Amazing, kaleidoscopic musical and cultural history of Anglo-American popular music from the 50s through the 2000s, seen through British eyes. While mAmazing, kaleidoscopic musical and cultural history of Anglo-American popular music from the 50s through the 2000s, seen through British eyes. While my sense of aesthetics is similar to that of the author, there are plenty of places where we diverge, which makes his take all the more interesting. It also made me realize that those genres and artists that are most important to me personally, or to my friends (or to my geographic and age-based cohort), sometimes register only as a blip in the "big picture" of pop music. My favorites may be incredibly important to me, but that's no guarantee that they had any influence in music beyond a "niche" audience or a limited 5-year-period of history....more
If it weren't for Trollope's delightful writing style, I would have given this novel only two stars. Trite plot, one-dimensional characters, uninteresIf it weren't for Trollope's delightful writing style, I would have given this novel only two stars. Trite plot, one-dimensional characters, uninteresting surroundings do not a great story make. The one aspect of the work that could have been interesting---the political, theological, and ideological rivalry in 1840s England between the evangelical, pietist "new men" of the Church of England and the old-guard, "high Church" establishment ---is employed as a mere factum that doesn't seem to inform the character or motivation of the various antagonists as much as it is a mere plot device used to provide unilluminating illustrations of intrigue and infighting that might arise between any two factions in social competition with each other. In other words, it doesn't provide an insight into the actual reasons why the new men, represented by Obadiah Slope, sought to challenge the old guard, represented by Dr. Grantly.
Brilliant retelling of US political and social history during the period from 1972 to 1976. Those were the height of my teen years (age 14-18). I wasBrilliant retelling of US political and social history during the period from 1972 to 1976. Those were the height of my teen years (age 14-18). I was very aware and active politically during those years, and I think that Perlstein absolutely nails the zeitgeist, particularly the split between the "suspicious" types like myself, and the mythologizers of American innocence and unblemished goodness, who found their apotheosis in Ronald Reagan. The book also works quite well as a guide to the 1976 presidential nominating process, akin to excellent books such as Hodgson's An American Melodrama, which does the same for the 1968 presidential election.
I only have one minor factual dispute with Perlstein. Several times, he speaks of the process by which the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed Congress by the necessary two-thirds majorities in both houses, failed to become part of the Constitution when it fell short of the requisite number of ratifications by state legislatures. At one point, he claims that the amendment needed two thirds of the state legislatures to ratify it before it became law; actually, amendments to the Constitution approved by the necessary supermajorities in the U.S. House and Senate require three fourths of the states for ratification, which is why the ERA needed 38 states for ratification, not 34. Moreover, he alludes several times to the allegedly surprising failure of New York and New Jersey to ratify the amendment. This is simply incorrect; the New Jersey Legislature ratified the amendment on April 17, 1972, and the New York legislature ratified it on May 18, 1972. Perlstein conflates the 1975 defeat at the polls of the proposed equal rights amendment to the New York State Constitution with the requirements for New York's ratification of a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (The New York State Constitution provides that amendments to the State Constitution must be passed by two consecutive legislatures and approved by the voters of the State in a subsequent referendum, while the U.S. Constitution requires ratification, by three fourths of the state legislatures, of an amendment duly approved by Congress. The voters of New York State had the opportunity to cast a ballot in 1975 only because the State legislature approved the proposed equal rights amendment to the State Constitution in two consecutive sessions).
Other than that caveat, this book really brought me back to those mixed-up times....more
This is a good, concise monograph for laypersons interested in the political and legal history of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which aThis is a good, concise monograph for laypersons interested in the political and legal history of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which addresses weapons and arms. It is also a shot across the bow (pun intended) at the theory of "originalism" in constitutional interpretation propounded by US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and other political conservatives. (Leonard Levy probably wrote the best critique of that approach). The book is well written and argued, even if I did wince at malapropisms such as "comprised of" and phrases such as "to parse the costs and benefits of greater regulation."...more
God-awful, too-cute-for-words writing, compounded by confusing text, out-of-context narrative, and plenty of factual errors. I learned at p 105, for iGod-awful, too-cute-for-words writing, compounded by confusing text, out-of-context narrative, and plenty of factual errors. I learned at p 105, for instance, that John Garfield became president of the United States in 1881(which, if true, meant that he was the first Jewish president of the US, and the first actor to become president, besting Ronald Reagan by 100 years!) Methinks the author meant James Garfield, but who's to know? The name "Nationals" or "Nats" is used in the text to refer to, variously, the old Washington Senators, the New York Giants (sometimes referred to as the Stonehams), the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies, or players in the National League generally---and this in a book that was written several years prior to the Montreal Expos' transformation into the current Washington Nationals. It's up to you, dear reader, to figure out which "Nationals" is which. The author has gone deep into his Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, included some clever quotation in almost every section (and sometimes in every paragraph), and tried, with little success, to stretch the meaning of the quote so as to have it seem relevant to some incident in baseball history. Well, at least the pictures were nice....more