Goodman travels to Oz and dares to pull back the curtain—he finds both snake oil and genius.




Rock music has grown from social pariah to powerful engine of industry. This is an intelligent, honest look at the intersection of rock and business.

Goodman, a music and entertainment reporter with credits from Rolling Stone and the New York Times, doesn't blow the lid off the big-money machinations behind the music of rebellion—he lifts the cover and carefully reveals the personalities and motivations of the industry giants behind rock's superstars. As he covers diverse careers and the business of many record companies, Goodman masterfully conveys an incestuous industry of tightly held power. David Geffen—record industry kingpin and all-around media maven—is a featured player, along with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Springsteen's manager and producer, John Landau, also figures prominently. The author, though critical of greedy scheming by management, pays respect to those managers, producers, and record executives who made fortunes for themselves and, sometimes, their clients. Springsteen's pages detail his rocky relationship with opportunistic manager Mike Appel and the influential, dominating influence of producer/manager Landau. The book is full of numbers—millions of dollars trade hands according to negotiated percentages. And Goodman makes it all fascinating. It's the focus on the business side that makes the lengthy book cohere. Some rock fans will undoubtedly have a hard time with this story of money changers in the temple. But a character such as Geffen, as Goodman paints him, is to be both despised and admired. Among other exploits, he stole visionary rocker Neil Young from RCA with an offer of $3 million less and a guarantee of artistic freedom, but later sued Young, unsuccessfully, for breach of contract, for failing to make "commercial'' records.

Goodman travels to Oz and dares to pull back the curtain—he finds both snake oil and genius.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8129-2113-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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



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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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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