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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)


Podcast Favorites

https://soundcloud.com/user-411867241/episode-80-bryan-fogel-part-1-the-forward-podcast-with-lance-armstrong

https://soundcloud.com/user-411867241/episode-80-bryan-fogel-part-2-the-forward-podcast-with-lance-armstrong

https://player.fm/series/channel-33-1512041/icarus-filmmaker-bryan-fogel-on-why-russia-wont-be-at-the-olympics-the-big-picture-ep-424

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz

Wednesday
Nov162011

Led Zeppelin Lives!

Robert Plant Blue Note

DVD, http://www.chromedreams.co.uk/

LZ-’75 (The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour) by Stephen Davis

$16, Gotham Books

All these years later, I’m still puzzled about never seeing Led Zeppelin in concert. Growing up in Michigan, moving to Detroit as a young adult, I happily got to several concerts each week, and had the opportunities. Zep was one of my favorite acts. I don’t know what happened.

Stephen Davis always makes me feel this way. Same thing happened years ago when Hammer of the Gods, his biography of Led Zeppelin, was published. One of his assignments while putting together Gods was to go on tour with Led Zep in 1975. Yeah, hang out backstage, travel with the band, be at each performance. Effectively live with them for the entire tour. 

So he did, took copious notes daily, shot photographs, assembled and saved memorabilia. But somehow, after the tour ended, all of his materials had disappeared. Yup, vanished into thin air. Davis, a pro, of course resurrected what he could from memory, incorporated it into Hammer of the Gods, and went on with life.

Flash forward 30 years. An old friend finds this treasure trove of materials in his basement, figures out it belongs to Davis, gets in touch and asks him if he still wants it! Three decades later; glad the friend didn’t put it all up for sale on eBay. 

LZ-’75 is the result, a long look behind the curtain of what went on with Led Zeppelin in-between performances, off-stage. Personality plus in this digest-sized book. Necessary for Led Zep fans.

Blue Note takes off where LZ-'75 ends. If you are hoping this “unauthorized” documentary contaions sustained concert footage of Robert Plant from his long and diverse musical career, you’ll be disappointed. Don’t search it out. However, if you are in love with music to the point you understand Blue Note testifies to Plant’s lifelong search for music that stirs his soul, then do what you must to get a copy into your hands. Nobody has ever said Robert Plant isn’t passionate about his music.

And what a 50+ years of music he’s produced; as this two-plus hour documentary portrays, blues music is where Plant always returns. In the many years since Led Zep this guy has traveled the world, looking for the special sound that is in his head.

Blue Note is a wonderful musical travelogue. Sure, there are some Led Zeppelin performance clips, but that phase of Plant’s life is only about a half hour of this presentation. Interviews, news stories, Plant speaking on radio shows, his collaborations with musicians from Mississippi to Africa - all thread together to form a fascinating document. 

This is musical passion at it’s best. Robert Plant may no longer look like a rock star (he frankly appears to be 100 years old, but hey, he’s surely lived life), but man, does music run in his veins. Some of the rare footage gave me goose bumps. Plant today is out there somewhere, in search of the true music he has always heard in his heart and soul.

Friday
Nov112011

Johnny Winter Bobblehead Doll

This cool, unusual, Johnny Winter bobble-head doll arrived a while back. I remember a publicist pitching me on it, of course I said “send one along”, but it arrived without a press release and I can’t even find information about the company who supposedly produced it. Along the way, though, I found a great site called Glam-Racket that was not only helpful in my quest for news about this product, but features tons of attitude and passionate knowledge about rock’n’roll and pop culture. This is Todd Totale’s site, a guy ozzing personality and fearless attitude.

I’ll get back to telling you how to find one. Let’s talk about the figure itself. Mine remains in the box for now, but it appears to be seven inches tall, is in full color, and the box says it’s a “talking collectible.”

According to Glam-Racket, Winter is wearing his signature black hat, boots, has his guitar strapped on of course, but also his arms and head move. Believe it or not, push a button and he yells “rock’n’roll!” Whether it sounds like Johnny Winter or not I have no idea, ‘cause for now he’s remaining in the box. This is supposedly limited to 1500  produced, but who knows?

