Well-executed, but for hardcore Bowie fans only.

Exhaustive survey of David Bowie and his music.

Recent years have seen the publication of a variety of Bowie books, most notably the lengthy, impressive biographies by Marc Spitz (Bowie: A Biography, 2009) and Paul Trynka (David Bowie: Starman, 2011). Bowie is an unquestionably influential artist. However, considering all the detailed Bowie-centric material available, what else do we need to know about him? According to Doggett (You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup, 2010, etc.), too much Bowie information isn't enough. The author so reveres his subject that he decided to dissect each lyric and every note played by the Thin White Duke. The result is as comprehensive, and exhausting, as one might expect from a 450-page examination of a prolific artist's entire recorded output. This isn't to say that Doggett isn't a competent analyst. In fact, there aren’t many writers who have the combination of classic-rock knowledge, reverence for an artist and sheer patience to successfully pull off this sort of project. Doggett clearly conducted massive amounts of research on his subject, offering both historical context for Bowie's albums and the genesis of nearly every tune, and he’s undyingly passionate about his subject, proudly trumpeting the hits and coolly dissing the misses. For those Bowie-heads who didn't get what they needed from Spitz and Trynka, there are plenty of biographical tidbits sprinkled throughout the book. However, Doggett’s book will have a limited audience.

Well-executed, but for hardcore Bowie fans only.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-202465-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012


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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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