A savvy reminiscence of the era when punk finally paid its debt to society.



Straightforward account of the improbably profitable second coming of punk rock.

British music journalist Winwood (co-author: Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica (1991-2014), 2014, etc.) writes with authoritative enthusiasm about the 1990s rise of bands like Green Day and the Offspring and their broader relationship to the always-contentious question, “what is punk?” He argues that since their success, “anyone forming a punk band did so with the knowledge that in doing so it was possible to become suddenly wealthy.” Setting up this improbable cultural watershed, the author briefly covers the initial blast of 1970s and ’80s punk, when powerful bands like Black Flag and the Germs had momentum cut short by police hostility, drug abuse, and changing underground rock trends. So, when bands like Los Angeles’ initially mediocre NOFX and the Bay Area’s beloved Operation Ivy (which morphed into Rancid) and juvenile upstarts Green Day formed, they had little expectation of mainstream success despite the signing explosion following Nirvana’s breakthrough in 1991. As NOFX’s Fat Mike recalls of those lean days, “It was fine because we didn’t know any different and no one bitched about it.” Still, the hardy pre-internet infrastructure of small labels, regional fanzines, and college radio meant that bands could tour and release records, improving their chops beneath the mainstream radar. This was epitomized by Bad Religion co-founder Brett Gurewitz’s Epitaph Records, eventually hugely influential but run on a shoestring during the years when, as band mate Greg Graffin recalls, “the punk scene was completely dismantled.” All this had started to change when Green Day’s commercial breakthrough, “Dookie,” catapulted them into the mainstream, bringing mass attention to the reconstituted punk genre. Winwood captures the halcyon days that followed, which included huge tours, Epitaph’s lucrative prominence, and Green Day’s later triumph with “American Idiot.” Focusing on the personalities behind these epochal bands, the author stays more on the surface than other recent assessments, but his knowing humor will appeal to younger fans and those who were there.

A savvy reminiscence of the era when punk finally paid its debt to society.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-306-90274-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Da Capo

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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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 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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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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