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  • Book Reports: A Music Critic on His First Love, Which Was Reading

    Pages: 416
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
  • Cloth: $104.95 - Not In Stock
  • Paperback: $28.95 - Not In Stock
  • Introduction  1
    I. Collectibles
    The Informer: John Leonard's When the Kissing Had to Stop  11
    Advertisements for Everybody Else: Jonathan Lethem's The Ecstasy of Influence  14
    Democratic Vistas: Dave Hickey's Air Guitar  17
    II. From Blackface Minstrelsy to Track-and-Hook
    In Search of Jim Crow: Why Postmodern Minstrelsy Studies Matter  23
    The Old Ethiopians at Home: Ken Emerson's Doo-Dah!  40
    Before the Blues: David Wondrich's Stomp and Swerve  43
    Rhythms of the Universe: Ned Sublette's Cuba and Its Music  46
    Black Melting Pot: David B. Coplan's In Township Tonight!  49
    Bwana-Acolyte in the Favor Bank: Banning Eyre's In Griot Time  56
    In the Crucible of the Party: Charles and Angelilki Keil's Bright Balkan Morning  59
    Defining the Folk: Benjamin Filene's Romancing the Folk  64
    Folking Around: David Hajdu's Positively 4th Street  67
    Punk Lives: Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me  70
    Biography of a Corporation: Nelson George's Where Did Our Love Go?  72
    Hip-Hop Faces the World: Steven Hager's Hip Hop; David Toop's The Rap Attack; and Nelson George, Sally Banes, Susan Flinker, and Patty Romanowski's Fresh  75
    Making Out Like Gangsters: Preston Lauterbach's The Chitlin' Circuit, Dan Charnas's The Big Payback, Ice-T's Ice, and Tommy James's Me, the Mob, and Music  80
    Money Isn't Everything: Fred Goodman's The Mansion on the Hill  86
    Mapping the Earworm's Genome: John Seabrook's The Song Machine  89
    III. Critical Practice
    Beyond the Symphonic Quest: Susan McClary's Feminine Endings  97
    All the Tune Family: Peter van der Merwe's Origins of the Popular Style  100
    Bel Cantos: Henry Pleasant's The Great American Popular Singers  102
    The Country and the City: Charlie Gillett's The Sound of the City  109
    Reflections of an Aging Rock Critic: Jon Landau's It's Too Late to Stop Now  115
    Pioneer Days: Kevin Avery's Everything Is an Afterthought and Nona Willis Aronowitz's (ed.) Out of the Vinyl Deeps  117
    Impolite Discourse: Jim Derogatis's Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer's A Whore Jus Like the Rest, and Nick Tosches's The Nick Torches Reader  123
    Journalism and/or Criticism and/or Musicology and/or Sociology (and/or Writing): Simon Firth  129
    Serious Music: Robert Walser's Running With the Devil  137
    Fifteen Minutes of . . . : William York's Who's Who in Rock Music  139
    The Fanzine Worldview, Alphabetized: Ira A. Robbins's (ed.) Trouser Press Guide to New Wave Records  140
    Awesome: Simon Reynolds's Blissed Out  143
    Ingenuousness Lost: James Miller's Flowers in the Dustbin  147
    Rock Criticism Lives: Jessica Hopper's The Fist Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic  151
    Emo Meets Trayvon Martin: Hanif Abdurraquib's They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us  156
    IV. Lives in Music Inside and Out
    Great Book of Fire: Nick Tosches's Hellfire and Robert Palmer's Jerry Lee Lewis Rocks!  163
    That Bad Man, Tough Old Huddie Ledbetter: Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell's The Life and Legend of Leadbelly  169
    The Impenetrable Heroism of Sam Cooke: Peter Guralnick's Dream Boogie  171
    Bobby and Dave: Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One and Dave Van Ronk's The Mayor of MacDougal Street  178
    Tell All: Ed Sanders's Fug You and Samuel R. Delany's The Motion of Light in Water  180
    King of the Thrillseekers: Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp  185
    Lives Saved, Lives Lost: Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl and Patti Smith's M Train  189
    The Cynic and the Bloke: Rod Stewart's Rod: The Autobiography and Donald Fagen's Eminent Hipsters  194
    His Own Shaman: RJ Smith's The One  199
    Spotlight on the Queen: David Ritz's Respect  201
    The Realist Thing You've Ever Seen: Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run  205
    V. Fictions
    Writing for the People: George Orwell's 1984  213
    A Classic Illustrated: R. Crumb's The Book of Genesis  217
    The Hippie Grows Older: Richard Brautigan's Sombrero Fallout  222
    Comic Gurdjieffianism You Can Masturbate To: Marco Vassis' Mind Blower  224
    Porn Yesterday: Walter Kendrick's The Secret Museum  225
    What Pretentious White Men Are Good For: Robert Coover's Gerald's Party  230
    Impoverished How, Exactly? Roddy Doyle's The Woman Who Walked into Doors  236
    Sustainable Romance: Norman Rush's Mortals  237
    Derrnig-Do Scrapping By: Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue  240
    Futures by the Dozen: Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire  245
    YA Poet of the Massa Woods: Sandra Newman's The Country of Ice Cream Star  248
    A Darker Shade of Noir: The Indefatigable Walter Mosley  252
    VI. Bohemia Meets Hegemony
    Épatant le Bourgeoisie: Jerrold Seigel's Bohemian Paris and T. J. Clark's The Painting of Modern Life  263
    The Village People: Christine Stansell's American Moderns  278
    A Slender Hope for Salvation: Charles Reich's The Greening of America  280
    The Lumpenhippie Guru: Ed Sanders's The Family  285
    Strait Are the Gates: Morris Dickstein's Gates of Eden  289
    The Little Counterculture That Could: Carol Brightman's Sweet Chaos  293
    The Pop-Boho Connection, Narrativized: Bernard F. Gendron's Between Montmarte and the Mudd Club  297
    Cursed and Sainted Seekers of the Sexual Century: John Heidenry's What Wild Ecstasy  301
    Bohemias Lost and Found: Ross Wetzsteon's Republic of Dreams, Richard Kostelanetz's SoHo, and Richard Lloyd's Neo-Bohemia  304
    Autobiography of a Pain in the Neck: Meredith Maran's What It's Like to Live Now  309
    VII. Culture Meets Capital
    Twentieth Century Limited: Marshall Berman's All That Is Solid Melts into Air  315
    Dialectical Cricket: C. L. R. James's Beyond a Boundary  320
    Radical Pluralist: Andrew Ross's No Respect  323
    Inside the Prosex Wars: Nadine Strossen's Defending Pornography, Joanna Frueh's Eroctic Faculties, and Lara Kipnis's Bound and Gagged  327
    Growing Up Kept Down: William Finnegan's Cold New World  331
    Jesus Plus the Capitalist Order: Jeff Sharlet's The Family  334
    Dark Night of the Quants: Ten Books About the Financial Crisis  338
    They Bet Your Life: Four Books About Hedge Funds  345
    Living in a Material World: Raymond Williams's Long Revolution  350
    With a God on His Side: Terry Eagleton's Culture and the Death of God, Culture, and Materialism  369
    My Friend Marshall: Marshall Berman's Modernism in the Streets  374
  • “Robert Christgau, writing on books, is enthralling and energetic, and as persuasive and argument-sparking as he is on records. He sees them both as entrances into a thousand subject matters, but also as formal objects—that's to say, books. His stock is his comprehensive confidence, no matter the arena; so often, as declaring The Country and the City to be Raymond Williams' essential book—he's stunningly right. Book Reports made me glance at my shelf longingly where a run of compilations of his 'Consumer Guides: Books of the '70s, '80s, '90s' (and beyond) might sit, but alas. If we're not that lucky, we're lucky enough to have this generous compendium of his longer-form stuff.” — Jonathan Lethem

