Indispensable for understanding the culture of the ’60s and the music that was at its heart.

A memoir by one of the founders of rock criticism, on the era that gave him his vocation and ultimately broke his heart.

Goldstein (Homocons: The Rise of the Gay Right, 2003, etc.) whose work in the Village Voice of the 1960s showed that it was possible to write serious criticism of the music of his generation, grew up in the Bronx as a nerdy kid who would sneak out of his neighborhood with a pair of sandals hidden in a bag so the neighborhood toughs wouldn’t beat him up. But his true passion was early rock ’n’ roll, doo-wop and the girl groups. He also became aware of the civil rights movement and took part in the 1963 March on Washington. Acquaintance with the likes of Lou Reed and Andy Warhol, combined with a Columbia journalism degree, led to a job writing about music and pop culture for the Voice. The cachet of the Voice got him into the hotel rooms of every major rock star of the era. While many treated him as just another newspaperman, he made friends with others, including Janis Joplin. Goldstein was also keeping his hand in the radical political scene, ultimately making a trip to the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. That marked the beginning of his disillusion with the ideals of his generation, as the radical resistance to the nomination of Hubert Humphrey culminated in the election of Richard Nixon. A series of deaths in the rock world—most devastating to Goldstein, that of Joplin—depressed him further. He felt the machinery of hype had taken the music away from those who loved it. Writer’s block set in, along with a crisis of identity that led him to recast himself as a gay rights advocate. Goldstein gives a deeply felt and largely compelling portrait of an age that indelibly marked everyone who took part in it.

Indispensable for understanding the culture of the ’60s and the music that was at its heart.

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62040-887-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014


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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