Amazingly, the bobble-head really looks similar to Johnny; there’s a brief biography on one side of the box, and a big guitar on the other. Guitar Gods appears to be the production or retailing company, but their website (www.guitargods) doesn’t take me anywhere helpful. Apparently, Winter is wearing the same outfit he went onstage with in 1979 on the German Rockpalast TV show. This was classic Winter; Totale has a clip on the site.

Here’s a great example of what I appreciate about Todd Totale’s writing: when talking about the new Black Sabbath album, he writes:

“I could care less about the new album, and even those who claim they’re excited probably won’t listen to it at all after 2012.” 

This is shooting from the hip, absolutely telling the truth. He loves Sabbath, this is clear from other material he writes on the site. There is a classic video embedded, tons of information about the new release. But he’s realistic about these guys in 2011, how old and damaged they might be. Who hasn’t seen Ozzy in TV commercials lately that didn’t think he looked weak and frail? Can you even understand him when he speaks? He makes Keith Richards sound like Richard Burton...

If you’re a crazy Johnny Winter fan, you’re going to have to dig around to find this wild instant collectible. But assuming you’re a good rock’n’roll fanatic, head to Glam-Racket and make your presence known!

Friday
Nov112011

Acting Is Timeless

The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study by Howard Firedman and Leslie Martin

hardcover, $25.95, Hudson Street Press  

I used to think I wanted to live forever. Longevity is a clear objective, of course, and I live as cleanly as I’m able, but as I ager I find myself concerned with quality of life and health, to an increasing degree. Probably the two objectives go hand in hand, and I’m fascinated by studies on the topic. Perhaps I have decided there is no true, compelling, locked-down answer to just what means are necessary to live as long as possible.

Other feel the same way, and work hard to determine answers. The Longevity Project reflects this, based upon an eight-decade long Stanford University study of 1500 people. Absolutely fascinating, a very readable and enjoyable book, my take-away is there’s no magic pill, no one answer, little consistent rhyme or reason to determine who is going to live how long. Many factors go into how well one lives, but not as many to how long. Fascinating. One important factor linking those who live well and long is they’re connected to the world around them, to people, and live with some purpose. 

There’s no Fountain of Youth, but many avenues to long, fruitful life.

Drama: An Actor’s Education - A Memoir by John Lithgow

 $26.99, hardcover, Harper

Autobiographies from actors and actresses are a dime a dozen. Used bookstores are jammed with them. How interesting most of them are is based upon your appreciation of that person’s work, or your fascination with their life. Lithgow somehow broke the mold with Drama, compellingly written and entirely more interesting than I anticipated. He writes of his life and how intertwined it is with his profession, with humor and cleverness.

I don’t have any special interest in Lithgow as an actor, and only cracked the book after listening to Andy Ihnatko praise it in a podcast (and I cannot remember which podcast. It may have been The Ihnatko Almanac on the 5x5 network, or MacBreak Weekly on the TWIT network. I'm an avid listener to each). As a fan of movies and character actors, but due more to my deep appreciation of nice writing, I recommend Drama: An Actor’s Education. Fans of John Lithgow will doubly be happy.

 

Friday
Nov112011

Passion and Rock'n'Roll

 

The Beatles in Hamburg: The Stories, The Scene and How It All Began by Spencer Leigh

Chicago Review Press, trade paperback, $19.95 

All rock’n’roll and Beatles fans know the group truly began to come together in Hamburg, Germany. Beginning in the summer of ’60, they lived there, performed constantly, grew up a bit, developed their sound, and from all reports lived life fully until they left near the end of 1962. Speaking as someone who grew up listening to The Beatles, who watched my grandfather throw his shoes at the TV when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, who has lived his life passionately affected by the music they created, how much do any of us really know about these clearly critical, formative Hamburg years? Answer: not too much. It’s all lore and legend. 

Stepping in to either burnish the fables, or clear up the mysteries, is author Spencer Leigh, penning what I think is the definitive (and quite entertaining) account of these early pre-Fab Four experiences. I hadn’t thought in a long while about all the major events in their young careers that took place in Germany: the band met and signed with manager Brian Epstein, were signed to their first recording contract, and recorded and released “My Bonnie,” the first Beatles record. From all indications they bought a lot of black leather clothing, grew their hair long and evolved out of the greaser styles they had when arriving, and basically began to grow together as a band (well, there was one personality clash and exception, but that’s covered in other books).

