FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 29, 2009
PUBLISHED TO COINCIDE
WITH THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF WOODSTOCK
—Now Available in Paperback—
With a Newly Revised Introduction by the Author
Writings on the 1960s
and Its Discontents
“[Gilmore] brings to these much dissected subjects uncommon abilities: a gift for reconjuring the mood of that period in rich, visceral prose, and a knack for limning the connections between the social upheaval abroad in those years and artists’ efforts to explore the possibilities of the newly influential medium of rock ‘n’ roll.” —The New York Times
“The writing here is admiring but unabashedly honest, stripping away the artifice that’s grown around his subjects . . . All in all, Gilmore taps into the heart and humanity of the 1960s, reminding us why a moment nearly (gulp) a half-century ago nearly changed everything — and why it can never happen again.” – Los Angeles Times
With the 40th anniversary of the most iconic music festival in American history approaching in August, there is a renewed interest in the music of the 1960s and 1970s. In NBCC Award-winning author Mikal Gilmore’s STORIES DONE: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents (Free Press; July 14, 2009; $16.00)—now available for the first time in paperback with a newly revised introduction—Gilmore takes a close look at the influential artists that produced some of the most enduring music from that time.
The anniversary of Woodstock is a reminder of an era when music was exploring unprecedented territories, literature was undergoing a radical reinvention, politics polarized the nation, and youth culture was at the zenith of its influence. A time of juxtaposed turmoil and harmony, the 60s and 70s are becoming an anomaly in American history. Never before, and perhaps never again, has there been a generation that matches the contributions of the artists of that time period.
Keeping the power of rock & roll at the forefront, Gilmore gathers together stories about major artists from every field—George Harrison, Ken Kesey, Johnny Cash, Allen Ginsberg, just to name a few. Gilmore reveals the truth about this idealized period in history, never shying away from the ugly influences that brought many of rock’s most exciting figures to their knees. He examines how Jim Morrison’s alcoholism led to the star’s death at the age of twenty-seven, how Jerry Garcia’s drug problems brought him to the brink of death so many times that his band mates did not believe the news of his actual demise, how Pink Floyd struggled with the guilt of kicking out founding member Syd Barrett because of his debilitating mental illness.
As Gilmore examines the dark side of these complicated figures, he paints a picture of the environment that bred them, taking readers from the rough streets of Liverpool (and its more comfortable suburbs) to the hippie haven of Haight-Ashbury that hosted the infamous Summer of Love. But what resulted from these lives and those times, Gilmore argues, was worth the risk—in fact, it may be inseparable from those hard costs.
In STORIES DONE, Gilmore weaves together these dynamic and diverse cultural figures and events while exploring the social, political, and emotional characteristics that defined the 1960’s and 1970’s. His insights and examinations combine to create a eulogy to a formative period of American History. “Almost all the arguments that have mattered in our culture and politics these last forty years,” writes Gilmore, “have been a reaction to the brink that those times approached.” STORIES DONE is a paean to the music and culture of an unforgettable era.
Free Press will publish Mikal Gilmore’s next book, THE ALBUMS: The Story of a Life Lived With and Without a Music Collection, in July 2011. THE ALBUMS is what Gilmore considers a “partner” to Shot in the Heart. In it he continues to pursue ongoing questions about unbearable loss, impossible redemption, and reconstructing a life devastated by unimaginable grief and pain. The albums of the title describe his lifetime collection of recorded music that takes on both metaphorical and metaphysical dimensions as the story unfolds.
About the Author
Mikal Gilmore has written for Rolling Stone magazine since the 1970s. His first book, Shot in the Heart, was a National Book Critics Circle and Los Angeles Times Book Award-winning memoir about his older brother Gary, the infamous subject of Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song. It was adapted into a movie for HBO. He has appeared on such national media as Larry King, 20/20, Charlie Rose and National Public Radio.
More Praise for STORIES DONE
“Rolling Stone writer Gilmore looks back on the powerful cultural influences of the 1960s, not from nostalgia but out of respect for its representation as an upheaval of social conventions…it is an incredible
recap of the kinds of social and artistic forces—and personal demons that stretched the boundaries
of personal freedom, sometimes with fatal results.Not just writing as an observer but also as a participant, Gilmore (Shot in the Heart, 1994) brings a sharp eye to a turbulent period on the American arts scene.” —Booklist
“STORIES DONE plays like an album of love songs—the best kind, the ones about longing…”
—The Sunday Oregonian
STORIES DONE: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents * Mikal Gilmore * Free Press
July 14, 2009 *391 pages * $16.00 * ISBN-978-0-7432-8746-3
To download high-resolution images of Free Press covers, authors, and selected interior illustrations, as well as press releases, author bios, etc., please visit www.SimonandSchuster.net
For Mikal Gilmore:
Elaine Schock, 818-932-0001