Inspired by American rockabilly records, Page became proficient enough at a young age to find work as a studio guitarist, making good money backing up popular acts. As the British blues revival flowered, he became the lead guitar player for the Yardbirds, following Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. When that group broke up, Page formed Zeppelin, mapping out the band’s path with iron control. Salewicz follows the group through recording sessions and world tours—Zeppelin was especially popular in the United States—with attention to the band’s excesses, which included destruction of hotels along with other violent outbursts, heavy use of drugs and alcohol, and sexual encounters of all sorts. The author also devotes considerable attention to Page’s mystical side, especially his fascination with Aleister Crowley, perhaps giving it more credence than it deserves. Salewicz delves into Page’s battle with drugs, especially heroin and cocaine, and includes copious reminiscences from groupies who linked up with Page over the years, along with plenty of quotes from interviews with the famously reticent musician and with others who were part of the scene. With the band’s dissolution, Page’s hermetic tendencies became more pronounced. Salewicz chronicles the solo projects, the reunions with singer Robert Plant, and the painstaking project of reissuing Zeppelin’s recorded legacy. Dedicated listeners may want more analytical explorations of the music, and, like many rock journalists, the author tosses around superlatives with a free hand. Still, the book is a must-read for die-hard Zeppelin fans.

This close look at one of the ultimate guitar gods should find plenty of readers interested in 1960s and ’70s rock.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-306-84538-3

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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