Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.00
  • Save: $5.20 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 10 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 25? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus Paperback


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$11.80
$9.30 $2.84
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$24.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$9.95

Frequently Bought Together

Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus + Blues People: Negro Music in White America
Price for both: $22.84

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; First Edition Thus edition (September 3, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679737618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737612
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A wild, lyrical, and anguished autobiography, in which Charles Mingus pays short shrift to the facts but plunges to the very bottom of his psyche, coming up for air only when it pleases him. He takes the reader through his childhood in Watts, his musical education by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker, and his prodigious appetites--intellectual, culinary, and sexual. The book is a jumble, but a glorious one, by a certified American genius.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

The first page tells it: if you like that, read on.
Charles J. Horowitz
The autobiography sort of completes the music, adding a missing half to it, making me understand Mingus the man, and through it understand better Mingus the artist.
Nimrod
Mingus documents his childhood in a most revealing fashion, he was truly a tortured man..surely growing up in Watts had something to do with that.
Stalwart Kreinblaster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Calabrese on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
A word of warning to those thinking of purchasing this book - It is not what you may think. This is not a linear autobiographical work - it is more along the lines of an exagerrated story of the pimp lifestyle and the struggles of a light skinned African American in early to mid-20th century America.

Pay attention to the 'disclaimer' in the beginning of the book:

"Some names in this book have been changed and some of the characters and incidents are fictitious."

Therefore, you must not read this book under the assumption that it is a typical jazz autobiography. I view it as more of an artform, just as I would view the music. I find BENEATH THE UNDERDOG to still be an enjoyable read, however, you must know what you are getting yourself into. The stories are all over the place, including wild stories that involve dozens of women in Mexico as well as his later frustrations concerning his time at the Bellevue mental hospital in New York City. Mingus also writes about his youth in Watts, California, specifically the fact that he did not fit in with the whites because he was black, and he did not fit in with the blacks because he was light -skinned. These issues of alienation spill over into other aspects of his life. Additionally, one could argue that the racism and alientation he suffered along with the fame he experienced are strikingly similar to Miles Davis's frustrations in his autobiographical work, MILES.

The writing style in this book is less than professional, to say the least, but it is still an entertaining read. If you would like to explore a much more solid biographical portrayal of Mingus, allow me to recommend his wife's book, TONIGHT AT NOON or the book, MINGUS: A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY by Brian Priestly.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nimrod on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I didn't really know what to expect when I opened this book. It was the first time that I've opened a musician's autobiography, and I thought it might have an examination of how he developed his style, how did he decide to play the instrument, etc. This book was a good surprise. Mingus is hardly focusing the music, though it is always there, and choosing to tell us about everything that's around it. It seems as if he knows that the reader is probably familiar with his music, and is trying to make us understand WHY his music is as it is, and it's a smart move. The autobiography sort of completes the music, adding a missing half to it, making me understand Mingus the man, and through it understand better Mingus the artist.
The book is written wonderfully, Mingus' writing is brilliant, and the story sweeps you with him and you thank God for it being such a small book or you might've missing a month from reading it rather than a day. Some things are not totally clear, and some things are not explained, but yet, it is a great book, deals with love, crime, blacks and whites, jazz, madness, and the conclusion, which is expressed in the title, that love, for friends, women or for music is the only thing that's really important, and if you dig it, you could find happiness.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By peter breslin on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Look, all you people who are offended, turned off, disappointed by this book, it is a jazz fable, a tall tale, an anthem to an insane period in American history, a wonderful pastiche and motley carnival of fact and fiction, a truly ground-breaking early Post-Modern ride. It is precisely along the lines of the music Mingus made. The moralists and those who sit in judgment are reacting precisely the way Mingus would have found hilarious. If you don't get this book, you don't get Mingus music and you probably don't get a whole lot of other angles on underground American culture, race relations, black male sexuality as mythologized by our prurient pseudo-religious moralizers, drug addiction and its bizarre effect on personal relationships, raw spirituality and the shadow, the mid-century shambles of mental health care, the predicament of the creative artist in a capitalist society, etc., etc., etc. If you want a pallid "jazz biography" read a book by some footnote-addled academic. If you want a real vision of one of the craziest lives of one of the most amazing artists of the 20th century, this book can work.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on April 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is definately a difficult book to examine. It is mainly Mingus' stories about his life, which are often incoherent ramblings and super-exaggerated tales of his sexual prowess. It bothered me, to a certain extent. I always felt like Mingus was trying to work his readers, really get one over on them. But by the time I finished the book, I appreciated it a lot more. In his final chapters, written from the "insane asylum", Mingus seems a lot more introspective, realistic, and less burdened by an overinflated sense of machismo. If you can step back and examine it for what it is, a bizarre and disturbing look at a man's life, it is a very interesting read. Mingus himself probably didn't realize how much about himself he really told us, without even intending.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JG on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Total stream of consciousness...what a life of a Jazz giant..he was larger than his size and knew how to swing with the best...this book should be used as a study in neurosis and literature..not just the story of the underdog..the pain is there so is the awareness of personality..ones own..not as a disorder but as a spirit in motion.

The colorful personalities are real,you won't learn much about Mingus the musician but Mingus the man.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa711d120)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?