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Chimes of Freedom Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: New Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156584825X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565848252
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This intelligent analysis examines the enigmatic rock icon's musical development within the context of the political turbulence of the 1960s. Marqusee, who turned 14 in 1967, knows the territory: he used the same historical format to re-examine another American hero in Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties. He charts Dylan's rapid transformations-from reluctant protest singer to Newport Folk Festival "dandy," then introverted pragmatist behind The Basement Tapes-alongside the decade's defining events: the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, Woodstock. "Few ages of social change have been as well served artistically as the American sixties were by Dylan," he writes. Marqusee enlivens his sometimes dry analysis with song lyrics, references to liner notes and previously published interviews with Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger and other notable figures of the decade. He briefly explores the impact of artists like Woody Guthrie, Allen Ginsberg and Curtis Mayfield on Dylan, and explores well-documented examples of Dylan's longtime use of literature, folklore, newspaper articles, fragments of dialogue, the Bible and pieces of history in his songs. "He was a magpie," Marqusee writes. "Even a casual acquaintance with Eliot, cummings, the French symbolists, and the surrealists left traces in his work." While the book never lapses into obsequiousness and does not require an intimate familiarity with Dylan's work to make sense, its academic tone might make it a challenge to expand its readership much beyond Dylan's core fan base and to differentiate it from the sea of other Dylan-inspired tomes on the shelves.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


A brilliant history... anaylses Dylan's finger-pointing songs with clinical precision. -- Uncut

A fascinating and detailed analysis... his narrative [has] freshness, vigour and purpose. -- Times Literary Supplement

A remarkable reflection on the sixties. -- Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz

A superbly constructed, researched and written book that captivates you from the opening pages. -- Andrew Muir, Judas!

An absolute joy to read. Chimes of Freedom is both compelling and full of original insight. -- Derek Barker, Isis

Buy this now...Marqusee proves an able explainer of the tether between [the songs] and their era. -- Rolling Stone

Complex yet accessible, this is a fascinating and entertaining book, enjoyable for the casual listener and the hardcore fan alike. -- What's On UK

Fascinating and extremely well-written. -- BBC Radio London

Writing that manages simultaneously to rise to the level of it subject and respectfully shake it to its roots. -- American History

More About the Author

Mike Marqusee was born in New York City in 1953, emigrated to Britain in 1971 and has now lived in London for more than 35 years.

Among his eight published books are the prize-winning 'Anyone But England: an outsider looks at English cricket' (first published in 1994, revised and expanded 2005), 'War Minus the Shooting: a Journey through South Asia during cricket's World Cup'(1996), 'Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties' (1999), 'Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s' (first published 2003, revised and expanded 2005), 'If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew' (2008) and 'Saved by a Wandering Mind: Poems' (2009).

In addition to his writing, Mike has been active for several decades in numerous campaigns for social justice. In the early 80s he was a youth worker and trade union activist. For twenty years he was an active member of the Labour Party, and a long-time editor of and contributor to Labour Briefing. In 1995, he helped set up Hit Racism for Six, the campaign against racism in cricket. After leaving the Labour party in 2000, he helped establish both the Stop the War Coalition and Iraq Occupation Focus. On February 15, 2003, he was a speaker at the the half million strong anti-war demonstration in New York City. He is currently a member of the NUJ, and lives in Hackney with his partner Liz Davies.

As well as his books, Mike has published articles on a wide variety of topics in (among others): The Guardian, The Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Observer, London Review of Books, Index on Censorship, BBC History Magazine, New Left Review, Red Pepper (in UK), The Nation, Colorlines (in USA), The Hindu, India Today, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Frontline, Outlook (in India).

Mike has also published longer articles and essays in a number of book-length collections and anthologies, including: 'Nothing Sacred: the New Cricket Culture' (Two Heads, 1996), 'Race, Sport and British Society'(Routledge, 2001), 'The New Ball' (Mainstream, 2000-2002), 'Beyond September 11th: An Anthology of Dissent' (Pluto, 2002), 'Following On: Post-Colonial Cricket' (Routledge, 2005), 'Selling US Wars' (Olive Branch Press, 2007) and 'A Time To Speak Out' (Verso, 2008). A chapter of his work is anthologised in 'The Picador Book of Cricket' (2005), and there is a lengthy interview with Mike in 'Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World' (2003). An essay on US sport in a global context has been reproduced in a widely used Prentice Hall textbook / reader entitled 'Common Culture' (6th Edition) edited by Michael Petracca.

