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The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman, Robert K. Massie
Life - Keith Richards Petra made me do it, really. To say I don’t care for The Rolling Stones would be an understatement. Hate the music, never thought they were any good, I would never give them a first, much less a second thought. The power of her great review of [b:Life|9439303|Life|Keith Richards|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327960451s/9439303.jpg|14323907] got me out of the comfort zone. Seriously, what does a conservative, career military guy have in common with a “longhaired, dope-smoking, good-time rock-&-roller?” Turns out there are a few things. I was impressed with his (and Jagger’s) focus on hard work and becoming proficient at the basics of making music early in his career, his modest boyhood, an appreciation of his grandfather Gus (who sounded like a guy I’d like).

I’m sure a Stones fan would get more out the many vignettes he relates on his interaction with many famous members of his generation in the music and popular culture crowd. His relationship with John Lennon and the Stones – Beatles interaction was a surprise to me. The influence of blues, soul and the growing black music industry on Richards and others was also a revelation but it makes sense. There are several instances where the efforts of various governments to harass the group are humorous, yet display the power of a big and, at times, ridiculously paranoid government. That is something I can relate to, given what is happening nowadays. I also loved it when the Brit government tries to impose the confiscatory 83-98% tax regime on the group and they split for other countries. Take that, socialists! When he loses a child, you get another side to the guy. Of course, whatever happened to him as a result of all the drug use, I couldn’t have cared less or felt any sympathy. His choices.

In all, this was a look into a world I have never seen or had much interest in (really no interest in). I enjoyed his writing although I must admit the slang would probably amuse someone from the UK more than me. It’s good to go outside your boundaries on occasion and not become one of those who won’t read a book because you don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle or politics. This is a good story and I’m glad to have read it. Thanks Petra. 3 Stars