There's a fundamental problem with Michael Azerrad's book. Namely, what is the subject matter of his study, the cultural scene of the times, or the muThere's a fundamental problem with Michael Azerrad's book. Namely, what is the subject matter of his study, the cultural scene of the times, or the music of the indie revolution? Those readers who think this book is about the latter need to be warned. A heck of a lot of the best indie bands from the 1980s aren't even mentioned here, and you need to be told this.
So if you're going to trot eagerly off to Youtube to look up these bands with the idea of listening to some great music, I have some bad news for you. As someone who was listening to a lot of great indie rock during this era, I can assure you that most of the bands profiled in this book just plain suck.
There has always been a fundamental distinction between two types of bands, namely the Musicians and the Scenesters. The Musicians have always put their music first. The Scenesters, by contrast, have another goal entirely. For the latter, being thought cool was always more important than having music that was actually any good. But the Scenesters get the good press--indeed, they get nearly all the press, period. Why? Because people who are socially adept and who have a lot of attitude and grit make good copy. Scenesters impress nerdy-wordy types who become rock critics and writers. Yet in real life, it's the awkward introverts who make most of the best music, and they do it by the hard and unglamourous work of writing a lot of songs in their bedroom and by practicing a lot with their bands, not by slaying the dragons of the industry. Daring and confident people are often too shallow to have any artistic depths worth the plumbing.
Out of all the bands in this book, only three of them are musically first-rate, namely The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr, and somewhat patchily, Husker Du. This is a basic truth that was accepted among indie rock fans back in the 80s, but this fact is going to be new to young people who are just learning about this era with only Azerrad as a guide.
Read this book only as a cultural study. If you want to learn more about the rest of the high-quality indie rock of this era, you're going to have to delve a lot deeper than Azerrad does.
This is a memoir by William Alcott, a physician who practiced in the first half of the 1800s, in which he confesses that not only did the learned doctThis is a memoir by William Alcott, a physician who practiced in the first half of the 1800s, in which he confesses that not only did the learned doctors of his time not have a clue what they were doing, they inflicted much actual harm and killed plenty of their patients. He also records his endless fights with quacks who took advantage of the weak-minded and gullible. It's an interesting piece of writing about a disgraceful era in the history of medicine.
The author was a second cousin (and family friend) of Amos Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott. William Alcott wrote over a hundred books about various subjects, and he was a determined promoter of modern advances in everyday living....more
I thought this was a worthwhile read, but frankly, the author could have left out all the parts about Yale and Aaronsohn, who came across as unnecessaI thought this was a worthwhile read, but frankly, the author could have left out all the parts about Yale and Aaronsohn, who came across as unnecessary to the story. Prufer was unnecessary too, but at least he provided some contrast. The heart of the book was about Lawrence, and it should have stayed there.
Anyone who thinks the carving up of the Middle East in the wake of WWI was a disaster needs to realize it was inevitable once the Ottoman Empire fell. Revolts spread in every direction against Ottoman rule because the Turks were appallingly cruel to every ethnic group that wasn't Turkish. The Arabs, Jews, Armenians, etc., simply loathed the Turks to the core and were absolutely fed up with them. ...more