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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Moderator1, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. garrow

    garrow Well-Known Member

    "Countdown 1945" by Chris Wallace (and Mitch Weiss): pretty slight work on a topic of great interest to me. Okay intro to the subject of the Hiroshima bombing, I guess. Draws pretty heavily from A.J. Baime's far superior "the Accidental President."

    The authors did interview two women who lived through the era: one who worked at Oak Ridge and another who survived the Hiroshima bombing. Some photos I had never seen before are included as well as some interesting background info on some of the reporters who covered the events.
    Liut and misterbc like this.
  2. garrow

    garrow Well-Known Member

    Paul Volcker's memoir "Keeping At It." Pretty good (if surprisingly short) filled with DC insider tales I love. Pretty wonky at times but worth the time. Written with Christine Harper of Bloomberg.
    misterbc and Liut like this.
  3. garrow

    garrow Well-Known Member

    "Peril" by Woodward and Costa. Decent read if a bit of an awkward hybrid cutting back and forth between Biden and Trump. And man, does Trump come off as unbearably whiny.

    "Profiles in Courage" by John F. Kennedy (and Ted Sorensen). A slight work of short bios of senators. The Reconstruction chapters are really, really outdated but I learned some interesting info on people I had never read about before like Daniel Webster, Sam Houston, Thomas Hart Benton and George Norris. Interesting that the book has been released so many different times (first in mid-1950s, then in 1961, then in 1964, then in 2003.....) and has spawned a high school essay contest and an annual award from the JFK Presidential Library. It also inspired a one-season TV series on NBC with Tom Bosley as Sen. Norris!

    "Vernon Can Read!" by Vernon Jordan (and Annette Gordon-Reed). Pretty good civil rights memoir. Lots of interesting stories about life in the Jim Crow south. Only downside to the book: it stops in 1981, 20 years before publication. Gordon-Reed would later go on to win a Pulitzer in history.

    "Salmon P. Chase" by Walter Stahr. The author specializes in bios of Lincoln cabinet members and this is his latest work in that subgenre. Very laudatory of a forgotten American. Chase (treasury secretary, Chief Justice) was an early abolitionist and lead an underrated and interesting life.
    OscarMadison and Liut like this.
  4. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    When I reviewed Sticky Fingers, a bio of Jann Wenner released in 2018 I noted the book portrayed Wenner as driven, ambitious, tyrannical, petty, impulsive, drug-addled, sexually conflicted (this is a theme throughout the entire book), a guy who dismissed the internet and MTV and a complete, 100% groupie who was desperate to be as famous as the people he chronicled.

    Wenner's hefty new memoir, Like A Rolling Stone, reinforces all of that over its 554 pages. There is some good stuff about the creation, rise and fall of Rolling Stone (I have been a subscriber since 1978), Hunter S. Thompson and the genesis of many of the magazine's biggest stories but there is relatively little about what made the magazine prominent in the first place: music. Many of its top writers like Greil Marcus, Paul Nelson, Dave Marsh and Rob Sheffield are either mentioned in passing or in the case of Marsh and Sheffield, not mentioned at all. He gets defensive a couple times claiming RS covered rap like no other publication. I don't listen to it or read about it unless it's in RS but I bet those with an interest in the genre would call bullshit on that.

    Instead the book is full of pages detailing his complicated family life and his escapades with his one-named celebrity friends like Mick, Bono (or B, as he calls him; he also accuses Bono of being a chronic name dropper as if this book doesn't have hundreds of examples of the same thing), Jackie and JFK Jr., Barack, Yoko and Sean, Michael (Douglas, not Jackson), Al (Gore), Bruce and Patti, Ahmet (Ertegun) and many more. He blows off Paul Simon as "unpleasant and ungenerous" and the reader wonders if this is because it's true or if it's because Simon didn't want him in his orbit.

    He is obsessed with the Stones but aside from Keef, who shows up occasionally, Charlie Watts and Ron Woods are mentioned exactly once. He attends numerous U2 shows but never mentions there are three other guys in the band.

    Of the two Wenner books, I'd recommend Sticky Fingers, it's a terrific bio.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022
  5. garrow

    garrow Well-Known Member

    I read thr Robert Draper RS book so many times in college, I still have sections of it memorized.
    Huggy likes this.
  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Jann gave his buddy Al Gore such fawning, uncritical coverage in the 2000 election that I canceled my subscription to RS.

    Always enjoy your commentary on rock biographies, Huggy!
    Huggy likes this.
  7. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

  8. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member


    This one took me a while to get through (work, kids, marching band...blah blah), but it was worth it. It looks at how four events - moon landing, Manson murders, Woodstock, Internet - shaped the America we know today. I got bogged down some in the technical stuff relating to the moon landing, but other than that, this was great. I'll admit I got teary-eyed when reading about the landing on the moon and the reactions of all the people who worked behind the scenes to make that happen.

    So, yeah, Joe Bob says check it out.
    I Should Coco and OscarMadison like this.
  9. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member


    I had a fellowship this past summer to dig into the archives of a music library in search of material I could use in my Intro to Mass Comm class, in which I talk about the development of American music. I had sort of heard about Sister Rosetta Tharpe prior to that, but I didn't really know anything about her. Now, I know a lot about her. She was pretty much playing rock 'n' roll before anyone else, but gets no credit in most histories of the genre. My research led me to one pretty thorough anthology of rock 'n' roll, and in the index, there were about 125 mentions of Elvis and his songs and movies. There wasn't a single listing for Tharpe.

    Johnny Cash name-dropped Sister Rosetta during his induction speech at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame; Jerry Lee Lewis played Tharpe's songs during his audition for Sun Records; Chuck Berry said his whole career was an imitation of hers.

    Obviously, Joe Bob says check it out, but even if you don't read the book, give this a listen.

    OscarMadison, garrow and Huggy like this.
  10. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I was at an all-day marching band contest on Saturday without a great deal to do after watching my kids' band march and then making sure pizza got delivered on time, so I knocked out most of this books. The author is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners & Saints in Denver. She talks about her experiences with the often-overlooked types of folks who attend the church and how she was often humbled by their love. She is open about her past of addiction and other non-pastorly kinds of things. I literally LOLed at some of the stories and cried at others.

    Joe Bob says totes check this one out.
  11. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I will look for this, she is a fascinating figure in the history of early rock and roll. There was a great PBS doc on her a while back.
    Flip Wilson likes this.
  12. OscarMadison

    OscarMadison Well-Known Member

    Gayle Wald left me feeling like I'd taken the journey with Sister Tharpe. It's Been Beautiful is well worth a read, too.
    Flip Wilson likes this.
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