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White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race Paperback – July 18, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


White Riot—this loud, brilliant collection of rants and critical explosions on race, music, and rebellion—has a radical message that goes far beyond punk: in order to build transformative movements and cultures, we first have to reckon with the riots of our own.”—Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-hop Generation and Who We Be: The Colorization of America

“Verso gives us an engaging collection of political essays about race and representation in punk from critics like Greil Marcus to Paul Simonon of the Clash. The book features photos, lyrics, letters, and accessible articles from musicians and academics concerned about the greater issues in revolutionary music.”—Kathleen Massara, Flavorpill’s 10 Most Anticipated Summer Reads

“It’s a banging pit of engagement, and a shocking reminder that no entire book has ever been dedicated to this subject before.”—Chris Estey, KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle

White Riot allows us to view race as contested, complex, always both part and all of the person, the movement, and the story. A punk heart that understands the politics of race in this way isn’t ‘pure:’ it’s a messy organ, and it’s still beating.”—Sara Jaffe, Los Angeles Review of Books

“350 pages of interview excerpts, fanzine articles, and academic essays that won’t give you answers so much as give you the power to ask, and consider, even more.”—Chris Terry, Razorcake

About the Author

Stephen Duncombe, an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, is the author of Dream and Notes from Underground, editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader, and coeditor (with Maxwell Tremblay) of White Riot.

Maxwell Tremblay writes for Maximumrocknroll, plays drums in the band SLEEPiES, and is a doctoral student in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. <a href="!/MAXWELLTREMBLAY">Follow Maxwell on Twitter</a> (@maxwelltremblay)

James Spooner lives in Los Angeles. He is the director of Afro-Punk.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (July 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844676889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844676880
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tasha Fierce is a Black feminist writer, blogger, and Los Angeles native. Her work has appeared in Bitch Magazine, Corset Magazine, Jezebel, The Huffington Post, Racialicious, Feministe, Clutch Magazine, and Shapely Prose, among other publications both online and off. She has been interviewed by Pacifica Radio, Jezebel, AlterNet and Vibe Vixen on race, feminism, identity politics, body image and sexuality. Her blog, Tastefully Ratchet, can be found at You can find her on Twitter as @misstashafierce.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas A Morgan on August 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a piece that must have been gestating in the collective consciousness for many years. I have long been interested in the sociological foundations and implications of the punk rock movement and this book covers that terrain with enthusiasm and vigor. Well done and highly recommended!
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8 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Lens on April 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is an insulting, condescending fantasy-driven response to those of us who lived and created the LA punk lifestyle. Traber's off-the-wall totally-out-of-touch-with-LA-punk rant is not based on any actual interviews or archival material other than ONE source.

--I was shocked reading his 'essay' which is a CLASSIC! A classic? How can one man be the authority when he woefully closed his eyes to realities easily refuted by so many other sources, esp photos and fanzines which contradict most everything he states. He cherry-picked his quotes and thesis based on a ONE movie with a very specific, very narrow POV.

--The way he describes the punks at the Canterbury made me nauseous. MANY of them went onto very productive, accomplished creative lives and careers. They were far from "spoiled brats." Many were abused, neglected, confused, some mentally ill and most using drugs/booze (to self-medicate) who had NOWHERE else to go. Or were exploring their lives between high school and either college, trade school, work, marriage, raising a family.

--I was shocked when I first saw Penelope Spheeris' Decline. I'm in it and some of my most famous, iconic photos of X taken during her filming of that segment. Her film, although true from HER POV, didn't reflect my vast photo archive and personal experiences the previous four yrs, living and documenting the punk lifestyle, genre and scene. There's so much available refuting his feeble, wordy and obtuse essay. Read Slash Magazine and go from there! SHE had access to all the issues but chose to focus on the dark side.

--Those of us who created it, starting around 1976 and by spring/summer 1977, have a vastly different take on what, why and how LA Punk developed.
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Format: Paperback
At the age of 56 ad having lived in Greenwich Village and Ireland during the Punk era, I believe that the essence of Punk was very specific. It was an expression of the extreme frustration of lower class white (mostly) men who had little hope for their future and access to a lot of drugs and sex in a pre-AIDS world. It was also the then current form of teenage/20-something angst - a phenomenon that is as old as time. It also resulted in some great music - "I Don't Like Mondays" and "Rat Trap" being my personal favorites since I was a Boomtown Rats fan from the time they cut their first single. I was in Greenwich Village when CBGBs opened and I was at the Boomtown Rats concert in Dun Laoghaire during the first outdoor concert in Irish history. In my eyes, the lasting legacy of Punk is not a group of people who don't have a focus - it is Bob Geldof who mobilized a movement to help the world. The Occupy "movement" accomplished little of moment (I consider "Occupy" it in the past tense and am glad that we now actually have a "movement" in the old sense of the word where people march and take action instead of talking about elusive theories that have nothing to do with any life experience or practical change).

Sorry for the diatribe but I become frustrated when I hear theories about history that I have actually lived through. What every 20 something generation has in common is that they know everything and don't realize that their elders actually may know something too.

Enough said - carry on
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6 of 22 people found the following review helpful By N. Smith on April 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is long, somewhat boring, includes an essay by Lester Bangs that was loathsome at the time and that he himself REGRETTED writing in the first place and is WAY LATE - in 1989 this might have meant something. In 2012, who cares?!?!?!
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