King of Rags Kindle Edition
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|Length: 178 pages||
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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Top customer reviews
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Boy, do I sound cynical! I don't mean to. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had done MY research a little better, and realized that, "Any resemblance to actual events...locales, or persons living or dead...is entirely coincidental, and should not be considered real or factual". It could have been a fun book, though carelessly, set in the last of the 19th Century, with no factual attachment to the famous names of the characters, and the real historical people. I'm doing a lot of research about some of the real, Black American heroes, and looking for facts, stories, and incidents that lead me to that end. I simply bought the wrong book , for the wrong purpose. Sorry, I hate this...I'm really not a sarcastic, sardonic cynic. I really feel bad about this review. But, I do believe it to be honest. It was a fun idea, and decent effort! Thanks, keep on writing. You're a good story teller. I'd like to read something else that you've written. Dave
I wondered if Eric Bronson had read my mind when I too believe that there could be an interpretation of violence behind music. As I was reading, there were names of characters that I truly found bizarre, curious of nature, I kept reading. "Eerie" I thought when I read the dates and what was written.
In the metarmophosis (found in the table of content) Eric Bronson turns to Frederick Douglass, with a baritone voice, to entertain us, the readers. Then goes on with other characters with unique descriptions. For me, it is not a full story but a series of introductions to people behind music of our yesteryears.
I like Eric Bronson's writing style. It's different. It's fresh. I do recommend it for people who want to dissect it just like a piece of art or a painting that can be found in a museum.
The book begins as a kaleidoscope overview of the birth of Rag with Scott Joplin as its central character. Like the story of American democracy itself, the birth of Rags is messy and nonlinear. It is created in a cauldron of social, cultural, political and personal forces that bubble together, often in conflict, to create something magical. It begins forty years after the end of slavery, and ends more than two generations before the end of segregation, to highlight the creative genius of Black America in the late nineteenth and very early twentieth century.
Over the first four chapters, King of Rags chronicles the forces that shaped and influenced Scott Joplin and his peers. The honkytonks and sporting clubs that gave home to the creative spirit of Black America in that era; the passions of Frederick Douglas and Ida Wells that gave inspiration; the Black music centers in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Chicago that spawned competition; family and associates that shaped character; and pride that allowed for no distillation of the final pure product. Still to come in the years that followed were Blues, Rock, and Rap, but before all of that, there was Rags and King of Rags tells their story.
The last two chapters deal with the descent of the dreamer, or in the words of Lester Walton, "The story of an entertainer who seeks to become an artist but fails. That story is the stuff of real tragedy." It is Joplin's doomed need to stage and publish an opera about the real Black experience and the proud women who lived it.
Although I might quibble with the title of the book, as the ragtime historian Jerry Atkins did, the story itself is pitch perfect.