Customer Review

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In The American Grain, October 17, 2000
This review is from: Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll: Fourth Edition (Paperback)
I am a 20yr old English American Studies student, a verified "america-phile" (this is how i've been described by americans in my year abroad at an american university, shocked as they are by my fascination w/ american culture)...this is one of the things that started it all for me. I first became interested in american culture through the music of the country and this book convinced me that american music could be seen "not as youth culture, or counterculture, but simply as American culture." (for me the book's key line, its thesis, the simplist and yet greatest explanation for the worth of studying popular music as you would literature or even film)...yes, i admit, the book is often complex and obscure, imprenatrable (most of it rests on Marcus's own assumptions and overriding optimism for the promise of the American dream), assuming a great deal of knowledge of american history and culture (as i learn more about this country, i find it extraordinarily rewarding to keep re-reading it, to pick up on more of the allusions) and yet it is still possibly the most rewarding and influential (to me anyway) book i have ever read, reminding me time and time again of the social-cultural-human power in american music, rather than simply its commercial power (which a lot of popular music studies, ie media studies, seem to focus on)...and the discography! this is worth the price of purchase alone! its like TS Eliots notes to 'The Waste Land'! So many albums I have bought simply from reading about them here...i recommend that anyone interested in american culture and rock n roll read this! and then peter gularnick's "sweet soul music" etc etc...
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3.3 out of 5 stars (32 customer reviews)
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