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There's A Riot Going On: Revolutionaries, Rock Stars, and the Rise and Fall of '60s Counter-Culture [Paperback]

Peter Doggett
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Nov 2008
Between 1965 and 1972, political activists around the globe prepared to mount a revolution, from the Black Panthers to the Gay Liberation Front, from the Yippies to the IRA. Rock and soul music supplied the revolutionary tide with anthems and iconic imagery; and renowned musicians such as John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan were particularly influential in the movement. This is the definitive account of this unique period in modern history; a compelling portrait of an era when revolutionaries turned into rock stars, and rock stars dressed up as revolutionaries.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (6 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847671144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847671141
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"'An extraordinary book...Doggett emerges triumphant. Grab a copy - By Any Means Necessary.' (5 stars)-Mojo * 'Peter Doggett's weighty tome is a treasure trove of countercultural anecdotes and reportage.' - New Statesman * 'Tells the story in an exemplary way.' - Financial Times * 'Doggett has mastered hundreds of interviews, contemporary accounts and documents to put together this meticulously researched, scholarly and often gripping portrait of an era.' - Sunday Telegraph * 'Doggett's encyclopaedic account of Sixties counter-culture is a fascinating history of pop's relationship with politics, examining the establishment's skill at assimilating rock 'n' roll rebellion into the mainstream.' - Independent"

Book Description

'An extraordinary book...Doggett emerges triumphant. Grab a copy - By Any Means Necessary.' (5 stars)-Mojo

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The sixties era, certainly in so many respects, but especially for the music, will always be remembered. I, like many others love all eras of music, but it is very much the sixties which has laid the foundations for what has followed, and in doing so, and consequently being the first, has maintained being (arguably) the most exciting and innovative period in the history of popular culture. Of course, not all the music from this period is political, but much of it (even when subconsciously) reflects the cultural changes, and this book quite superby reflects that. It almost manages to give a running commentary to the social events/changes of the time that after reading it, those records never quite sound the same again, such is the listener's greater understanding.

For a short period (mid sixties - early seventies) it really did seem like it was possible to change the world. Maybe because after the post war years people had more money, were better educated and did feel they had the faculties to question authority, especially concerning black rights, the vietnam war, and women's liberation. The details contained in this book concerning those groups desiring revolution - the Black Panther group, the SNCC, the White Panther group and the Yippies etc. are truly revelationary, not just within the details of the lengths these groups would go in pursuit of their causes, but also in their desire to ensure they gained as much publicity as possible by rallying many of the top musical stars to their causes. Not all pop stars wanted necessarily to relate, or get too heavily involved, and sometimes it wasn't always easy to know where to draw the line, which was especially true of John Lennon.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Superficial 31 Dec 2008
For me this book was very disappointing. There are many examples of the naivety and posturing of rock stars of the period, most of whom emerge with little credit, but as social history this book is badly lacking. Although Doggett covers most of the 1960s' social movements his discussion of their politics is superficial and there is very little about the social conditions and changes which gave rise to these challenges to the status quo. So if you're looking for any kind of analysis of why the 1960s were a time of such turmoil and how that was reflected in rock music you won't find much here. Doggett's focus is on the `stars' and their relations with various `revolutionaries'. This gets tedious, especially in Doggett's recounting of the antics of A.J. Weberman and his Dylan Liberation Front who seems to have been no more than an obsessive who represented almost nobody but himself. On the other hand you're left wondering why, for instance, both candidates in the 1972 US presidential election had to commit to ending the war in Vietnam when by Doggett's account the peace movement was in disarray and decline. Such wider questions might be beyond the remit of this book but as another reviewer has pointed out, Doggett doesn't say just what his purpose or argument is. And the book finishes on a very negative note with no assessment of what lasting significance the progressive aspects of 1960's counter-culture might have had, rather it's as if it all collapsed into dust in the early 1970s.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I would strongly advise anyone with a passing interest in the counter-culture of the 1960s, or enthusiasm for the Rock music of the Era (and political insurrection generally!) to pick up this important and timely book. Peter Doggett has performed a staggering feat in combining the historical sweep of 1965-1972 with intimate details of the people and organisations that rose up to change the world, but were undone by their own egotism, the machinations of government and the rampant commercialization of the music industry. It's about Rock Stars and political dissidents and should be a call to arms in our culturally impoverished times, where war abroad and apathy at home is rife. Stunning.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, Dull, Dull 22 Oct 2013
By AndrewH
Did I mention this book was dull? It is very dull and very long winded. A great cure for insomnia.
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1.0 out of 5 stars There's a Poor Book Going On 26 Dec 2012
By delwboy
Have to agree with the negative reviews of this book. A big disappointment, trivial, and dull. It's difficult to see how such a vibrant period and subject could be made so uninteresting.
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I enjoyed this book because the subject matter, the 1960s, is endlessly fascinating. The author sweeps across the landscape of late sixties political militancy, from the Yippees and the Weatherman movement to the Black Panthers, as well as their collaborators in the entertainment industry and the avant garde. However, the forensic accounts of political intrigues inside these various groups and their battles with the US political establishment were a bit too tedious in places for a casual reader like myself. Much more interesting were the anecdotal accounts of the antics of John Lennon, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe MacDonald and others as they flirted with and/or funded many of the campaigns of the day, whether it was civil rights and social issues, US withdrawal from Vietnam or a host of other hippy inspired stunts largely motivated by celebrity gesture politics. Quite a lot of the book is devoted to how the counter culture's leaders sought out Bob Dylan to lead their so-called "revolution" only to be met with Dylan's intellectual indifference and shifting political allegiances to the right. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in late 20th century American social and cultural history.
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