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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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My Cross to Bear

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My Cross to Bear Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As one of the greatest rock icons of all time, Gregg Allman has lived it all and then some. For almost fifty years, he's been creating some of the most recognizable songs in American rock, but never before has he paused to reflect on the long road he's traveled. Now, he tells the unflinching story of his life, laying bare the unvarnished truth about his wild ride that has spanned across the years.

The story begins simply: with Gregg and his older brother, Duane, growing up in the South, raising hell with their guitars, and drifting from one band to another. But all that changed when Duane and Gregg came together with four other men to forge something new — a unique sound shaped by soul, rock, and blues and brimming with experimentation; a sound not just of a band, but of a family.

Bringing to life the carefree early days of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg holds nothing back — from run-ins with the law to meeting girls on the road, from jamming at the Fillmore East to experimenting with drugs. Along the way, he goes behind the scenes of some of greatest rock music ever recorded, without shying away from the infamous and painful deaths of his brother, Duane, and Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley. Speaking for the first time about the profound impact that his brother's death had on him, Gregg offers a tribute to Duane that only a younger brother could write, showing how, to this day, he still confronts the grief of losing his big brother, even as Duane continues to guide and inspire him.

Setting the record straight about the band's struggles in the face of death, Gregg shows how the decision to persevere came with a heavy price. While the rock and roll excesses of drugs, alcohol, and personality clashes led to a series of breakups that culminated with the band's permanent reunion in 1989, Gregg fought his own battle with substance abuse, going to rehab no less than eleven times and floating through a string of failed marriages, including his tabloid-frenzied relationship with Cher, before finally cleaning up once and for all.

Capturing the Allman Brothers' ongoing, triumphant resurgence as well as his own recent fight against hepatitis C and featuring over one hundred photos from throughout the band's history, Gregg presents a story as honest as it is fascinating, providing a glimpse inside one of the most beloved and notorious bands in the history of rock music and demonstrating how, through it all, the road goes on... forever.

Review:

"Back in 1971, the Allman Brothers Band lost Duane Allman — by any standards one of rock's greatest guitarists — to a motorcycle accident, and a year to the day later, Berry Oakley, the band's bassist, died the same way. In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul, carrying us back to his childhood with his older brother, Duane, their days at military school, the first time he picked up a guitar and started making music, the first songs he wrote, his love for Duane, his voracious appetite for drugs and sex, and his countless sexual conquests, his broken relationships and his addictions, and his deep love for music. Like an old bluesman riffing through a tale of love, loss, and redemption, Allman sings the story of the band's early days as Hourglass and the Allman Joys, the glory days of playing the Fillmore East, the struggles to pull the band back together after Duane's and Berry's deaths, and the failures and successes of his own solo career. In the end, Allman, writing with music journalist Light, has produced a fiercely honest memoir." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

This is a story about musical brotherhood. Rich and moving....Nothing less than profound. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years. Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"A soul-searching rumination on a hard-lived life....For generations of fans, Allman's book provides insights into the many turns in that long road....My Cross to Bear carries a welcome seal of honesty." USA Today

Review:

"Packed with juicy anecdotes, gripping details and raw energy....Fans of the Allman Brothers Band are certain to relish the revelations....My Cross to Bear provides a window into Allman's tortured soul — he presents himself as a man cracked and flawed, yet somehow intact." Birmingham News

Review:

"This book is everything you could hope for: in a grizzled, laconic drawl, Allman provides a rambling backstage account of his five decades with the Allman Brothers Band, and he doesn't seem to hold anything back." New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

For the first time, rock music icon Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, tells the full story of his life and career in My Cross to Bear. No subject is taboo, as one of the true giants of rock 'n' roll opens up about his Georgia youth, his long struggle with substance abuse, his string of bad marriages (including his brief union with superstar Cher), the tragic death of brother Duane Allman, and life on the road in one of rock's most legendary bands.

About the Author

Gregg Allman is one of the original members of the Allman Brothers Band and a legend of American music. A recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and continues to make music as a solo artist and with the Allman Brothers. A multiple Grammy Award winner, he has sold millions of records around the world, with his most recent album, Low Country Blues, debuting at No. 5 on the Billboard chart. He lives in Georgia.

Alan Light is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The former editor-in-chief of Spin and Vibe magazines, he is a two-time winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Marie Angell, November 20, 2012 (view all comments by Marie Angell)
Your enjoyment of this book is likely to directly correlate with your interest in the Allman Brothers Band, either through being a Baby Boomer or a musician. Otherwise, it's a coin toss.

