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on 1 December 2017
Had to return my copy because the formatting was not correct on the kindle version. From start to finish, everything was italicised, making it almost impossible to draw distinctions between the different parts of the text. Quotations and commentary, for example, seemed to run into each other, as if merged together throughout the whole text. This is a shame, for what I read of the book was very good. Indeed, if the formatting on the kindle book was corrected I'd repurchase it. Until then I shall have to make do with my library copy or consider purchasing the more expensive paperback or hardback version. 4 stars because the content is good.
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on 25 April 2014
Not buying it. An impassioned argument that a few musicians and activists nearly created a revolution. I was there and didn't see it myself.
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VINE VOICEon 28 February 2009
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. There is also the matter of the egocentricity of many of the leaders which sometimes tends to overshadow the causes they represent. There are times when one begs the question as to whether the leadership is really using the causes they represent merely to boost their own profile, because certainly over the longer period ego does seem very much to take the place of logical thinking.

Really this book proves a must for anyone who wants to find out a little more about what exists behind much of the music of the times, because 'There's A Riot Going On' really puts you there right within the context of what was happening. This is also a book which can aid anyone in more general terms who are interested in knowing what was happening - sociologists and historians, especially.

If there is a drawback to 'There's A Riot Going On' it is that its sheer scope sometimes makes it a difficult read, not in the way of being hard to understand necessarily, but because there isn't always a clear thread running through and topics tend to get picked up and dropped, so its often a case of going back over what you've already read to get a clear perspective before perservering. That sounds like a criticism, but it's not in a way because the attention to detail Peter Doggett has afforded his subject is quite astounding and means that it would prove hard for it to be any other way. It's a truly enlightening read, ultimately, and all praise deservedly goes to the author.

Well done Peter!
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on 31 December 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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on 26 December 2012
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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on 3 October 2007
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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on 18 July 2008
This book proved to be a fascinating read, and cleared up many misconceptions I have had about the sixties/early seventies. I'm still trying to get my head around the demise of all the main protagonists, and feel that Doggett's portrayal of them was both sympathetic and realistic.
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on 12 February 2008
I really, really wanted to like this book. It focuses on a vital period in our recent cultural and political history, and promises much in its tale of the relationship between the counterculture, rock music and oppositional politics. The book, however, is failed by Doggett's limitations as a historian. Not once does he explain what his argument is. It seems that he is convinced that rock music was a viable force for change in the late 1960s but never does he explain in depth how music influenced the wider political scene; nor does he offer concrete evidence or theory with which to back himself up.

Interspersed with material gathered from numerous interviews with musicians who were active at the time is a sophomore account of the politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It skims over the rise of the Black Panther Party, the decline of the counterculture and all the other usual suspects that pop up in these accounts. That Doggett cites a book entitled _Black Panthers For Beginners_ is indicative of his grasp of the history of the period and of his rather skimpy secondary research.

Ultimately, this is a large book that offers the reader very little beyond a cursory and highly selective narrative of the period. It might do if you are unfamiliar with the music and politics of the 1960s but anyone more informed should stay clear. Look instead to more intelligent works, such as those by Iain Anderson, Brian Ward, Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, Allen Matusow and so on. There is not much going on in Doggett's book.
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on 28 October 2007
This is a fantastic book. The subject matter, counter-culture in the 60s, has been done before, but Peter Doggett uses his considerable writing skills to masterfully weave the big history of political events in with the smaller biographical details of musicians lives. He obviously loves his subject matter, and that passion really comes across in the writing. A must read for anyone interested in music, politics, or the 60s.
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on 22 October 2013
Did I mention this book was dull? It is very dull and very long winded. A great cure for insomnia.
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