BETTER TO BURN OUT

THE CULT OF DEATH IN ROCK 'N' ROLL

Thompson, a prominent music critic and author of Never Fade Away (not reviewed), an autopsy of Nirvana front man and suicide Kurt Cobain (and his phenomenon), returns again to the crypt to unearth dozens of sad, lurid, and occasionally cautionary tales. Rather than dwell primarily on the deaths of rock superstars, Thompson instead probes the ends of musicians either not well known or at least not big in America. The author covers nearly 40 years of rock ‘n’ roll fatalities, from the British promoter/producer, Joe Meek, who offed himself (but not before he took someone out with him), to T-Rex front man and faded teen idol Marc Bolan, who perished in a motor wreck, to the death from heart failure of Fred “Sonic” Smith, founder of the seminal proto-punk band MC5 and husband of punk goddess Patti Smith, to the drug-hastened demises of the Dead Boys/Lords of the New Church founder Stiv Bators and the Smashing Pumpkins’ keyboardist, Jonathan Melvoin. While many of the stories are told with baleful foreboding or chin-wagging melancholy, the author can’t seem to help but allow the more salacious elements to come bubbling up to the surface. Thus, for every tale of woe, such as Joy Division singer Ian Curtis’s failed bout with epilepsy, or the death from cancer of the French pop legend Jacques Brel, there are tales of the near-slapstick sign-offs of Sid Vicious and GG Allin, the pathetic story of the former Velvet Underground “chanteuse” and international glam gal Nico, or details of the sordid speculation that surrounded the suicide of INXS singer Michael Hutchence. What does this all add up to? A perfect antidote to the familiar parental catcall, “turn off that racket and pick up a book.” (50 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56025-190-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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