There’s more to the story than music - the district in Hamburg known as St. Pauli plays a major role, as well. Talk about a major influence. For these two years the group probably performed live more times than during the rest of their career together, combined. One aspect I believe is important is how their surroundings changed them, yet didn’t cast them in stone. It would be an understatement to say the Beatles never remained the same with their songwriting, performances and recordings for the next half dozen years. 

Rare and entertaining photographs fill out the book. Leigh is a respected Beatles expert who has written and broadcast about the group for many years, and his base of knowledge and expertise shines through. Well done.

Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith by Michael Stipe

Aklashic Books, $23.95, hardcover  

Patti Smith has long fascinated me. Her late ‘70s emergence on the music scene came at a time when rock’n’roll was up for grabs and needed an infusion of spirit, attitude and personality. Along came Smith. She had a deep background in the New York City art/Warhol/photography world, but most of us in the Midwest weren’t aware. I ran into her a few times in Detroit during her brief marriage to Fred Smith (MC-5, Sonics Rendezvous Band), but got the feeling she was out of her element in Detroit. Lenny Kaye, her long-time guitarist and musical sidekick, was an old friend of mine and we used to keep in touch, but he was engaged in his own musical projects at the time.

Flash forward decades; everyone now knows Patti Smith. She’s a legend, a deep influence, a poet, writer and musician. From out of nowhere Akashic Books has put together this collection of photographs shot by Michael Stipe (yeah, that Michael Stipe, of REM), all shot on tour with Patti in 1995 during a two week stint living with the band. Two Times Intro is more than a grouping of sometimes fuzzy photographs (fascinating and evocative of the time, and the people around her). Written pieces by Lenny Kaye, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Tom Verlaine, Lisa Robinson, William S. Burroughs, Stipe and Patti herself create a singular event with this book. If you’re of a certain age, that roll call of names will bring a tingle to your senses. Believe me, Two Times Intro reaches beyond a Michael Stipe photo diary, though that would have been sufficient to attract me.

Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz

trade paperback, $16.95, Anchor Books

Some of you will note that I praised this fine book months ago, when it was initially published in hardcover. In the deep canon of books about Dylan, this is refreshingly not one attempting to understand him. Author Wilentz came upon Dylan at his Greenwich Village beginnings, in 1961, and has been deeply affected since. Read and enjoy Bob Dylan in America as a slice of American pop culture history. Dylan isn’t merely important; he is a game-changer. Wilentz knows this, and relates changes in our society’s cultural shape to Dylan’s imprint. Not fannish, never snobbish or intellectual, Wilentz has merely written one of the best books I’ve read, ever, about Bob Dylan. No mean feat (apologies to my old friend Paul Williams, who wrote a bunch of Dylan books).

So if you didn’t pay attention and buy the hardcover, get your hands on the paperbackl! 

The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years by Greil Marcus

Public Affairs, $16.99, trade paperback

I grew up with the Doors, but was never much of a fan. My memory contains clear visions of people in high school with a new Doors album, Soft Parade, and how startled they were that I didn’t think too much of it. At the time, I was pretty fired up about Stones, Flamin' Groovies and Hendrix releases, and thought the Doors were wimpy and pretentious. I mean, Jim Morrison’s lyrics - who could take them seriously?

Enter Greil Marcus. He writes a book about The Doors... I pay attention. He has one of the finest minds in the short history of rock music criticism. Marcus is also an original thinker, approaching topics in a manner unusual in perspective but making perfect sense when you read him. 

Nobody else would create a book like this. Marcus dissects Doors albums, in the context of the times and his experiences. His examination of the Doors recording career includes major bootleg recordings, as evidence of how different, and sometimes how superior they were live, to public perception based upon their official recordings. The number of people who witnessed Doors live performances is tiny compared to the millions who have been, and continue to be, affected by their recordings. Marcus ranges the breadth of Jim Morrison fandom; from Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie The Doors to the lasting fascination so many have with Morrison’s death. He was there and part of the audience for the early, legendary Los Angeles performances; Marcus brings everything full circle and makes a compelling case for why we should regard The Doors and Jim Morrison as critical and important today, 40 years after LA. Woman was recorded.

