New Books Network

Carolyn Burke, “No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf” (Knopf, 2011)
Edith Piaf’s story is rife with drama. The daughter of an acrobat and a singer, she was the first French superstar and sang with wild abandon in a voice that rivaled Judy Garland’s. And yet, so often Piaf’s high-spirits are used against her and her life is made to fit... Read More
Andy Neill, “Had Me a Real Good Time: Faces Before, During, and After” (Omnibus, 2011)
In Had Me a Real Good Time: Faces Before, During, and After (Omnibus 2011) Andy Neill provides a detailed account of Faces, one of the most popular and critically acclaimed groups of the early seventies. Neill begins his story with biographies of those who would become Faces including, of course,... Read More
Kevin Avery, “Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson” (Fantagraphics, 2011)
Paul Nelson, the Rolling Stone writer and Mercury Records A & R guy who signed the New York Dolls, is quoted in Kevin Avery‘s Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson (Fantagraphics, 2011) as saying, “I’ve always led my life like it was a work of... Read More
Alice Bag, “Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story” (Feral House, 2011)
I saw “The Decline of Western Civilization,” Penelope Spheeris’s film documenting the late seventies punk scene in Los Angeles, when it was first released in 1981/82. Performances by the “popular” bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, X, and Fear were instantly memorable. I’ve seen the movie many times since,... Read More
Roberto Avant-Mier, “Rock the Nation:  Latin/o Identites and the Latin Rock Diaspora” (Continuum, 2010)
In Rock the Nation: Latin/o Identites and the Latin Rock Diaspora (Continuum, 2010), Roberto Avant-Mier challenges the traditional historical notion of rock and roll and rock being the result of the converging of white and African-American musics only. Instead, he argues, the history of rock is replete with Latin/o culture.... Read More
Sean Wilentz, “Bob Dylan in America” (Doubleday, 2010)
From carrier of the folk torch to electric rebel, lyrical genius to literary thief, white-faced minstrel to born-again Christian-Jewish singer of Christmas carols, Bob Dylan is an enigmatic giant of American popular music. In Bob Dylan in America (Doubleday, 2010), historian Sean Wilentz presents Dylan as an artist deeply rooted... Read More
Lester K. Spence, “Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics” (University of Minnesota Press, 2011)
Hip-hop has, within a short time span, moved from a free-flowing expression of urban youth to a global–and highly marketable–musical genre. Its influence in culture, fashion, film, and music is ubiquitous, and theories about hip-hop’s importance in the political sphere abound. But what, exactly, is the relationship between hip-hop and... Read More