Mike currently writes Level Playing Field, a column on politics and culture for The Hindu Sunday magazine, one of India's largest circulation English language publications, and Contending for the Living for Red Pepper.

In 2004, he wrote and presented an hour-long BBC Radio documentary on the history of Pacifica, America's alternative radio network.

In 2005, Mike Marqusee was named an Honorary Faculty Fellow by the University of Brighton in recognition of his "contribution to the development of a critically-based form of journalistic scholarship in the social, cultural and political nature of contemporary global sport."

Mike's articles on a wide variety of topics can be found at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Panopticonman on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In "Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art," Mike Marqusee treats us to a full-on analysis of the cultural, political and historical significance of Bob Dylan in the context of the early-to-mid 60s when Dylan was at the height of his powers. But even more, he shows how Dylan, at the vanguard of the social protest movement, was in the vanguard of the next development as well -- the turn away from the mass politics of the left, the social patriotism of Guthrie, toward the private politics of expressive individualism, the search for "authenticity" in an increasingly inauthentic world. With psychological nuance and sensitivity, he explores Dylan's defensiveness and arrogance, his sometimes convoluted and confused politics and his attempts to cope with nearly overwhelming fame and notoriety in the midst of social and political turmoil.
Essentially, Dylan is the core around which the story of the decline of the American Left is told. Marqusee provides insight in the factors that gave rise to the sense of hopefulness of the early 60s, a hopefulness that could not be sustained by most of the new white college kid converts to the civil rights and other social justice movements. Dense, packed with insight, this is a cogent corrective to the many misconceptions and platitudes that have come to describe this turbulent time in American history. In Marqusee's reading of the time, in the contextual backdrops he weaves, rescues a complex era from the oversimplifications of the media, e.g., the Woodstock Nation.
Emblematic of Dylan's break with the Old Left was his adoption of rock and roll instrumentation at Newport.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By An Old Activist on August 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting a for a book with this level of political sophistication for a long time. It's finally here. Marqusee sees the politics in America in the 1960s in its complexity, and Dylan's music equally so. As a result, he avoids the cliches about both and teases out many new insights and comments. Bravo! An especially important book for young activists. Marqusee clears away the romance and the clutter of those years so that you can better appreciate the difficulty of struggle today. And at the same time, he clears the way for you to find companionship in Dylan's music from that time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jeg on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is especially reccomended for serious Dylan fans. very easy to read, incredibly insightful. Tremendous assimilation of history and music. if this was a test the author would get a 96%. he rarely gets it wrong. one of the best dylan books that i have ever read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the third book on Dylan I have read in the last couple of weeks, and by coincidence they all take quite different approaches that serve to sharpen the contrasts in how Dylan's lyrics are interpreted. The first two, by Marqusee and Ricks are essentially contextualist. Ricks' context is the canon of Anglo Saxon poetry and literature which, I presume, he thinks enables us to understand better Dylan's lyrics (his choice of what is great poetry in Dylan is eccentric). Marqusee takes a different form of contextualism, and sees the events, political and social as providing the context for understanding Bob Dylan's lyrics. I found his elaboration on political events and movements extremely illuminating, but at times they were not wholly integrated and appeared instead as juxapostions against the lyrics rather than serving to clarify them. The third book is on both Dylan and Leonard Cohen (much underrated in the States but huge in Europe). The author, I see, has also edited a book with Gary Browning due out in November 2004 with a similr title to Marqusee's The Political Art of Bob Dylan). Boucher in his Dylan and Cohen appraises the two types of contextualism just mentioned, and with reference to the statements of Dylan and Cohen show how referents often serve to obscure rather than illuminate meaning. In many of the songs it is the images rather than the meanings that are evocative. Here a prime example would be 'Desolution Row'. Anyway, all three books are well worth a read.
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