PositiveLibrary JournalStadler (English, Haverford Coll.; Troubling Minds) delves into the Woody Guthrie archives to uncover the motivations behind the singer-songwriter’s beliefs and actions. Rather than relying on the mythic image of Guthrie (1912–67) as a freewheeling, loner hobo who courageously championed the dispossessed, he discovers a vulnerable, somewhat fragile man ... Throughout, Stadler casts Guthrie as a bridge between the Communist-dominated old left and new left cultural politics ... Though sometimes unable to explain the chasm between Guthrie’s words and actions, the author offers a well-researched addition to the Guthrie bibliography for general readers that complements Joe Klein’s standard biography, Woody Guthrie: A Life.
Sandra B. Tooze
PositiveLibrary JournalThis meticulously researched book offers music fans a thorough introduction and adds to current material, including Helm’s autobiography This Wheel’s on Fire, Barney Hoskyns’s Across the Great Divide, and the film Ain’t in It for My Health.
MixedLibrary JournalThough at times effectively making a direct connection between the music and its settings, for the most part, the author isn’t as successful. He describes songs that offer stilted views of issues such as race and songs by Porter, Gershwin, and Berlin that ignored major events including the Great Depression to create escapist fantasies ... While Kapilow doesn’t quite make his case, he has written an engaging, informative, and provocative book that is recommended for fans of Broadway musicals.
MixedLibrary Journal... illustrates Gershwin’s connection to early jazz and the composer’s attempt to bridge classical and popular music ... hough this meticulously researched volume unearths a few fresh facts, Crawford treads little new ground in retelling the story of this iconic American composer. For anyone unfamiliar with previous Gershwin biographies, such as Howard Pollack’s in-depth George Gershwin.
PositiveLibrary JournalHaving interviewed the Beatles and their coterie since the Sixties, Connolly contributes several new nuggets about the complex rock icon ... Writing in a breezy style, the author adds to the already substantial Lennon literature ... An intriguing option for those unfamiliar with the highly imaginative but self-destructive Beatle.