Certainly you get a something of a sense of the forces that shaped Gregg Allman and the rocky road leading to the creation of the Allman Brothers Band and the drive that sustained it. You get some intriguing glimpses into the hard work of creating music and the rough business that is the music industry. The one thing this book best accomplishes is showing that playing music for a living ain't easy.

While the book is amazingly prolific in recounting the chronological journey of Gregg Allman's life, it's frustratingly devoid of real depth. He continually refers to women as "beautiful" with little detail, states that music managers stole from the band but seldom explains how, and jumps through all his marriages with only odd bits of scene. As a lurid for-instance, he tells us plenty about the Bob-Mackie created shirt Cher wore on their first date (and what happened to that shirt) yet only a few genuine elements of their marriage (including little more than a passing reference to producing a son in that relationship).

Not surprisingly, since celebrities tend to be just like us, Allman comes across as a moderately amiable man, more reactive than proactive, who remembers more than you might expect considering the amount of substances he abused.

The book reads very much like a long, fairly well-organized conversation with Allman, for which the glory surely goes to the under-credited Alan Light. Light certainly must have had his hands full trying to pull this memoir together. Having read a number of rock star memoirs, I appreciate Light for ensuring Allman's story didn't leave too many gaps in the history of the band, which is one of my chief complaints with memoirs (what I call "Then 20 Years Later Syndrome").

On the other hand, I wish Light had insisted on a few less "slept with this crazy but beautiful woman in this town, then a beautiful crazy woman in the next town" stories (stories which are usually not even fleshed out, so to speak, if you're reading only for salacious love life details). Better to have asked Allman to describe some key events and conflicts in more than passing reference, or least provided a little more than empty descriptives of so many people and events. Of course, that may have been the best Light could get out of Allman.

That said, most people who pick this book up for whatever reason will find themselves engaged, thanks to the varied topics quickly covered. On the other hand, the reader will be as likely to frequently wish for more detail, whether it be about music creation, Allman's sex life or a sense of the times.

Could be better, could be worse. Probably a song in that.
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Little Wolf, August 1, 2012 (view all comments by Little Wolf)
A journey through past, geography, music, and madness. If you remember The Allman Brothers with some fondness, this book takes you there, with the expected thrills, and some welcome kindness.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062112033
Publisher:
William Morrow & Company
Subject:
Composers & Musicians
Author:
Allman, Gregg
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 24 oz

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Featured Titles
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » Biographies
Biography » Composers and Musicians
Biography » General
Featured Titles » Biography

My Cross to Bear
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 400 pages William Morrow - English 9780062112033 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Back in 1971, the Allman Brothers Band lost Duane Allman — by any standards one of rock's greatest guitarists — to a motorcycle accident, and a year to the day later, Berry Oakley, the band's bassist, died the same way. In his memoir, the rambling and rambunctious Gregg Allman lays bare his soul, carrying us back to his childhood with his older brother, Duane, their days at military school, the first time he picked up a guitar and started making music, the first songs he wrote, his love for Duane, his voracious appetite for drugs and sex, and his countless sexual conquests, his broken relationships and his addictions, and his deep love for music. Like an old bluesman riffing through a tale of love, loss, and redemption, Allman sings the story of the band's early days as Hourglass and the Allman Joys, the glory days of playing the Fillmore East, the struggles to pull the band back together after Duane's and Berry's deaths, and the failures and successes of his own solo career. In the end, Allman, writing with music journalist Light, has produced a fiercely honest memoir." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , This is a story about musical brotherhood. Rich and moving....Nothing less than profound. Life, love and music from one of the most influential American recording artists of the last 40 years.
"Review" by , "A soul-searching rumination on a hard-lived life....For generations of fans, Allman's book provides insights into the many turns in that long road....My Cross to Bear carries a welcome seal of honesty."
"Review" by , "Packed with juicy anecdotes, gripping details and raw energy....Fans of the Allman Brothers Band are certain to relish the revelations....My Cross to Bear provides a window into Allman's tortured soul — he presents himself as a man cracked and flawed, yet somehow intact."
"Review" by , "This book is everything you could hope for: in a grizzled, laconic drawl, Allman provides a rambling backstage account of his five decades with the Allman Brothers Band, and he doesn't seem to hold anything back."
"Synopsis" by , For the first time, rock music icon Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brothers Band, tells the full story of his life and career in My Cross to Bear. No subject is taboo, as one of the true giants of rock 'n' roll opens up about his Georgia youth, his long struggle with substance abuse, his string of bad marriages (including his brief union with superstar Cher), the tragic death of brother Duane Allman, and life on the road in one of rock's most legendary bands.
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