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All Shook Up: Music, Passion, and Politics Hardcover – December 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Refreshing...may well appeal to both critics and defenders of pop music." -- Publishers Weekly, January 8, 2001

"The great virtue of 'All Shook Up' is its unfashionable insistence that music be taken seriously...." -- The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2001

From the Publisher

CARSON HOLLOWAY, one of the new generation of cultural critics that includes writers such as Jedediah Purdy and Wendy Shalit, teaches political science at Concord College in West Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Spence Publishing Company (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890626333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890626334
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,161,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Haddon on December 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the early 1970s amidst the Indian gurus at the Whole Earth Festival at the University of California Davis, I met a young American who admired Ravi Shakar and was, not surprisingly, studying the sitar. He assured me that all of the ragas composed by traditional Indian musicians were designed to enhance or induce spiritual states. Thus, for the Hindu musical tradition of the ragas, the concept that instrumental music affects the human mind and spirit is a basic presupposition. Indeed, the primary purpose of the music is not entertainment but Hindu spiritual development.

Nevertheless, it seems that in the modern West, most Christians and secularists alike reject with asperity this elementary insight that the most influential message of music is found in its rhythm, melody and harmony rather than in its lyrics. Therefore, we owe a debt of gratitude to Carson Holloway for this groundbreaking recovery of the role of music in the moral education of human beings. He contrasts the deep concern with music as a moral force of the ancients represented by Plato and Aristotle and of certain moderns such as Rousseau and Nietzsche with the lack of such interest of other moderns such as Hobbes and Locke.

Holloway acknowledges Allan Bloom's recognition of the anti-philosohical influence of rock music but finds Bloom's analysis wanting. I think that Holloway succeeds in advancing a rational understanding of the subject. Unfortunately, an objective appraisal of his work is difficult for many because music lies on the fault line of the culture war between those who see the Judeo-Christian ethic as corresponding to the natural order of creation and those whose ethic denies the existence of such an order in favor of human autonomy.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Clifford Angell Bates on December 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Holloway's book is a wonderful introduction to what the history of western political philosophy says about the role of music in shaping people's character. The belief that music has a role in forming the character has always been a controversal stance, starting with Plato, and remains one still today. One only has to be reminded of Allan Bloom's chapter on Rock music and the reaction that section provoked shows how powerful this theme remains today. Liberals (ancient and modern, capitalist or not) don't like the idea that music plays a role in character formation.. and what Holloway's book does shows the reader what the big stars of western philosophy has to say on this subject. Holloways argues by ignoring the power of music in the formation of character of the young especially, contemporary society and the music it has bread.. has lead to extremes both in music and people's character.. and both for the worse.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason W. Atwell on April 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Holloway effectively illustrates the assertions of notable philosphers concerning the importance of music in society, with particular reference to the rhythm and tone of the music. Philosophers ranging Aristotle to Rousseau understood the importance of music in arousing or pacifying emotions. Holloway offers a very convincing illustration of the effects of music upon the characters of individuals. Music is filled with explicit language, verbal images of gratuituous sexual conduct, and the pleasurable experiences of narcotic abuses. In being over-exposed to this kind of music, the current generation has become accustomed to expecting extreme methods of gratifying oneself. This over-gratification has lead to an experimentation with new methods of gratification, more extreme and effective than the preceding methods. Holloway doesn't really discuss what should be done to remedy this trend nor does he suggest censorship. Also, the book was lacking a global philosophical approach as asian philosophical teachings concerning music were omitted from the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grump on October 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"All Shook Up" is an excellent introduction to the important roll music plays in forming societies. The author carefully progresses from Socrates to Nietzsche to show the significance of both the differences and similarities in their philosophies on music. He makes a strong case that the effects of music on society are more significant than even the "conservative moralizers" imagine.
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