Stubbs' doorstop is well-researched, well-written, intensely detailed, and oftentimes gripping, but unless you have a couple...



A massive answered prayer for fans of Krautrock, without which “hip hop, techno, electropop, ambient and post-rock might never have evolved.”

Rock writers have a tendency to describe a critically acclaimed but less-than-popular style as "misunderstood." Krautrock, the 1970s-era electronic-based subgenre was perfectly well understood; it just wasn't particularly beloved. Listening to music by the likes of Kraftwerk, Popol Vuh, Can, and Faust, it's understandable why the genre didn't cross over into the mainstream: with its robotic beats and tangle of electronic sounds, Krautrock is oftentimes difficult and flat-out inaccessible. However, it played an important role in combining dance and punk, something that artists like The Mars Volta, My Bloody Valentine, and even Beck have utilized to great artistic and critical success, and that fact alone justifies an in-depth study of the music and its effect on its birthplace of Germany. A contributor to U.K. rock magazines Melody Maker, NME, and others, Stubbs (Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don't Get Stockhausen, 2009, etc.) comes off as the world’s foremost expert on Krautrock, for which he deserves massive credit. The author neatly ties in his discussions of the genre’s roots with coverage of the upheaval that defined Germany during the time, explaining with conviction and authority how one influenced the other. The sections that will most appeal to casual fans deal with the handful of non-German artists who embraced the German sounds, most notably David Bowie and Brian Eno. Furthermore, the author makes readers want to check out some Krautrock, which is an impressive feat in itself.

Stubbs' doorstop is well-researched, well-written, intensely detailed, and oftentimes gripping, but unless you have a couple of Ash Ra Tempel albums in your collection or are intensely curious about German culture in the 1970s, you might be hard-pressed to make it through this exhaustive study of a relatively short-lived genre.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61219-474-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Melville House

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2015

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


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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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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