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Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul (2016)

de James McBride

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24210106,816 (3.86)26
Biography & Autobiography. Sociology. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:You wont leave this hypnotic book without feeling that James Brown is still out there, howling.The Boston Globe
 
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Deacon King Kong, and Five-Carat Soul
 
Kill Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown embodied the contradictions of American life: He was an unsettling symbol of the tensions between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. After receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth, James McBride goes in search of the real James Brown. McBrides travels take him to forgotten corners of Browns never-before-revealed history, illuminating not only our understanding of the immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated Godfather of Soul, but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Browns enduring legacy. 
Praise for Kill Em and Leave
A tour de force of cultural reportage.The Seattle Times
 
Thoughtful and probing.The New York Times Book Review
 
Masterly . . . powerful.Los Angeles Review of Books
 
McBride provides something lacking in most of the books about James Brown: an intimate feeling for the musician, a veracious if inchoate sense of what it was like to be touched by him. . . . It may be as close [to the real James Brown] as well ever get.David Hajdu, The Nation
 
A feat of intrepid journalistic fortitude.USA Today
 
[McBride is] the biographer of James Brown weve all been waiting for. . . . McBrides true subject is race and poverty in a country that doesnt want to hear about it, unless compelled by a voice that demands to be heard.Boris Kachka, New York
 
Illuminating . . . engaging.The Washington Post
 
A gorgeously written piece of reportage that gives us glimpses of Browns genius and contradictions.O: The Oprah Magazine.
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» Mira també 26 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 10 (següent | mostra-les totes)
C’est avec un angle de départ bien particulier que James McBride aborde la biographie de James Brown pour tenter de comprendre sa personnalité. Le racisme du sud des États-Unis, sans lequel il serait impossible de saisir le personnage, ses excentricités, ses peurs, sa fierté, son rapport à l’argent et aux femmes et… son caractère difficile.

S’en suivent la célébrité, l’argent, le fisc, la descente et la prison pour un retour en grâce et à la fortune et une fin dans un corps usé par la drogue et les douleurs.

Et l’héritage ? Ha, les 100 Mo $ qui devaient aller pour l’éducation des enfants ? Ils patientent… ( )
  noid.ch | Mar 14, 2022 |
This is no traditional, linear biography. McBride gives us a view of James Brown as complex as the man himself. There were times where I really liked that, and I certainly learned more about Brown than I knew previously, but there was enough repetition and circularity that I became impatient at times and wanted more story. Still, this served as a good reminder of how I actually do like to read about music more than I think I do, and I look forward to exploring in more depth some of the musical tangents discussed in this book.

********
Read Harder: Biography ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I have the hardback.

I liked a lot about this book. McBride is one of my favorite authors. And I think the fact that he’s a musician helped add a dimension to this book that may not have been there otherwise.

The only problem I had with it is that I felt like it really glossed over the way Brown treated the women in his life.

It’s a well-told, pretty concise biography. If you’re interested in Brown’s life and music, it’s probably worth picking up a copy. ( )
  jennyo | Jan 17, 2018 |
"In the instant-information Internet age, every truth contradicts another truth: Brown was crazy. Brown was a genius. Brown was a woman basher. Brown was abused by gold-digging women. Brown was cheap. Brown would give away his last dime. Stick your finger in the dike to cover one lie and water bursts out of another hole. You have to choose what to believe. And therein lies the real story of James Brown, who was more southerner than he was black or white, more sensitive artist than he was superstar."

This is an interesting biography of the amazing James Brown, Godfather of Soul, well-researched and dispassionately approached. Locating Brown's controversial roller-coaster career in the racial and class politics of his time, McBride presents Brown's talent and creativity through the lens of a sophisticated musical theorist and historian. Each chapter centers around one key figure in James Brown's life: one of his wives, a member of the band, a manager, a friend, and so on. This brilliant approach allows us to see the musician's humanity, to learn about him through the eyes of those who knew him best. At first it seems that McBride only chose those who loved James Brown and that is to some degree true, but the story reads as true. The consistent theme is that James Brown was difficult to know, that his self-protective armor came down for no one. It is also that he was vulnerable and afraid much of the time.

My main quibble is that McBride repeats himself. It's as if he wrote each of the chapters after interviewing that particular person in James Brown's life but didn't bother to go back and identify some of the points already adequately articulated.

My second, less vehement quibble is that McBride too often lapses into soulless lists of people, usually musicians, who illustrate a quality or a historical trend or a theme in James Brown's life. What's great about this is that the artists he names matter ~ and too many of them are poorly recognized and/or were badly treated by an industry steeped in the racism and sexism of the broader society. What's not great is that the names remain lost without more context. McBride could have spent more time making whatever case the names support; these artists' place in the story of James Brown and, indeed, the story of American culture and music is interesting! It's worth telling. I wish McBride had spent more time telling the story of the context in which James Brown's life and work changed the world and less time telling me yet again that he spent three hours after each performance having his hair done before he would be seen again in public.

Still, it's a worthwhile read and an insightful examination of the Godfather of Soul and the society in which he made his mark. ( )
1 vota EBT1002 | Jul 25, 2017 |
A Citizen Kane-style search for the man behind the legend. McBride is openly and unapologetically biased on some points, but it's a very interesting read. ( )
  amanda4242 | Jul 10, 2017 |
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Biography & Autobiography. Sociology. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:You wont leave this hypnotic book without feeling that James Brown is still out there, howling.The Boston Globe
 
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Deacon King Kong, and Five-Carat Soul
 
Kill Em and Leave is more than a book about James Brown. Brown embodied the contradictions of American life: He was an unsettling symbol of the tensions between North and South, black and white, rich and poor. After receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth, James McBride goes in search of the real James Brown. McBrides travels take him to forgotten corners of Browns never-before-revealed history, illuminating not only our understanding of the immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated Godfather of Soul, but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Browns enduring legacy. 
Praise for Kill Em and Leave
A tour de force of cultural reportage.The Seattle Times
 
Thoughtful and probing.The New York Times Book Review
 
Masterly . . . powerful.Los Angeles Review of Books
 
McBride provides something lacking in most of the books about James Brown: an intimate feeling for the musician, a veracious if inchoate sense of what it was like to be touched by him. . . . It may be as close [to the real James Brown] as well ever get.David Hajdu, The Nation
 
A feat of intrepid journalistic fortitude.USA Today
 
[McBride is] the biographer of James Brown weve all been waiting for. . . . McBrides true subject is race and poverty in a country that doesnt want to hear about it, unless compelled by a voice that demands to be heard.Boris Kachka, New York
 
Illuminating . . . engaging.The Washington Post
 
A gorgeously written piece of reportage that gives us glimpses of Browns genius and contradictions.O: The Oprah Magazine.

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