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Comrade Rockstar: The Life and Mystery of Dean Reed, the All-American Boy Who Brought Rock 'n' Roll to the Soviet Unionby Reggie Nadelson
Synopses & Reviews
Dean Reed had one of the strangest careers in the history of popular culture. Failing to gain recognition for his music in his native United States, he achieved celebrity in South America in the early 1960s and then, unbelievably, became the biggest rock star in the Soviet Union, where he was awarded the Lenin Prize and his icons were sold alongside those of Josef Stalin. His albums went gold from Bulgaria to Berlin. He made highly successful movies and, naively earnest, was an unwitting acolyte for socialism; everywhere he went, he was mobbed by his fans. And then, in 1986, at the height of his fame, right after 60 Minutes had devoted a segment to him, finally giving him the recognition he had never attained at home, he drowned in mysterious circumstances in East Berlin.
Drawn magnetically to his story, Reggie Nadelson pursued the mystery of Dean Reed's life and death across America and Eastern Europe, her own journey mirroring his. As she traveled, the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union crumbled, and Reed became an increasingly alluring figure, his life an unrepeatable tale of the Cold War world. Encountering the characters-- musicians and DJs, politicians and public figures, lovers and wives--who peopled Reed's life, Nadelson was drawn further and further into a seedy, often hilarious subculture of sex, politics, and rock 'n' roll. Part biography, part memoir and personal journey, Comrade Rockstar is an unforgettable chronicle of an utterly improbable life
"Journalist and thriller writer Nadelson tells the life story of Dean Reed, 'the Johnny Cash of Communism,' and of her own investigation into Reed's life, in a book that, while always fascinating, has trouble walking the line between memoir and biography. The details — of how Colorado-born Reed lived and sang in South America and the eastern bloc and became a star of Elvis-like proportions there — are relayed in a clear and often captivating manner. When the author opines on her personal journey to discover and understand Reed, the narrative is often awkward ('my metaphors collided and crashed: none of them any good') and the findings are sometimes nave ('In the end, the Soviets had not wanted to nuke us; they just wanted to listen to our music'). As 'a kind of travel book through a now half-lost time and place' — the time being the '60s, the place being the U.S.S.R. — the book is absorbing. And though there are speed bumps (weak images and an oversimplification of complex political events), as the mysteries of Reed's suspicious death begin to unfold toward the end, the author's strengths become apparent, making Reed all the more exciting. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Dean Reed, the American who became the biggest rock star in the Soviet Union was found dead in an East Berlin lake in 1986. In her search for this alluring figure, Nadelson captures the seedy, often hilarious subculture of Soviet rock 'n' roll.
About the Author
A journalist and documentary filmmaker, REGGIE NADELSON is the author of four previous Artie Cohen novels: Red Hot Blues, Hot Poppies, Bloody London, and Sex Dolls. Comrade Rockstar, her biography of Dean Reed, the American emigr who became the biggest rock star in the Soviet Union, is under movie option to Tom Hanks. She was born and lives on New York's Lower West Side.
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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » Biographies