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on 5 January 2009
I've always regarded Bowie's Berlin period as the most interesting phase of his career so I looked forward to reading what I thought would be a fascinating insight into his 3 years there, complete with revealing stories of his experiences in the city, his escapades with Iggy Pop and a real feeling for what it was like for him living in Berlin. Unfortunately this book almost totally fails to deliver on those counts. The book only really focuses on the recording of his 3 albums (although the third, Lodger gets a very cursory examination, Low & Heroes recieving a track-by-track analasis, in fact even Iggy Pop's 2 Berlin album's recieve track by track examinations, so why not Lodger?) and these come across as rather tiresome and not particularly interesting. There's very little of the feel of Berlin in the book and next to nothing about what Bowie really got up tp there - the book almost leaves you with the impression that aside from recording albums, Bowie did little else in Berlin! Better parts of the book are the first section covering Bowie's LA cocaine nightmare and the filming of The Man Who fell to Earth, which features information I'd never heard before and was genuinely interesting, and later on the movie Just A Gigolo that Bowie made gets a surprisingly detailed section, as well as shorter articles on Bowie's TV appearances. Overall, though, for a book that is supposed to be about Bowie in Berlin, I found this book to be something of a disappointment.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2008
There are only a handful of decent books written about Bowie - period. They are written by Charles Shaar Murray and Roy Carr, Nicholas Pegg, and David Buckley. After that things get decidedly thin on the ground.

I'm glad to say that Thomas Jerome Seabrook can be added to the list. A New Career In A New Town: Bowie in Berlin is a tremendous book which I happily read in one go. It is well written and entertaining with many anecdotes and observations that I've never encountered before. The author clearly has an understanding of Bowie and the music, withough coming over as a gushing fanboy.

Although I've been a great fan of Bowie's so-called 'Berlin' period, this book made me go back a relisten to virtually all Bowie's work from David Live to Heathen.

Whilst an appreciation of Bowie, especially his late 70's output, is helpful, it's not essential as the book is effectively the story of a successful artist who ignoring commercial success, took a potentially suicidal career left turn and inspired and influenced a generation and beyond.

I can't recommend this book enough.
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VINE VOICEon 4 September 2012
I enjoyed this book a lot. There are some nice pictures some b/w some colour at the front...a minor point maybe to some....but they do seem to capture that time around Low and Iggy albums.
It covers quite a lot of ground...the end of station to station era...man who fell to earth...through to the Lodger album and a little summary at the end.
So what do we get... a well researched write up about the "Berlin Trilogy Bowie albums...except.....that they weren't all recorded in berlin....and the two iggy albums from that period could I guess almost be included.....what comes after quadrilogy....but then Lodger was recorded well after Low and Berlin...so maybe that doesn't really count.
There is a track by track breakdown of the albums in terms of writing and musicians...and lots of interesting facts...the eno visconti relationship...I don't want to give it all away....no track by track info on Lodger in the same way as the others.
If you are familiar with the 33 1/3 series...this book is a little like one of those...but very tastefully done... I read David Bowie's "Low" (33 1/3) a while back...so that would give you some information about Low from a different point of view.
If you are a fan..or maybe just interested in say...The Heroes album... I think a good read
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on 10 September 2012
As other reviewers have commented, the title 'Bowie in Berlin' is something of a misnomer, as this book is not a biography of Bowie during his late seventies stay in Berlin - it is in fact something much better. Seabrook writes with great expertise and insight on the creative process behind the Berlin/ Eno trilogy (he in fact shows that both labels are far from accurate reflections of the process of the albums' creation), as well as the two Bowie-produced and co-written Iggy Pop albums of the period. Having read all the major Bowie biographies, I was pleasantly surprised to find some facts here that I hadn't come across before, but more than anything else, this book will give you a whole new appreciation of these records - I approached them in an entirely new light after reading it. A must for any fan of this most fascinating period in Bowie's career.
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on 13 September 2010
Having lived in West Berlin 1979-80, arriving there just as Bowie and Iggy Pop departed, I bought this book with relish and anticipation. I was keen to compare Bowie's experience of the city with my own. I can not tell you how disappointed I am.

For a start, for only about one third of the book Bowie is actually present in Berlin. For the rest it describes the studio recording sessions in USA, France and Switzerland during this "Berlin" period. This isn't the author's fault as such. And about the only point I gleaned from the book was that Bowie was not actually in Berlin that much between 1976 and 1979.