The Stooges:  Head On by Brett Callwood

Wayne State University Press, $19.95

Allow me to begin by saying I grew up seeing Iggy and the Stooges perform on a regular basis. Central Michigan in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was a hotbed of live performances every weekend. I was fortunate enough to have great bands all around me, and the Stooges were regulars in the rotation. The legendary “peanut butter” performance took place at a junior college I attended, but I can’t even tell you whether I was in the audience. Iggy performed unusual, sometimes kinda crazy, acts on stage all the time.

Originally published in the U.K. in 2008, author Callwood had interviewed most of those who played a role in the Stooges and Iggy’s musical lives, other than Scott Asheton. After his brother Ron passed away in 2009, Scott decided it was time to talk, and had lengthy and open talks with Callwood, incorporated into this new edition. What a difference his contributions make.

Everything about The Stooges: Head On rings true with me. Author Callwood is English, loved Detroit rock, and has an MC-5 biography under his writing belt. Decent pedigree right there. Spending time in Ann Arbor and Detroit researching that project turned him onto not only the true contributions of Iggy and the Stooges, but he so fell in love with Detroit he moved there! How about that? 

Anyone familiar with Iggy has heard and read stories of wild behavior. Probably all true, and Iggy has never run from his reputation. Some of these tales of debauchery are recounted, of course, but they’re a backdrop, not the foundation of Head On. Callwood does a good job of putting this story together, making clear that The Stooges were a band, not merely backing musicians for frontman Iggy. 

It’s all here; James Williamson joining the band for the recording of Raw Power was a seminal event in their sound; just like Iggy collaborating with David Bowie later on proved to be a big deal. My lasting impression of this book is my thanks that the band members receive equal billing, and that the Detroit/Michigan rock’n’roll scene comes alive at the hands of Callwood. 

Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power Live (In the Hands of the Fans)

DVD, MVD Visual, $16.95

Imagine you’re a devoted fan of Iggy & the Stooges, and through an online lottery contest, are given the opportunity to not only attend a 2010 live performance of the entire Raw Power album, but you can hang out backstage, interview the band, and even hang out with video cameras and shoot the show. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it happened, and this DVD is the result.

In case anyone wonders if Iggy and the Stooges were too old to rock last year, or had lost their sting, this will make it clear they’re rockers all the way through. I’d never thought of Stooges albums as timeless, and probably some of how I feel is my personal nostalgia, but this DVD presents a damn fine show. It’s rock’n’roll Motor City style!

Please order from Amazon using the shopping widget to your right. I'll receive a tiny percentage, helping me defray the costs of this site. Your support is appreciated.

Thursday
Nov102011

New Books Mixed Bag

The Vault by Boyd Morrison

Touchstone, $24.99, hardcover

Crack thriller author Morrison has written an ideal summer afternoon read: explosives, mystery, ancient Greek mythology, partners and a race against time. You're reading this in early winter; I began to read The Vault on a sunny Sunday, and found myself blowing off other plans to continue reading on my deck, outside. The Vault is more than your basic summer beach-read; I was hooked quickly and sustained my interest in the characters. I'm not reviewing the book; this is an alert to you to buy a copy so you can read it. 

Outlaws Inc.: Under the Radar and on the Black Market with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers by Matt Potter

hardcover, $27, Bloomsbury  

Wow, James Bond movies are brought to life in Outlaws Inc. Real life. Russian military veterans, doing what they were trained to do best, on the open market. Flying around the world, in and out of war zones, transporting whatever money pays for. Mix in a half-million dollar Russian cargo plane, one of the largest flying things in the world, and a wide-open attitude toward good and bad, and you’ve investigative journalism reading like a Tom Clancy novel. These guys will fly humanitarian aid or nuclear devices; no real problems either way. I’m amazed that author Potter got inside this small group, earned their trust and was able to get out and write the book. This is a movie script if ever I read one.

How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture and the Quantum Revival by David Kaiser

I won’t pretend I read this book. Savor that title, though, and tell me it doesn’t attract your attention and make you curious. The cover photo assists the effort, too.

