I am sympathetic to Gelderloos' overarching argument and thesis, but I think he shoots himself in the foot with forced, overstated, easy arguments ("i...moreI am sympathetic to Gelderloos' overarching argument and thesis, but I think he shoots himself in the foot with forced, overstated, easy arguments ("it is worth noting that so and so's book does not denounce killing puppies") and peppered meaningless insults (eg: "the authoritarian Muslim Brotherhood" --thanks bro, we don't need your cheap guidance on how to feel about them, especially when you make no effort to explain and the argument is just as forceful without the editorial adjective).
My eventual review of this book (since I am too far behind the reading group to bring up these issues in person to comrades) will basically be a list of dumb shit Gelderloos says. And this despite my total agreement with his overall thesis. Maybe I'll make it into the appendix of the next book, har har har.(less)
I read Our Band Could Be Your Life at a time when some of these bands were my life. I read and can recall reading half of the book, based on what was...moreI read Our Band Could Be Your Life at a time when some of these bands were my life. I read and can recall reading half of the book, based on what was currently playing out of my computer speakers. I was a punk rock kid and my much hipper and much older brother (who only listened to bands in the second half of the book) let me borrow it to read about Black Flag, Minor Threat, Minutemen, Mission of Burma, Replacements, and then, begrudgingly, Fugazi (who I had thought at the time took themselves too seriously, let alone how serious their pompous fans took them). This book is one of the best of its kind: punk memoir, ethnography and history.
Music at the time that I read this book was necessary to my life, and it makes sense that I would want to read about its vital importance, especially DIY possibilities. I was in love with punk rock, and it consumed me. Now I would sooner read anything else. DIY naivete bores the shit out of me (in the era where Justin Bieber was found on Youtube, and every shithead has a stupid blog), and punk holds very little allure, except as nostalgia and defiant posture. Alas. These bands were my life. And then I found a life outside of them.(less)
It should be known by all potential readers that this is a book *about* African History, not an *African History Book.* It is an introduction to how A...moreIt should be known by all potential readers that this is a book *about* African History, not an *African History Book.* It is an introduction to how African History is created and the way that the field in turn both creates and complicates the existence of Africa, as both a continent and a nation within which exist many, many other nations.
It necessarily therefore deals with slavery, decolonization, nation-building, and the formation of people to be recognized on the World Stage.
If there was one phrase that could sum up the majority of its pages, it would be "well, it's more complicated than that..." Enduring myths and historical frameworks about Africa are laid out and debunked one by one in roughly this order: Africa is a timeless continent with no history, Africa is a waste when left to its own devices, Africa is a poor and helpless victim of Empire, Africa was a place of powerful ancient states that lost its way, Africa is a decolonizing utopia, Africa is a corrupt quagmire.
It is hard to fault the authors for my disappointment given the format (a sample of the field in question given over <150 pages), and the actual topic of historiography rather than history.(less)
Right off the bat I feel I have to address a grating story thread upholding virginity as the ultimate virtue (yuck), and culminating in an infuriating...moreRight off the bat I feel I have to address a grating story thread upholding virginity as the ultimate virtue (yuck), and culminating in an infuriating and disgusting scene of "nice guy" male supremacy and rape culture. From as skilled a writer and empathetic a storyteller, it is fucking disappointing to read a "friend zone" revenge fantasy.
That said, I was hooked to the larger story and overall enjoyed it. The descriptions of surgeries, hospitals and sickness are written by and for those who have experienced them, and it's hard for me to imagine people outside of medicine/nursing not getting lost in these. The epic description of a postpartum hemorrhage brought back intense memories of my clinical rotation in obstetrics, so much that I recalled vividly the smell of childbirth and blood. This evocation is what hooked me to the story. Are there more books that fit into the genre of third world medical drama? I'm hungry for more.(less)
A great and refreshing reminder, keeping me grounded, relevant, inspired, and thinking. Chock full of brilliant thought provoking knots. Relevant to r...moreA great and refreshing reminder, keeping me grounded, relevant, inspired, and thinking. Chock full of brilliant thought provoking knots. Relevant to razor's edge of critical academia and to the children who grow up in refugee camps without any formal education whatsoever.(less)