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We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  21 reviews
We Are The Clash tells an important part of the story of both The Clash and punk rock. The repercussions of what went down politically both in the USAand UK back then are still very much felt today.”
—Kosmo Vinyl, former manager of The Clash

“The Clash are remembered as much for their blistering music as their gritty yet hopeful message to listeners worldwide. In this first
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Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 3rd 2018 by Akashic Books
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3.67  · 
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  21 reviews


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Alan Taylor
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered
by Mark Andersen, Ralph Heibutzki

An admirable attempt to put the last few years of The Clash into a political and social context, ‘We Are The Clash Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered’ is the story of the band’s final days set against the turmoil of Thatcher’s Britain - the miners’ strike, the Falklands War - and Reagan’s America - the Cold War threat of ‘limited nuclear war in Europe’, Iran-Co
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Jennifer Ozawa
Was very interesting, intertwining part of The Clash's career with political events in Europe and the US. I am currently reading another book about UK politics in the 80s and liked seeing another facet of the topic. I was about to give this book a solid four stars, but it got very preachy and heavy-handed at the end and I had to knock off half a star.
Nick Spacek
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
tied into punk rock, New Wave influences, and coal mining towns is We Are the Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered, by Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutski, from Akashic Books. The story of the “New Clash,” the band which existed following the ouster of original Clash drummer Topper Headon and original guitarist Mick Jones from the Clash.

As the authors state early on, when a massive, career-spanning collection of all the Clash albums was released as a box set called S
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Andy
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: walking
One of the few nice things about getting older is that eventually you'll be around to see someone write a surprising book that goes against some set of firmly-held beliefs you've had about any given cultural topic. "Post-Jones Clash = bad" is one of the first things I learned as a teenager getting into punk rock. I'm not sure the conventional wisdom is totally wrong here, but all the same, this is a great corrective to that stance. It's pretty convincing, despite going a little overboard on tryi ...more
Ken French
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book could have been so much better. As a re-evaluation of the Clash's final two years, it makes its point. The band achieved some great things in that period, especially their busking tour of northern UK cities. Also, the idea that this period in the band's history should be seen in the context of what was going on under Thatcher and Reagan in the UK and US is important.

That doesn't mean, however, that a good third of the book (at least) should be given over to the minutiae of the miners'
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Jay Gabler
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This would have been a great longread, but at book length it's a little much. Still, props to the authors for focusing on a very under-appreciated period in The Clash's history. I reviewed We Are the Clash for The Current.
Nestor Rychtyckyj
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
If the Clash is the only band that matters, this book covers the version of the Clash that didn’t seem to matter. This new addition to the ever-growing Clash library covers the bnad after the firings of Topper Headon and Mick Jones. This new version of the band that included Pete Howard, Vince White and Nick Sheppard along with Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon released one album and quickly vanished from sight. All of the Clash retrospectives barely pay any attention to the Clash Mark II and they a ...more
Lauren
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was so unexpected. As much as it felt like wandering into an argument that I really didn't have an opinion about (how good is the last Clash record?) since I stopped caring about the band @ Sandinista, I loved the juxtaposition of what was happening with the band and British and American politics. I learned a lot and it relit my white hot hatred of Reagan - not that that pilot light ever really goes out.

I also really enjoy a good piece of grassroots history and this is surely it.

Well done
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Edward Sullivan
An interesting look at the The Clash's final days in a political and social context, set against the unrest in Thatcher’s Britain - the miners’ strike, the Falklands War, and Reagan-ear America, the Cold War nuclear threat, and Iran-Contra.
John Mh
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw The Clash in this iteration in 1984, my second-ever concert--and in the company of co-author Heibutzki, as it happens. We drove across half the State of Michigan with friends, singing "London Calling" all the way--and it didn't much matter to me that Mick Jones wasn't in the group that took the state in East Lansing that night. It was The Clash, as far as I was concerned. I was 14, and it was 7th Heaven for me.