    "You hope any book you read would be insightful, funny, rude, deeply researched, and filled with humanity. Well most books don't have those qualities, but all of Robert Christgau's book reviews do." — Nelson George

    “Robert Christgau writes with an infectious energy and applies his unflagging intellectual curiosity to an unpredictable array of subjects. His critical sensibility is so developed that the book generates its own interest, as the reader will want to know how this sensibility plays itself out over the course of this unfailingly interesting book.” — Greil Marcus

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  • Description

    In this generous collection of book reviews and literary essays, legendary Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau showcases the passion that made him a critic as much as pop music itself—his love for the written word. Many selections address music from blackface minstrelsy to punk and hip hop, artists from Lead Belly to Patti Smith, and fellow critics from Ellen Willis and Lester Bangs to Nelson George and Jessica Hopper. But Book Reports also teases out the popular in the Bible and 1984 as well as pornography and science fiction, and analyzes at length the cultural theory of Raymond Williams, the detective novels of Walter Mosley, the history of bohemia, and the 2008 financial crisis. It establishes Christgau as not just the Dean of American Rock Critics, but one of America's most insightful cultural critics as well.

    About The Author(s)

    Robert Christgau wrote for and edited at The Village Voice from 1969 to 2006 and currently contributes a weekly record column at Noisey. His books include Is It Still Good to Ya?: Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967–2017, also published by Duke University Press, and Going into the City: Portrait of the Critic as a Young Man.
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