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Let Fury Have the Hour: Joe Strummer, Punk, and the Movement that Shook the World Paperback – March 6, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; Second Edition edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568587198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568587196
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Were it not for the Clash, punk would have been just a sneer, a safety pin, and a pair of bondage trousers," writes Billy Bragg, and documentarian/activist D'Ambrosio proves it with this gathering of skillfully selected articles and essays on Clash front man Joe Strummer (1952–2002), from the likes of Lester Bangs, Chuck D, Greil Marcus and D'Ambrosio himself. Most contributions consider the highly politicized early years of "the only band that mattered," its commercial U.S. breakthrough in 1983 as well as its imminent demise, and Strummer's role as lyricist and political agitator. Although a few essays discuss the political ambiguity of some of Strummer's songs, they mostly praise the outspoken singer/guitarist's commitment to confronting racism, classism and capitalism at a time when punk bands were apolitical or nihilistic. In a 1979 essay, Lester Bangs credits the Clash with forging "the missing link between black music and white noise." Other pieces chronicle Strummer's stints as a film score composer and actor and his ongoing forays into multicultural music. Some essays lean toward a preachy interpretation of Strummer's humanist philosophy, but the best invoke irresistible excitement as they describe beer-soaked early Clash shows and the message of hope the band gave to kids rebelling against what they saw as the oppressive conservatism and systemic self-loathing of Thatcherite England.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Antonino D’Ambrosio is a writer, filmmaker, musician, visual artist, and the author of A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears. D’Ambrosio has produced more than fifteen films, including No Free Lunch starring comedian Lewis Black. He is also the founder and executive director of La Lutta NMC (www.lalutta.org).

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bottom line? This somewhat haphazard collection of twenty-five or so articles about Joe Strummer is more or less exactly the homage one would expect, with few (if any) surprises. The focus here is to celebrate the passing of a highly influential musician and his legacy as a progressive and hopeful force, while putting him in the context of his times. Most diehard Clash and Strummer fans won't find anything new here, and those unfamiliar with him may find it a bit overwhelming, but taken in small pieces, it's an inspirational tribute to Strummer's spirit. While the book would certainly benefit from from greater thematic organization (not to mention attention to detail), its heart is in the right place, and it's hard to imagine any collection of clippings and essays being any better.

The book is organized into four loose sections proceeded by a very brief piece by Chuck D about The Clash's influence on Public Enemy, along with an introduction by editor D'Ambrosio. The first (and longest) section covers Strummer's career as leadman for The Clash. These are all pieces that originally appeared elsewhere, beginning with D'Ambrosio's lengthy overview which ran in the Monthly Review in 2003 and is available on their web site. There's the 1976 interview from Sniffin' Glue, gushing pieces from Trouser Press (1978), Rolling Stone (1979), Sounds (1979), a 50-page excerpt from Lester Bangs' seminal book Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, and a much-revised piece by Greil Marcus that has appeared in a number of places. These reprints are all fine, and as a collective, give a reasonable sense of the power and importance of The Clash for those not already in the know.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Cow on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
On the surface, you can't really argue with a book compiling Strummer-related writings from people like Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Sylvie Simmons and Ann Scanlon. Much of the material between the covers has previously appeared elsewhere, but never before with such a stunning array of glorious typos.

Unfortunately, Mr D'Ambrosio dually blows his cred as both a writer and an editor before he even finishes what serves as his introduction. "London Calling was recorded in New York City" (p. 11)? No, I don't think so, but close...it was recorded in London. Hence the title, geddit? But it's a spattering of mis-information, disguised as matter-of-fact statements, such as "In an ironic twist, on December 22 he would perform (with Mick Jones) for the last time ever at a benefit for striking firemen in London" which ultimately made me dismiss the book without a whole lot of further reading and fling it across the room. December 22 was, as fact-fans worldwide will note, actually the sad day of Mr Strummer's passing, which would clearly rule out any chances of playing a gig (with or without Mick Jones), let alone making it up to the microphone.

Picking the nit? Maybe, but not when there are absolutely fantastic books out there at the moment which do quite an honourable bit of justice to Joe Strummer's memory and legacy. My recommendation, then, would be to bypass this book altogether and make a dash with cash for Pat Gilbert's "Passion is a Fashion: the Real Story of The Clash" or Kris Needs' "Joe Strummer & The Legend of The Clash."

Mr D'Ambrosio's book, unfortunately, smacks of a careless cash-in with little regard for factual accuracy or careful editing. To state that "some people are missing the point reading it like a biography...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Falcon Lirica on December 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Let Fury Have The Hour is a thoughtful and moving examination of the soul of creative-activist Joe Strummer who, through the medium of punk rock, became for many the "unofficial leader of a people's movement." This book may not appeal to Clash fans looking for newly unearthed trivia. D'Ambrosio has given us instead a well-chosen collection of vivid stories, both old and new, and deeply felt reflections upon the enduring importance of Joe Strummer and the Clash.

I was repeatedly struck by the stories of Strummer's generosity, empathy, and gracious attention. In both his music and his interactions he proved himself a profoundly committed humanist who recognized the need for class struggle and the fight against racism, imperialism and music industry commodification. A radical consciousness imbued his music, and his melding of multicultural genres with punk and pop became a political statement for justice and equality.

Joe Strummer's wish for himself was to be seen as simply "a good soul." He sought, through his music, to break and remake the world a better place. Strummer told D'Ambrosio when they met in April 2002 that the goal all along was to keep things hopeful and remain optimistic. "We must be positive and know that truth is on our side," said Strummer. "Music can turn people on to the beauty of a life still to be lived...we choose to not take any more and not be miserable." Let Fury Have The Hour is a fitting tribute to Strummer in that the book itself carries on that message of idealism and faith.
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