Of the chapters where Bowie is in Berlin, the text consists largely of an extremely detailed (and somewhat repetitive) discography of who played what instrument on what track. This is necessary, but there is virtually nothing describing Bowie's life in Berlin.

-Nightclubbing? How, for instance, can the author fail to even mention the "Jungle", Bowie and Iggy Pop's favourite Berlin night club where they retained their own reserved table on a Saturday night, on the upper level, where they could see via a mirror the action on the main level below, while not actually being seen themselves.

-Christiene F. How could the author not even mention "Christiane F", the film made in West Berlin, about teenage drug addiction in West Berlin, which almost exclusively uses Bowie's music as its soundtrack. This film was a huge influence on "Trainspotting", which off course uses Iggy Pop's music.

-Berlin Music Scene. How could the author not make any mention of the Berlin music scene at the time he was there. Did Bowie for instance ever meet Nina Hagen?

-Iggy Pop Concert. Kant Kino. Berlin 1980. This concert is completely absent from the text. David Bowie was playing keyboards. I was there - it was amazing!

-The Capital of Germany? This absolutely beggars belief: How can the author of a book that from its title is supposedly something to do with Berlin, and be completely ignorant of the political status of the city? On two occassions he mentions Bowie returning to "the German capital" meaning Berlin - but Bonn was the capital of West Germany.

The Book seems have been the result of reading the backs of album covers and websurfing old NME reviews. There is clearly no authentic research what-so-ever. I would be amazed if the author has even set foot in Germany. He clearly has no credentials in the form of knowledge or experience that gives him authority to write with any intelligence on this subject.

I am amazed that some of the other Amazon reviewers are so generous with their praise. It is clear that for them, as for the author, the city of Berlin (West Berlin as it then was), is of no particular interest, despite the fact that the book is titled "Bowie in Berlin".

I want my money back!
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on 12 February 2016
I'm very surprised at the negative reviews of this book, and indeed of the style in which it is written. To say the author 'bables (sic) on' is unkind: I find it crisply, and articulately, written, although I agree that, in a very small number of places, it could have been edited more scrupulously. I found it to have interesting things to say about the music itself, and the influences it inspired, as well as other activities Bowie got up to professionally in these years.
The problem for some reviewers seems to be a lack of examination of how Bowie spent his down-time in the city, and to that extent perhaps 'Bowie in Berlin' is a misleading title. However, the music emerging from this period was surely epoch-making, and in my opinion, the book brings this fact out well.
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on 26 May 2008
This book is definately worth a read, though I would suggest either reading Pegg or Buckley' books which span Bowie's whole career first. You will find Bowie in Berlin goes into more depth, so you won't be re-reading the same information.
Bowie in Berlin gives a good introduction into how Low arrived by covering Bowie's time in LA and a detailed account of his time touring and recording with Iggy Pop.
The books strongest point though is the detailed techinal analysis of each song from 'The Idiot' to 'Heroes', it could of been improved if Lodger had recieved the same treatment.
There is a good conclusion of the impact of the Berlin Trilogy's impact and legacy. Overall an enjoying read.
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on 20 June 2015
Oh, I adore this book! I love Berlin; I love Bowie; I love Bowie's music around this period... It's not a hagiography, and the balance between music, technical details and personal anecdotes is perfect.

While Bowie is obviously the focus of the book, much time is also given to Iggy Pop's music of the period, and it's interesting to see how he develops as an artist; how he and Bowie influenced each other on these albums.

An excellent account of a really special period in pop music.
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on 23 March 2008
The strength of this book is the technical understanding of the music. It really passes the test of making you want to hear the albums once again.

It also places the Berlin period in a broader context, starting with DB's time in LA & how it shaped Low, & finishing with a review of DB's influence on future generations of musicians.

Having said this, this book doesn't really evoke Berlin or get us closer to DB. Instead, reach for the Trynka book on Iggy, Hugo Wilcken or the dependable Mr Pegg.

Required reading for DB fans (in this barren time for us, but maybe not first choice for the unacquainted.
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on 26 March 2015
Bought has a present which was well received and enjoyed. I was asked how did I find it, my reply check out Amazon there is not a lot you can't buy there.
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