Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Babylon's Burning by Clinton Heylin

I’m always a sucker for yet another history of punk rock but at 800+ pages, this is both exhaustive and exhausting. Written in the oral history style that made Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me so entertaining and effective, Heylin can definitely tell the story in great detail. That’s also the problem--I found myself reading (and reading and reading) about bands he gives far too much credit and about whom I could care less. Once I allowed myself to skip the many, many passages about lesser bands like The Only Ones, The Prefects and Throbbing Gristle (honestly!), I was finally able to finish the damn thing. An ambitious and often informative book but perhaps the story has been told to death at this point.

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