When the album "Cut the Crap" was released, however, I found myself among the Un
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Tim Niland
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Clash were though of as "the only band that mattered" in the late seventies and early eighties as their combination of powerful music and commitment to social consciousness captivated fans, and led them from the punk squats and dole queues of London to world tours and increased pressure and scrutiny. By 1982 it was falling apart, they had a hit record in Combat Rock, but it was a difficult birth, with Mick Jones early version of the album the hip-hop influenced Rat Patrol at Fort Bragg scrap ...more
Douglas Lord
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This work focuses on the lesser-known last act of The Clash, their post—Combat Rock period that was not embraced by many fans or critics. It was a historically political period, and the flexing and forces of America's Ronald Reagan and Britain's Margaret Thatcher figure largely in the discussion of one of the most politically motivated bands to become commercially successful. Coverage is specialized, extending considerably beyond mere behind-the-scenes reportage and deeply explores the sociopoli ...more
Ryan Bezerra
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is one very good book, one decent book and one not very good book inside of this pretty good book. The story of The Clash could have been really good and that story comes out in places. In particular, the story of how the band members fought with band managers and of how The Clash went out on a busking tour -- literally playing for money on the street -- in 1985 are pretty fascinating. The authors, however, then mix in the story of the British coal miners' strike in 1984 and 1985 as a prim ...more
Caesar Warrington
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I always thought the Clash lineup featuring Pete Howard, Nick Sheppard and Vince White (aka Neo-Clash or Clash Mk UK) were undeservedly dismissed by the critics and fans. One of the best things about this book, We Are The Clash, is that the authors feel much the same way, celebrating those final years 1983-1986. Authors Mark Andersen and Ralph Heibutzki make the case that this lineup was a creative force that was unfortunately squandered by the likes of Bernie Rhodes and the the insecurities wit ...more
Kevin Burns
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great post mortem on the last days of the greatest band of all time. A richly researched and well told tale of The Clash circa 83-85, told unflinchingly but sympathetically. The moral is clear: even if the result is failure, the striving towards Utopia (of the distinctly socialist variety) is worth the effort.

To that end, the story of the band is paralleled with the political and social triumphs and tragedies (mostly tragedies) in the UK and US at that time. The connections are occasionally made
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Dave Purcell
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
A solid dive into The Clash mk II (v 2.0). The story of the post-Jones/Headon version of The Clash is described well. The interweaving of the parallel history of Reagan/Thatcher (and later, Trump/Brexit) is hamfisted -- with numerous transitions like (paraphrasing) 'Just as The Clash were struggling with ____, England was struggling with Thatcher's policy on ___' -- and I ended up skipping all of those parts after the first couple.

Still a worthy read for Clash fans. Start with Passion Is A Fash
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Gerry LaFemina
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well written account of the Clash 2.0 that puts the band in context of US/UK sociopolitical history. Andersen does a good job of mirroring the microcosm of the band being overseen by charismatic overbearing manager and countries being overseen by charismatic, overbearing president and prime minister respectively. It did make me watch some footage of live performances of the Clash at the time and rethink my beliefs about them. It did not make me think Cut The Crap was a good record.
Derek  Franklin
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating, well-researched and compelling book. Mixing mid-80's political turmoil with the final, chaotic incarnation of post-Mick Jones Clash, the latter often brushed over or completely ignored in official accounts of the band.

Highly recommended even for those who dismissed the 83-86 version of The Clash as "Karaoke Clash". The text seamlessly flicks between The Clash struggling to stay relevant and US and UK politics under Reagan and Thatcher.
Josh
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read. It's an era of the Clash that I didn't know much about. And the mix of politics and music is excellent. This is a must-read for any Clash fan and for anyone interested in social justice.
Jeremy
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant story of the Clash's last stand set against the rise of Reagan and Thatcher's brutal response to the miner's strike. The Clash Mrk II were way better than "Cut the Crap"
Ietrio
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Take the name of a famous band, collect some trivia on them and sprinkle that over Andersen's political agenda. Quite dishonest, but that's the price to pay for freedom.
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Mark Andersen is a punk rock activist and author who lives in Washington D.C.. He was born and raised in rural Montana, and moved to Washington D.C. in 1984 to attend graduate school at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Andersen co-founded of the punk activist organization Positive Force D.C. in 1985. He is the director of the We Are Family Group, a division of Wash
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