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Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves, and Demons of Marvin Gaye [Hardcover]

Michael Eric Dyson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Mar 2004
From the critically acclaimed, best-selling author of Holler if You Hear Me, a fresh reassessment of the remarkable life, art, struggles, and death of an American icon. Twenty years after his murder at the hands of his own father, Marvin Gaye continues to define the hopes and shattered dreams of the Motown generation. A performer whose career spanned the history of rhythm and blues, from doo-wop to the sultriest of soul music, Gaye's artistry magnified the contradictions that defined America's coming of age in the tumultuous 1970s. In his most searching and ambitious work to date, acclaimed critic Michael Eric Dyson illuminates both Marvin Gaye's stellar achievements and stunning personal decline--and offers an unparalleled assessment of the cultural and political legacy of R&B on American culture.Through interviews with those close to Gaye--from his musical beginnings in a black church in Washington, D. C., to his days as a ladies' man in Motown's stable of young singers, from the artistic heights of the landmark album What's Going On? to his struggles with addiction and domestic violence--Dyson draws an indelible portrait of the tensions that shaped contemporary urban America:

Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books (10 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 046501769X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465017690
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.8 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,490,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Such is the genius of Dyson. He flows freely from the profound to the profane, from popular culture of classical literature."

About the Author

Michael Eric Dyson, named by Ebony as one of the hundred most influential black Americans, is the author of sixteen books, including Holler if You Hear Me, Is Bill Cosby Right? and I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr. He is currently University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He lives in Washington, D.C. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The best-selling Motown artist of all time, Marvin Gaye also transcended the boundaries of rhythm and blues as no other performer has ever done. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 7 Mar 2003
Michael Eric Dyson attempts to explain the deeper meaning between Tupac's life and work. The result is a dull and confusing book, which is hardly worth the time and certainly not worth the cost. Fistly, this is definately not a biography of Pac's life. Apart from his childhood, Dyson barely touches on the events of Tupac's life and death and he doesn't mention anything about Deathrow Records or Suge Knight. Instead he tries to express his own theories behind "Thug Life". This could have made absorbing reading as there is much one can read into Tupac's art. However, I found Dyson extremely pretentious, and the points he made were largely irrelevant and dull. He tried to prove his superior intellect by using long, complicated vocabulary, making each sentence imposible to understand. I went through whole chapters not knowing what the hell he was talking about. I certainly didn't get a better understanding of Tupac's mentality and beliefs, something as an ardent fan, I really wanted. I also found that at times he went over the top in his praise of Tupac. At one point he compared him to a messiah. I love Tupac, but I found some of this a little hard to swallow. Overall, I would say that this book is not worth reading as you are unlikely to gain anything from it. Personally, I am yet to find a really good Tupac biography, however I would recomend, to anybody who is interseted in Deathrow Records and west coast gangster rap in general, to read "Have Gun Will Travel", which I found really absorbing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
At first I was doubtfull about reading yet another biography of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, I expected to find the usual infortmation about his childhood, the 95 shooting and his death. I was pleasntly suprised to find that it included lots of unusual information which even I didn't know. The book also included input from people who knew Tupac and people in the hip-hop industry such as his mother Afeni Shakur, Dr. Dre, Warren G, Ray J, Tray Dee and many more. This book is a must for anyone at all interested in Tupac.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Holler If You Hear Me 18 Jun 2004
By A Customer
The book was very slow to get started. The writer goes in to too much depth on certain issues, and it gets slightly baffling and confusing. This isn't the kind of book you want to pick up after a couple of drinks either, it will send you into a frenzy about your mental state after trying to work out what some of the words mean. To start with it takes a lot of time talking about Tupac's mum, but as a fan i want his life! Not the history of his family! If your incredibly smart and could say that Charles Dickens Great Expectations is your favourite book, you probaly wont want this book but will probaly undestand it better then the more moronic of us. Overall the book was way to heavy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and Meaningful 28 Dec 2001
I really enjoyed this book despite the fact that i have read every 2pac book out there. This book covers new ground and doesn't repeat the same old tales you have heard in every other magazine article and book. Where it does cover the same stories it adds new insight to them.
This is the first book written by someone who seems to like tupac and actually seeks to uncover the true man behind the thug persona.
If there is one critisism then it is that the author tries to show of his own intelligence by going into subjects unrelated to Pac and apparantly using a thesaurus to find the biggest words possible to describe it. But for the most part it is an excellent book and the sidetracks the author takes are relevant.
If you love pac buy this and if you don't know pac and want to find out about him buy this!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly pretentious 21 Oct 2007
I also found Dyson rather pretentious. I agree that he tries to demonstrate a superior intellect by using long, complicated vocabulary that leaves you reeling. I did actually get a better understanding of Tupac's mentality and beliefs but I found the book confusing. There were virtually no dates in the story, so it was hard to place the events. I agree that he goes too far in his praise of Tupac. It was a bit cringe-worthy in places. Well, quite a lot, really!
I think the trouble is that Dyson is writing in an academic way but the book cover tries to flog it as one that is accessible to all. I find it hard to believe that it was a bestseller (as it says on the jacket.)
Some fascinating bits in there - like the history of the 'n' word and the 'b' word but I'm now looking for a more straightforward biog on Tupac for my purposes (research).
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