My new Think Again is called “Rupert, We Hardly Knew Ye,” and it’s here (with a special valentine to a Mr. Tim Groseclose).
Mark Schmitt did a longish review of lots of Obama books for the Boston Review, including Kabuki Democracy, here.
(Whole lotta) Alter-reviews
Well, we’ve seen a kind of Macca-pallooza of late. Paul McCartney’s spectacular(s) at Yankee Stadium this past weekend were an awful lot like those of two years ago that opened Citi Field (minus the Billy Joel cameo on Friday’s show, but fans got it on Saturday). Like Brian Wilson’s shows—though on a much grander scale—Paul’s ambition is to recreate, exactly, the sound of his songs in the studio—and to make a case for his post-Beatles career together with the feel good/can’t fail sing along Beatles material—aside perhaps from “Revolution #9"—and so everybody goes home feeling good, and with top ticket prices near $300—richer or poorer, depending on whether you’re Paul or everybody else.
For everybody else, there’s two really sweet packages out lately, 1970’s "McCartney"—the album that announced the breakup of the Beatles and is Paul’s second or third best album—nowhere as good as “Band on the Run” and probably not as good as “Venus and Mars” but miles better than any of the others, and containing “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which is on par with any song he ever wrote though much of the rest is a throwaway; and "McCartney II," a weird, experimental CD which is worth a couple or three listens but is pretty hard to make sense of. If you read the Amazon page here you’ll get the history of both projects as well as the generous packaging and extras that make the whole thing worthwhile. And if all that is insufficient, you can stare at Paul’s face all you want—pre-work done that makes it look scarily like it did way back when—by picking up this massive collection of the late Linda McCartney’s work. It’s a nice book, divided about evenly between Paul and the entire rest of the world. You’ll see some famous photographs there, of the Stones and of Hendrix, but the cover of “McCartney” is still one of my favorites of all time. I almost bought one recently for $4,500 but the little woman vetoed the purchase—wisely I’m afraid from an investment standpoint. Anyway, you can read all about Linda McCartney—Life in Photographs here. Finally, you can hear Paul rock out on this really fun new Buddy Holly tribute record which has some amazing performances, including Paul’s “It’s So Easy” along with some not bad ones. No terrible ones and most of the songs are great. (Paul owns the rights to the songs in case you were worried that he was not already making enough money.)