Return with us now to rock’s thrilling days of eye shadow and ostrich feathers.

THE THRILL OF IT ALL

THE STORY OF BRYAN FERRY AND ROXY MUSIC

Glam-rock pacesetters and their angst-racked vocalist receive a thoughtful consideration.

This time out, Buckley, who has surveyed David Bowie in two books, takes on the legacy of the electrifying ’70s U.K. act Roxy Music. His focus is on front man Bryan Ferry, a working-class provincial who carried cool from Newcastle after an art school education. In 1970, he founded Roxy Music in London with Brian Eno—a nonmusician committed to flamboyant style, sonic extremism and arty theatrics—and a group of mainly unknown collaborators. With the release of its first album in 1972, the band became an instant sensation; its vital fusion of lyrical irony, campy visual style and envelope-pushing experimentalism led to a popularity rivaling that accorded Bowie and T. Rex’s Marc Bolan at the apex of rock’s glitter era. But Buckley, who considers the untutored group a harbinger of punk rock, maintains that Ferry’s early expulsion of chief provocateur Eno, along with the singer’s increasingly conservative and fussy approach in the studio, spelled the end of the group’s importance. The writer also notes that social striver Ferry’s metamorphosis into the kind of suave, moneyed toff he had initially mocked hastened a descent into virtual self-parody in a series of labored and hermetic group projects and solo albums. Ferry’s latter-day irrelevance is telegraphed by the fact that Buckley spends a mere 58 pages on the 23 years between the release of Roxy’s lustrous 1981 album Avalon and the present day. The Thrill of It All lacks much primary sourcing: the ever-wary Ferry sat for just one interview in 1999, and Buckley couldn’t corral Eno or such founding Roxy members as guitarist Phil Manzanera or saxophonist Andy McKay, who both played in the reunited 2001 touring lineup. But testimony from a chorus of sidemen and independent observers plus well-selected secondary material adds up to a compelling assessment of a prophetic and influential band.

Return with us now to rock’s thrilling days of eye shadow and ostrich feathers.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-55652-574-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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