As the comprehensive biography of one rock music’s true legends, Redemption Song is long overdue. Salewicz, a respected British music journalist with a long Joe Strummer/Clash association, offers the insider’s view of this brilliant and complex punk figurehead. Strummer was the John Lennon for Generation X and he gets fitting, comprehensive treatment here. The first definitive Strummer biography, it’s not likely to be the last with a personage this important in popular music history.
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Who hasn’t gazed around them, now and then, and fantisized the sudden demise of the entire human race? Whether impelled by a very foul mood—or the simple, apocolyptic speculation that forges every myth, fantasy, and society-binding religion—virtually every artistic expression has tangled with this concept, and we all know it at a primal level. Ironically, although Weisman will scare you enough to cause loss of sleep, at times, the overwhelming message is hope. One leaves this book with a greater appreciation for the preciousness of this world, and a deep desire to, in one’s own little way, leave the Earth in a little bit better shape, before one leaves it for good. Give this to the budding environmentalist, and the one who could use a bit of a nudge in that direction.
The second in a series of daily meditations for the mind, this simple book of intellectual exercise (average one page of reading per day) is designed to revive the reader’s memory and provide fresh insights into American history. As the title implies, the concept is modeled after books of prayer and inspiration. Indeed, each day of the week for each reading is marked; a red ribbon is affixed to the spine for a bookmark; and the pages are slightly yellowed, with rough edges—all that’s needed is a leather cover and the aesthetics of a book for the “devout” would be complete. It’s a slightly pretentious approach, yes, but the entries of seven interspersed fields of knowledge are not at all patronizing or annoying, like so many of the “books for dummies” out there. This truly will revive the historically inclined mind with entries such as a refresher on Abigail Adams (Politics & Leadership), a refresh on the First Great (Rights & Reform) a brief biography of Carnegie Steel and his empire (Building America), and an interesting bit of trivia about Humphrey Bogart (Arts).
He may as well have thrown in a slice of apple pie and a John Deere tractor—Sheeler’s book is about as American as baseball. His characters exude a down-home goodness, eschewing corporate jobs and urban lifestyles in favor of small towns and agriculture. To the modern, career-driven American, these “ordinary” people may not seem to have much to offer, though Sheeler somehow manages to convince even the most die-hard city-dweller that there is something of great worth in these pages.
The South isn’t just the birthplace of American music, it’s also home to some of America’s greatest food. Edge offers something compelling and different from standard cookbook fare in this travelogue/ social history/ restaurant guide. Traversing all the most delectable corners of Dixie, Edge highlights the best restaurants in the South and provides tips on cooking many favorites. Very much in the tradition of classic Southern storytelling, he also manages to weave the cultural history of the region while spinning his tales.