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Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

William Irwin

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Book Description

Hit the lights and jump in the fire, you’re about to enter the School of Rock! Today’s lecture will be a crash course in brain surgery. This hard and fast lesson is taught by instructors who graduated from the old school—they actually paid $5.98 for The $5.98 EP. But back before these philosophy professors cut their hair, they were lieutenants in the Metal Militia.

  • A provocative study of the ‘thinking man’s’ metal band
  • Maps out the connections between Aristotle, Nietzsche, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Metallica, to demonstrate the band’s philosophical significance
  • Uses themes in Metallica’s work to illuminate topics such as freedom, truth, identity, existentialism, questions of life and death, metaphysics, epistemology, the mind-body problem, morality, justice, and what we owe one another
  • Draws on Metallica’s lyrical content, Lars Ulrich’s relationship with Napster, as well as the documentary Some Kind of Monster
  • Serves as a guide for thinking through the work of one of the greatest rock bands of all time
  • Compiled by the editor of Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book about Everything and Nothing and The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer

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Product Description


The most elucidative dissertation on Metallica ever written. And a kick–ass read to boot!!!
Scott Ian, guitarist for Anthrax<!––end––>

Like philosophy itself, Metallica s music can scare the uninitiated, who fear their brains will hurt. This book makes both philosophy and Metallica accessible to the curious while deepening the experience of those already in the know.
Theodore Gracyk, author of Rhythm and Noise and Listening to Popular Music

Metallica and Philosophy is, at long last, the book which finally gives everyone s favorite headbangers due credit for being intelligent, questioning, and even cerebral.
Joel McIver, author of Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica

Not just heavy metal, not just rock n roll, not just angst or anger or conceptual analysis, but a monster in a category of its own that shows us something dangerous about ourselves and our post–industrial culture.
Dale Jacquette, Pennsylvania State University

"Intellectual snobs and proud low–brows alike may dismiss this as a joke– though obviously not respected academic publishers Blackwell ... as an introduction to some of the major schools of thought, it is no less worthy than popular books like Sophie′s World that have also sought to bring philosophy to the mass market."
Tommy Udo, Metal Hammer

A provocative study on one of metal s greatest bands, this paperback examines the connection between Metallica and highly regarded philosophers like Aristotle and Nietzsche, and uses themes in Metallica s work to illuminate topics such as death, metaphysics, epistemology, the mind–body problem, morality, justice and what we owe one another. Edited by a college professor, chapters include Alcoholica: When Sweet Amber Becomes The Master Of Puppets, To Live and Die: Metallica and The Meaning Of Life and Boys Interrupted: The Drama Of Male Bonding In Some Kind Of Monster.
Metal Edge Magazine

From the Back Cover

Hit the lights and jump in the fire, you re about to enter the School of Rock! Today s lecture will be a crash course in brain surgery. This hard and fast lesson is taught by instructors who graduated from the old school they actually paid $5.98 for The $5.98 EP. But back before these philosophy professors cut their hair, they were lieutenants in the Metal Militia.

Metallica is the thinking man s metal band and the headbanger s CNN. Snobs and music critics have often dismissed Metallica as mindless noise; we re here to set the record straight. In pursuit of truth no matter where it lies, this book considers questions that philosophers have been pondering for ages, including: Does Metallica s music provide an Aristotelian catharsis or does it just make kids go postal? Can Fade to Black save you from suicide? Are we all in the Sanitarium ? How can we Escape to be free? What can Nietzsche tell us about the God That Failed? What can Descartes and One tell us about the relationship between the mind and the body? Did Lars make a sound argument against Napster?

Metallica is more than just a band, and this book is much more than just a ticket to ride down memory lane. This is an in–depth analysis of the soundtrack to your life. So start your CD player, fire up your iPod, or, better yet, break out the old vinyl. We re going for a ride with the four horsemen, and a few philosophers too.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2304 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (1 Mar. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001B3C4RC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #605,564 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metallica is GREAT and so is this BOOK!!! 8 Jun. 2007
By The Great Guldna - Published on
I started listening to Metallica in my teens shortly after the release of RTL. I even quoted Motorbreath in my high school yearbook. At the time listening to Metallica and "acting like a maniac" is what came natural to me. Who would have ever thought I was such an existentialist?

I always felt a deep connection to their music, but at that time I didn't even know what philospohy really meant. Metallica's lyrics provoked my thoughts and the raw power of their music just always felt right to me. So if you were like me ,you didn't get into Metallica to be philosophical. That's not what we were about.

I first picked up this book hoping that philosopy would validate the music of my youth. But as I got into it I soon remembered that I didn't listen to Metallica for anyone's approval. Back in the day I could care less what "other people thought" about most things. And in the end I realized that it's not Philosphy that validates the music. Metallica's lyrics, their music, and most importantly their fans are what validate Philosophy. Somehow I think we knew that all along.

This book was an enjoyable read and helped me realize important things about myself and the music that I love. If you're story is similiar to mine, go ahead and "Jump in the Fire". You want be disappointed with this book.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy & Metal Rocks! 25 Jun. 2007
By Mylissa Graves - Published on
I was given this book by the Editor Bill Irwin & had A Crash Course in reading it! I had 4 days to finish it, what pressure! This books contains 20 essays from 20 different perspectives & although I did not agree w/ some of them I agreed w/ most especially the essay by Rachel Sotos, you will have to buy the book to read her essay, but I related to what she had to say.

The premise of the book is taking the lyrics of Metallica's songs & trying to portray what Jaymz Hetfield was feeling/thinking when he wrote them & analyzing what it all means. This book is meant to get you thinking & to open your mind. They touch on all of Metallica's albums including St. Anger, which is not a favorite among many including me, but reading the lyrics & the analagy makes me think that I should give St. Anger yet another listen to find my own analagy.

This was a great book & I suggest everyone to read it whether you are a Metal Head or not! Metallica fans will LOVE this!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 30 Sept. 2013
By David E. Savastano - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've always considered Metallica to be a "thinking person's" band. Yes, the power of the music is a cut above, but the lyrics go deeper than do those of most other groups. This book reinforces that belief. It is intelligently written by experts in the field who are obviously Metallica fans. The entire concept of relating philosophy to popular culture is great. Plan on reading others as well, and would like to see books on Rush and Pink Floyd & Philosophy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He LOVED it 28 Aug. 2012
By Lexi - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this as a birthday present for my boyfriend as he has been wanting to read this book for a while and he doesn't read very many books, not to mention it's by Metallica and they are one of his favorite bands. I can happily say that he read it within a few days and keeps reading bits of it every so often and fully enjoyed it. I'm glad that I made the purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent buy!! 14 Nov. 2013
By Diogomor - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very insightful. It sheds a brand new light on the lyrics and the inspirations for Metallica's songs. The book elevates the band to a truly iconic status.
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