#BookReview: Determined to Stand

Determined to Stand: The Reinvention of Bob Dylan by Chris Gregory is an in-depth look at Dylan’s work from 1997 to the present. It paints the picture of a gifted artist who was not content to just perform his already iconic songs of the 1960s, but who wanted to change, grow, and explore different types of music and art. This is an extensive review of Dylan’s work from 1997 to present, but it also looks back on his early work and rise to fame. There is in addition a comprehensive discography that includes detailed descriptions of Dylan’s later songs and the author’s review of their meaning and their impact. This is not a tell-all biography of the man. This is a thorough, comprehensive, and meticulously researched review of his work that will impress any Dylan fan and music fans in general.

I do not claim to be an expert on Bob Dylan or even a superfan. I am a casual fan who likes some of his iconic songs, but knew very little about his life and his eclectic body of work. I learned so much about him that I did not know, such as the fact that he became a Christian in the late 70’s and recorded Christian music until the early 1980s. I learned that he was an artist not just in music, but an author and painter as well. Among his many awards are both the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes. That is just a little of the vast amount of information readers will learn about Bob Dylan in this book. The discography is amazing, and the author provides beautifully thought out descriptions, insights, and reviews of each song. The author also walks us through Dylan’s live performances and provides perceptive commentary. This book is not a light read. Determined to Stand is an in-depth history and review of the later work of Bob Dylan, and could easily be used to teach a college course. I would take that class, and I think the author should teach it! I would highly recommend that fans and students of music history check this one out.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. My opinions are my own and are voluntary.

BUY DETERMINED TO STAND

AMAZON UK (The Amazon US link is unavailable at present, but the author is trying to resolve this. Below is a link to the author’s website where it can be purchased instead.

BUY ON CHRIS GREGORY’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(In his own words)

Chris Gregory

I have been exercising my ‘pen’ for many years, thanks to Mum and Dad who ‘hothoused’ me with my  letters when I was a tot!  I wrote my first novel when I was eight (sadly lost!) but have been turning out many millions of words ever since. I’m now a fully independent publisher through my imprint the plotted plain press.

I perform on a pretty unusual stage act as a poet using music, sound collages and multi-media effects.  I have also worked as a teacher and lecturer at all levels inside and outside the education system. It’s my belief, though, that the existence of digital media means that the borders between ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’ are rapidly disappearing. I hope to educate and to entertain!

CHRIS GREGORY’S WEBSITE

#Book Review: Keeping The Lights On For Ike

Rebecca Daniels shares the letters, thoughts, and memories of her parents, Alec and Mary Daniels, mostly during the time when her father was serving in Europe during World War II. Accompanying each letter or story from her parents, Daniels provides the rich history of what was going on in the war, the country, and/or the military at that time. The history is well researched, and the letters of her parents are an interesting look at what it was like to write letters that they knew were going to go through a censor. 

The importance of letters and the post office in general really resonated with me as well. In this day of smartphones, Facetime, and quick emails, few people really think about hand-written letters, but they were the lifeline of families during WWII. Both the soldiers and the families waited hopefully for the post, and when it finally came, drank in the only communication with their loved ones they may have had in weeks or even months.

One of the most poignant quotes for me came from Daniels’ father about the nature of war. I myself have never been in a war zone and would not presume to know what it is like, but his words rang true for me. When talking about a Christmas celebration during the war in December 1942, he said: “…The dinner was a great success and everyone forgot their trouble for a moment and had a grand old time. You see, Mary, a war isn’t all that you think it might be. You just have to be in one to understand how people live almost as they would if no war existed, except for short periods of extreme activity.” Of course, he couldn’t put anything more descriptive than “extreme activity,” or it likely would have been censored.

The letters and snippets of stories from Mary Daniels showed a woman of deep thought with real writing talent. I am the spouse of a retired military member, and when Mary described what it was like living near a Navy yard, that instantly brought me back to my own time living on military bases, and my own visits to Navy shipyards. Mary’s writings that were provided show she had a talent for connecting with the reader.

This is a well-researched and interesting memoir, and really provides a window of what things were like for World War II era couples, separated for so long but trying to keep the lines of communication open.

This is a great tribute from Rebecca Daniels to her parents, and a thoughtful history of what life was like at that time.

I downloaded the book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. I also received a PDF from the author. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Daniels

Rebecca Daniels (MFA, PhD) Rebecca Daniels taught performance, writing, and speaking in liberal arts universities for over 25 years, including St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, from 1992-2015. She was the founding producing director of Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR, and directed with many professional Portland theatre companies in the 1980s. She is the author of the groundbreaking Women Stage Directors Speak (McFarland, 1996) and has been published in multiple professional theatre journals. In 2015, she retired from teaching and moved to the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts where, in 2018, she completed the manuscript for Keeping the Lights on for Ike, a book based on her father’s letter home from Europe during WWII, which was published in 2019 by Sunbury Press. In 2019, she also served as literary manager and co-producer for Silverthorne Theater Company in Greenfield, MA. Lately, she has been working on two full-length plays and recently completed a memoir called Finding Sisters (to be published by Sunbury Press in 2021) that explores how DNA testing helped her find her genetic parents and other relatives in spite of being given up for a closed adoption at birth. 

BUY KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON FOR IKE ON AMAZON

VISIT REBECCA’S WEBSITE

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

JFK

Coming of Age in the American Century (1917 to 1956) by Frederik Logevall

This is the first book of a two book biography of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 

The first book covers the background of his parents, especially the controlling Joe Kennedy. and shows how “Jack” alongside his brother Joe Jr., was groomed for politics from the time he was a child., 

Kennedy’s childhood, education, and romance with Jackie, as well as his military service and the death of his older brother, are covered in-depth. The book ends just as he is deciding whether to run for President. 

This excellent work really sheds light on the whole man by looking at his early life and not just his presidency. It looks at the stressors in his life as well as the accomplishments. And it introduces Kennedy in a personal way to those of us who were born after his lifetime. 

Those interested in US history and presidential biographies will enjoy this book. This is a fine biography that rates five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.

Link to Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/JFK-Coming-American-Century-1917-1956-ebook/dp/B082H31YBH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2FFIGCWABJGJC&dchild=1&keywords=jfk+fredrik+logevall&qid=1601597406&s=digital-text&sprefix=jfk+fre%2Cdigital-text%2C166&sr=1-1

Link to Author’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Fredrik-Logevall/e/B001IXMD9Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1