"This well-written, witty, and highly original book addresses topics not previously given much thought in print."
--Lewis Porter, "The International History Review"
," . . [M]oving and stimulating. . . . McKay states that his goal has been "to refigure British jazz history to more comprehensively include its ideological assumptions and actions." He has succeeded . . ."
--Julian Cowley," The Wire"
"As a British cultural historian. . ., George McKay is the real deal: the book demonstrates the remarkable reach and relevance of this school of criticism. . . . [T]his book becomes massive in its scope."
--Richard C. Taylor, "Altar Magazine"
"The title could mean that the book is long-winded, but it is not! George McKay has assembled a vast amount of documentation to give us a history of Jazz in Britain. . . . [A] fascinating book! Highly recommended."
--Lawrence Brazier, "Jazz Now"
"This is a book that has been waiting to be written for some time. . . . [McKay] has trawled through an impressive amount of jazz literature, and propounds some stimulating thoughts about why jazz has always been a counterculture in Britain."
--Alyn Shipton, "Jazzwise"
"McKay manifests that crucial characteristic associated with the best research, a readiness to be surprised and puzzled at what he discovers. . . . The larger value of his study is . . . the incisive analysis of the way context creates the meaning and function of text."
--Bruce Johnson, "Arena Journal"
""Circular Breathing" is painstakingly well documented with copious references, including a myriad of personal interviews with activists, musicians, and fans. Through this long journey, many fascinating stories and unexpected facts are revealed, while a host of questions, contradictions, and paradoxes are explored."
--Robert Rawlins, "Notes"
""Circular Breathing" is quite simply the best book so far on jazz in Britain. George McKay acts as a cultural archaeologist, digging up traces of a ninety-year musical presence and writing them back into history. He comments acutely on a music which can be peripheral and exclusive but which he rightly sees as vital to the story of Britain's social and political evolution."--Andrew Blake, author of "The Land without Music: Music, Culture, and Society in Twentieth-Century Britain"
"George McKay's book plugs a significant scholarly gap and provides a much-needed cultural history of jazz in Britain. . . . This book is a hugely impressive, detailed, and fascinating cultural history of jazz in Britain and should be recommended not only to cultural historians but also to historians of the Cold War, the British Left, and those interested in race relations and national identity in twentieth-century Britain."--James J. Nott, "American Historical Review"
"McKay has written an excellent study of one of the many new cultures and cultural spaces of postwar England. His emphasis on space and culture, gender and space, and race and identity make this a strong work well worth the time to read. . . . [H]is book places the playing and study of jazz music in clear class terms as few scholars have before him."--Gordon J. Marshall, "Journal of British Studies"
"It is only by reading "Circular Breathing," George McKay's skillful examination of race relations, gender issues, and the Left in relation to British jazz, that we can understand why British jazz wasn't at the center of the European free-jazz revolution. . . . [V]aluable and imaginative scholarship."--Stephanie Hanson, "Bookforum"