A soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.

THE ROLLING STONES 50

At the half-century mark, the “World’s Greatest Rock ’n’ Roll Band” unambitiously recounts its own story in pictures.

A commemorative project devoted to 50 years of the Rolling Stones faces some immediate problems, since the band, in emulation of the Beatles’ great multimedia success with Anthology, already took a look backward in According to the Rolling Stones (2003). That previous authorized work surveyed the Stones’ lives and careers with a minimum of candor and a wealth of illustrations. The present anniversary-year tome is a straight-up-the-middle picture book. After four short introductory essays by founding members Jagger, Richards and Watts, and longtime guitarist Wood, the collection becomes a photographic march down Memory Lane. Many of the shots will be familiar to Stones fans and to owners of the earlier book (and former bassist Bill Wyman’s colorful history, Rolling With the Stones); some of the short quotes that accompany the stills have been lifted directly from the 2003 work. With so little context supplied by the authors or their editors, readers are on their own. Anyone with knowledge of the group’s history or mythos will wind up filling in the blanks: “Say, isn’t that Mick’s ex-wife Bianca there? Is that saxophonist Bobby Keys?” Since the focus is almost exclusively on the band’s onstage life, the book works best as a pictorial reflection of the Stones’ status as a touring attraction of nearly unequaled massiveness. Ultimately, the book is little more than a visual keepsake for obsessive fans, some of whom will already own the revealing high-end picture books by such gifted Stones shutter men as Dominique Tarlé and Ethan Russell. As histories go, the book takes a distant back seat to such essential books as Richards’ bestselling Life (2010) and Stanley Booth’s still-revelatory work of fly-on-the-wall reporting, The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones (1985).

A soulless corporate birthday party that sheds no new light on its well-traveled subjects.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2473-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

more