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Rednecks & Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music Paperback – September 30, 2007
"Wake Up America" by Eric Bolling
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I know that some reviewers have complained about what they perceive as Willman's left-leaning stance, and I'd have to agree with them that he's not completely objective. A little too much time is spent on the plight of the Dixie Chicks, for whom I feel bad, but whose story probably could have been shortened in an attempt to include more viewpoints. At the same time, though, Willman does not criticize one side while leaving the other alone.
Several artists speak freely and articulately, from both sides of the spectrum - Steve Earle, Toby Keith, and Ronnie Dunn might not be having dinner together anytime soon, but it was fascinating to hear each of their perspectives. And for anyone who believes country musicians to be less than intelligent as a whole, this book will likely open some eyes. The level of political awareness among many of the artists, particularly Keith and Dunn, will surprise many.
One item that I really enjoyed was the discussion of the fued between Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks. It was interesting to read Keith's comments about the Chicks' insults, and I got the feeling that he was insulted more about their criticism of his musical talent than any political views he might have. He's obviously a proud artist, and it seems like he was genuinely taken somewhat aback.
This is a great book, one that held me so much that I wished Willman had included another 50 pages. For any fan of country music, or just those interested in the politics of that music.
Author Chris Willman captures this time exceedingly well in this excellent new book. He gets the conservatives and the liberals and everyone in between. You really get some great insight into Toby Keith. The reader realizes he's not some jingoistic warhawk. He's a patriotic Democrat, something the talk show types conveniently forget. We get the lowdown on the Dixie Chicks episode, something I was particularly interested in, being a big fan of the group and Natalie Maines in particular.
I can't say enough good things about Willman's book. Run out and get it.
1-It made a subject I was only tangentially interested in really interesting, mostly through the presentation of characters and personalities...
2-...because the author has such a good eye for character, paired with a good ear for language. He spots the telling detail that will summarize a person or situation neatly, and expresses it in a crisp, memorable way.
3-Yet it's also a heroic work of balance. In the volatile red vs blue, conservative vs liberal battlefield, Willman is consistently honest and yet never betrays bias -- bracingly fair.
You get a good example of all three elements right at the start, as he describes the reaction to the Dixie Chicks' controversial "anti-Bush" statement, among citizens gathered outside a performance in Greenville, SC. Just when it's tempting to stereotype a character, Willman shows how shallow and unhelpful such stereotyping is.
Buy this book because you're interested in country music or politics or some combination thereof -- but read and enjoy it for the high quality of the reporting and writing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A well documented book.Your content is very interesting with abundant explanations about the relationship between politics and the stars of country music.
Willman's writing is generally good, but can be a bit over the top. There are some great stories here (particularly about Steve Earle and Toby Keith), but I'm still not sure what... Read morePublished on October 12, 2010 by Alf Landon
In 2002, I had a number-one song for one of the most infamous participants in these heated skirmishes--My List, performed by Toby Keith. Read morePublished on April 3, 2010 by Rand Bishop
The amazing thing about Chris Willman's "Rednecks and Bluenecks" is how much has changed since he wrote the book following George W. Bush's second election victory. Read morePublished on May 4, 2009 by Sam Sattler
If you're like I am, relishing the growth and triumph of the Dixie Chicks during their saga, that's one good reason to read this. Read morePublished on March 25, 2007 by Julie Christensen
Maybe I expected too much. When I first saw the title I jumped to conclusion that the book would be about the "politics" of the country music business, how deals really get made,... Read morePublished on October 11, 2006 by Carl E. Johnson Jr.
I love music - from punk rock to bluegrass- and I am also interested in politics. So I had high expectations for this book. Read morePublished on July 22, 2006 by Chris Luallen
Anyone who loves country music or politics should definately buy this book. Chris Willman goes out of his way to show both sides of the political spectrum. Read morePublished on February 13, 2006 by Maurice