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The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones Hardcover – May 10, 2016
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An Amazon Best Book of May 2016: Does the world really need another book about the Rolling Stones? After five highly scrutinized decades of music, drugs, busts, death, jealousy, women, and exile, there's not much new to say that hasn't been broadcast through countless books, movies, articles, and court records. But Rich Cohen's The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones--based on his coverage of the band for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1990s, as well as his own lifelong obsession--asserts itself as an essential addition to the canon, earning a place on the same shelf as Keith Richards' Life and the Maysles brothers' harrowing Altamont doc, Gimme Shelter. The success is in the storytelling. Yes, it's filled with detail and stories familiar to any fan, but also driven by prose fit for his gonzo heritage: he's wild within reason and funny in the Thompson style, unafraid of contrarian pronouncements and first-person perspective, with a high hit-rate for memorable, original sentences (to which my dog-eared galley attests). Cohen, who pulled off a similar feat with Monsters, his book about the 1985 Chicago Bears, understands that writing--and reading--works when it's personal, a little bit transgressive, and a hell of a lot of fun. Just like the Stones. --Jon Foro
“Fabulous . . . [Rich] Cohen interweaves his firsthand accounts of the men in the band with the well-trodden history of the Stones, from inception around 1963 through the golden period of 1968 to 1973 and then hopscotching through time to bring us up to when he met the band. The research is meticulous. . . . Cohen’s own interviews even yield some new Stones lore.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[Cohen] can catch the way a record can seem to remake the world [and] how songs make a world you can’t escape.”—Greil Marcus, Pitchfork
“No one can tell this story, wringing new life even from the leathery faces of mummies like the Rolling Stones, like Rich Cohen. . . . Cohen writes about survivors. Men who will not allow life to grind them down. . . . The book beautifully details the very meaning of rock ’n’ roll—the timeless swagger and the way the imperfections of the Stones—their meter, their faces, even Mick’s accidentally bitten tongue—embody the dangerousness of kid-oriented popular music.”—New York Observer
“Masterful . . . Hundreds of books have been written about this particular band and [Cohen’s] will rank among the very best of the bunch.”—Chicago Tribune
“Cohen, who has shown time and time again he can take any history lesson and make it personal and interesting . . . somehow tells the [Stones’] story in a whole different way. This might be the best music book of 2016.”—Men’s Journal
“[Cohen’s] account of the band’s rise from ‘footloose’ kids to ‘old, clean, prosperous’ stars is, like the Stones, irresistible.”—People
“Cohen approaches the Stones from two directions. He is the kid discovering the group from muffled, glorious sounds emerging from his older brother’s room in the attic. Later, he gets on the inside as a young magazine writer, backstage as he works his way into the good graces of the aging rockers. . . . You will, as with the best music bios, want to follow along on vinyl.”—The Washington Post
“A fresh take on dusty topics like Altamont and the Stones’ relationship with the Beatles . . . Cohen takes pilgrimages to places like Nellcôte, the French mansion where the Stones made Exile on Main Street, and recounts fascinating moments from his time on tour.”—Rolling Stone
“On the short list of worthwhile books about the Stones . . . The book is stuffed with insights.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Cohen’s fresh history of the Rolling Stones is a personal rock and roll memoir that covers the band’s long life with candor, humor and a little awe.”—Shelf Awareness
“With The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, Rich Cohen has arrived as one of the greatest social and cultural historians of postwar twentieth-century America. By gracefully blending fastidious reporting, lucid commentary, and an unabashed love for his subjects, Cohen has managed to write about gods and elevate them into human beings. Even if the Rolling Stones were never your particular cup of musical tea, the author’s overarching exploration of what it takes to ‘make it big’ in popular culture—from adolescent anonymity to dream-come-true validation to the soul searching and sometimes destructive aftermath—will have you reading this book deep into the night.”—Richard Price
“This is a completely fascinating book. Rich Cohen locks into everything that’s crazy and passionate about the Rolling Stones while never losing his clear-sighted presence of mind. Funny, soulful, impeccably reported, and beautifully written, The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones will be the book about the Stones that will last.”—Ian Frazier
“Rich Cohen writes like Mick Jagger sings: He’s full of energy, swagger, and creativity. In one sense, this book is easy to categorize: File under ‘books that are awesome and delightful to read.’ But it’s also hard to categorize. It’s part memoir, part cultural history, part biography, part manifesto, part behind-the-scenes look at the joyful debauchery of one of the world’s greatest bands. However you label it, you’ll have a blast reading it.”—A. J. Jacobs
“Rich Cohen is one of the select few to be invited behind the curtain of the Rolling Stones’ real-life rock ’n’ roll circus, but he never loses the perspective of having once been a kid staring in awe at his brother’s poster of the band. With The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, Cohen separates the men from the myth, while also reinforcing why this group means so much to so many of us.”—Alan Light
“I have no interest in the lives of rock stars. I could not put down The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones. Rich Cohen was born to write this book, and he waited just long enough to do it. Reporting the hell out of a lifelong obsession, he gives us the Rolling Stones in so many dimensions they stalk off the page. The fanboy becomes a man, with judgments seasoned, supple, razor-sharp, slyly funny, and still besotted. A great story, masterfully told.”—William Finnegan
Top customer reviews
Why does it finally, and just barely, fall short? It just ultimately runs out of gas and falls apart shortly before the end. Cohen's narrative tack of making the book as much about what the Stones mean to him as a Generation X fan of them works wonderfully until the final section, when it begins to seem merely solipsistic. His eloquent writing finally begins to seem showy. And--worst of all--he just throws the narrative away and abruptly ends the book, leaving the reader hanging! Also--as he did in his earlier and equally gripping and eloquent history of the Jewish gangster in America, TOUGH JEWS--he may explode many canards about his subject, but he ends up swallowing a few of them, too.
Don't get me wrong. This book is absolutely, absolutely worth reading. Parts of it are worth cherishing. It just makes it flaws all the more frustrating--more, probably, than they actually are.
Really as much a biography of the author's live while he was a Stones "camp follower." I quickly learned to skim those parts.
Not a lot of stuff here that made me say "Hmmmmm."
The writing itself is quite good, but I wish he had spent more time focusing on the tours where he traveled around with the band rather than just merely rehashing the past. While certainly the band has long past its prime, having a birds eye view of the Voodoo Lounge tour in hindsight was probably the reason I bought the book. But that is probably less than 5% of the total content. They advertise this book as 400 pages, but it is really 300, with a huge amount of Notes, indexes and other fluff to make it look more substantial.
There were a few really great parts. The Steve Winwood story was hysterical, and his own journey in learning to play the guitar later in life was inspirational and came very late in the book. I was happy that I bothered to read to the end.
If I had to do it again, I'd pass on this one.
Never mind he got incredible access to the Stones's most private of private lives, Rich's way with words, with the way he strings sentences together, with the way he lets you in the band's secret world without showing off are just fantastic. I have read them all, all, and I can tell you with the possible exception of Keith's autobiography, Rich's is the best and most entertaining book about The Rolling Stones I have ever read.
You owe it to yourself as a member of the generation that, in the words of Keith Richards, grew up with "the sun and the moon and The Rolling Stones" to read it. You'll be amazed at what you didn't know!