I’m attracted to any topic involving the 1970s, the counterculture, and the use of LSD to help deal with the mysteries of quantum theory. Apparently the physics field was stagnant then, funding was drying up, but there were curious minds and a whole lot of unanswered questions about physics and quantum theory. So in Berkeley, California (of course), this ragged group of physicists began to meet after their job days to talk about, what else, quantum theory. At some point they began calling themselves the Fundamental Fysiks Group. Remember Uri Geller, who could bend spoons with his mind? They were influenced by him, and got into all kinds of psychic and paranormal phenomena, including ESP, the spirt world, telepathy, mind control, and Eastern mysticism. Eventually garnering legit recognition, their research into Bell’s theorem actually changes mainstream physicists’ thinking, revitalizing the field.

 Who could make this stuff up? If nothing else, people will be impressed when they note this title on your bookshelves.

The Chitlin’ Circuit - And the Road to Rock’n’Roll by Preston Lauterbach

$26.95 hardcover, WW Norton

Lauterbach delves deeply into the early days of rock’n’roll in Memphis, and in Georgia, as black R&B artists were working hard to get out of scary little roadhouses and into the bigger world of recording and performing for, believe it, white audiences. Little Richard, for example, comes to life on these pages, as do many other performers most readers are likely unaware of.

More than a history of a segment of American roots music, The Chitlin’ Circuit delivers the reader into the time, the places, and society. Smell the smoke and listen to the music. Sweaty and passionate and real, just like the music, Lauterbach nails it.

The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War by Andrew Roberts

Hardcover $29.99, Harper  

This has all the earmarks of “an important book.” I believe it is. Over the course of 672 pages, Roberts uses his engrossing writing style to emphasize the important historical point that if Adolph Hitler had conducted Germany’s military actions in World War II only to win the war, if he’d kept political ideals out of the mix, Germany certainly may have overcome the Allied effort. This isn’t a new outlook by any means, but nobody has captured the unimaginable story of this war, and the world at the time, and the thinking of the great military leaders on both sides, in one succinct volume like Roberts has. An amazing work.

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite

hardcover, $24.99, Little Brown

My initial attraction to this book was the Stephen King blurb on the top of the front cover! Otherwise there was little to catch my attention, but if King says a book is “a hell of a good novel...” I’ll give it a shot. The publishers knew how important King's words are; how aften is an author's p.r. splash above the title, on the cover?

I'm glad I paid attention to the marketing attempt. After you experience The Terror of Living you’ll reflect upon knowing this is Waite’s first novel, and know you will probably never write one yourself. Considering King likes it so much, and the use of the word “terror” in the title, I want to make clear this isn’t a horror story. It involves characterization, forgiveness, lots of moral searching, a good bit of action, and superior storytelling. Tell me that’s not enough for you! I couldn't put it down.

The Map of Time by Felex J. Palma

trade paperback, Atria Books, $26  

Beginning a bit slowly with the story, Palma weaves his word-magic and enveloped me in the life and mind of Andrew Harrington. Just when I thought I had a handle on this guy’s life and ambitions, his world, blam, Harrington changes it all up. This guy dives head-first into new directions; always with passion, probably what attracted me the most to him as a character. Then mid-way through the book the whole world turns upside down once more. When time travel enters one’s life, all the rules change! This is a great story; you will read the entire book. There’s no classification for The Map of Time; call it science fiction, call it adventure fiction - I don’t care, I call it engrossing and rewarding.

Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel; American Showman, Daredevil and Legend by Leigh Montville

hardcover, $27.50, Doubleday

Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, hearing that Knievel would be appearing on Wide World of Sports usually meant Howard Cosell would be there as well. Two of the most out-sized personalities in the world, in the same place at the same time, always created riveting drama and television. As if the simply "are you kidding me?" motorcycle jumps Knievel attempted weren’t enough to justify staying inside on a weekend afternoon to watch TV.

In that era, we knew next to nothing about people like Knievel; the newspapers and magazines of the day only told us what the publicists allowed. It was clear Evel Knievel was different. They broke the mold on this guy, but only in later decades did his hard-drinking, brawling lifestyle come to be known to most of us. For a long time Knievel was merely a personality to me; a daredevil who didn't seem to care too much about himself. Montville found the people in his life who would talk openly about him, and weaves a pretty dramatic, if at times sad, life story from everything.

If you can find his memorable radio interview with Jim Rome from a few years ago, listen closely and enjoy. Even as an older, broken man, he had massive spirit and belief in himself, which only someone as skilled as Rome could handle and bring out over a telephone. He was a unique personality, a throwback to the previous century. 

Author Montville is a superb writer; his research is first-rate and he basically brings both Evel Knievel and the pop culture of the era to life in this biography. Knievel was a bit more complex than I anticipated I’d find he was, but certainly still aggressive and hard to figure out. He's not the cartoon I anticipated. Compelling.

Full Black by Brad Thor

hardcover, Atria Books, $26.99

I experience mixed feelings while reading (and enjoying) Thor’s novels. Each of the three or four I’ve read have been fast-paced adventure stories. Scot Harvath comes alive enough for me to care about him and his friends; the missions on behalf of the U.S. government are logical. I’m certainly caught up in the plots; ex-Navy SEAL Harvath and his associates are involved in critically important missions to right wrongs the U.S. government doesn’t quite get to, wish to handle openly, or fully understand.

Here’s my rub: author Thor has deeply felt conservative feelings that echo throughout his writing. He's not subtle with his politics. Whether I agree or disagree with any one sentiment or attitude, I sometimes wonder if his novels aren’t a thinly-disguised screed about modern-day foreign policies. This gets in my way at times, when I feel he’s not covering up his own attitudes enough. Perhaps he doesn’t care and isn’t trying to be careful; I don’t pretend to know. But sometimes the political underpinnnings get in the way of my straightforward enjoyment of Thor's books. Of course, I read adventure novels to be carried away to a different world, not to be reminded of today's headlines.

Full Black is a nicely done novel. National security is a massive issue in today, and it’s at the core of the plot. Thriller fans will be very satisfied.

Guts and Glory: The Golden Age of American Football, 1958-1978 by Neil Leifer

oversize hardcover, $49.99, Taschen

I was almost speechless as I paged through this amazing coffee-table book. Yes, phenomenal photography is expected, and it’s delivered. Yet I was still unprepared for how much of a body blow some of these photographs are. Jim Brown almost runs straight off the page into my lap! Even photos I’ve seen before are revealed as new peeks into the long-gone, rough and dirty days of American football.

Yet there’s so much more to the experience than the photography. I’m impressed with the writing, the narrative, actually kinda overwhelmed by the entire package. Guts & Glory: The Golden Age of American Football is to football books like watching an NFL game for the first time on a 55” high-definition flatscreen. What an experience. I’d buy a coffee table for this book if I didn’t already own one!

75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking by Paul Levitz

more than oversize; a box that fits on a coffee-table, $200  

This isn’t a book review. I’m letting you know that should you be any type of comic book fan at heart, be in love with American popular culture, or more specifically DC Comics, you owe it to yourself (and your descendants) to park a copy of 75 Years of DC Comics in your home somewhere. Some coffee-tables aren’t going to be sturdy enough to handle this thing; it’s a beast. 

I grew up a comic book fan. Even as a member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society as a kid, I avidly read Batman and Superman and other DC titles. As an adult I was involved with the industry for years on the publishing side. I knew Paul Levitz, compiler and author of this wonderful work, when he was head of DC. Having seen many wonderful, extravagant packages put together over the years in the field, I was nonetheless unprepared for wondrous box.

I’m tempted to tell you how much it weighs rather than give you a silly page count.

75 Years of DC Comics is much more than a history of graphic storytelling from this particular company. It’s even more than a labor of love from Levitz, though I’m sure it’s all that. Somehow this brings to life a significant part of America, as seen through the eyes and words and brush strokes of diverse people from around the world. Every page, each look, brings to life a different individual memory, just like the pages bring alive characters and time periods. In comparison to the modern comic book world of endless storylines, gimmicks, endings that don't ever take place, characters dead or alive, the Golden and Silver Age of DC Comics appears remarkable clean, adventurous, exciting and emotionally tugging.

I cannot even begin to accurately describe the design elements that went into this package. Go to the Taschen website, electronically leaf through the book, and you’ll be wowed. I’m here to tell you that’s the equivalent of seeing a photograph of a piece of original art. Somehow find a way to have a copy of this in your life if you count passion for DC Comics as an important element of yourself. The only thing that would improve it is Batman on the cover! (I know, I know).

Please utilize the Amazon shopping widget on my site to the right for ordering any of these books. I thank you.