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NY.: Gotham, p. As the lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison s searing poetic vision and voracious appetite for sexual, spiritual, and. Jim Morrison book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. As an artist and persona, Jim Morrison epitomized the late s, bri. Stephen Davis. Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend. New York: Gotham, x + pp. $ (cloth), ISBN Reviewed by Jill Silos.
Like reality television, today's popular biographies seem more intent on revealing the most intimate and sometimes less savory aspects of an individual's life than on interpreting why those aspects may be significant in the bigger picture of the past. The latest biography of Jim Morrison, self-proclaimed "erotic politician" and lead singer of the s rock band The Doors, is a case in point.
In Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend, author Stephen Davis speculates on the sensational aspects of Morrison's life that have transfixed many a youthful fan. For example, Davis considers whether Morrison's varied sexual experiences may or may not have included trysts with both men and women and whether his volatile partnership with common-law wife Pamela Courson may or may not have led to his death.
He also casts doubt on Morrison's authenticity--questioning whether his ability to capture the very essence of longing and rebellion in his theatrical posturing might have been a calculated challenge to mainstream standards of acceptable public behavior. All of these issues are intimately connected to Morrison's image as a sexual icon. After all, Morrison, whose rise to fame rested as much on his good looks, libidinous charisma, and intense romantic obsession with the more primal elements of the human experience as it did on his music, seems like a perfect case study for an exploration of sexual identity during an era when the rallying cry "the personal is political" led to an assault on traditional sexual standards.
Such a study might provide fertile ground for a new understanding of the cultural dynamics of the sexual revolution or the influence of celebrity on contemporary mores.
Unfortunately, the opportunity for any thorough consideration of such meaningful issues is squandered in this volume. Davis, who argues that Morrison embodied a full-blooded attempt to break down oppressive standards of social and sexual conduct, does not support his contention with anything even vaguely resembling appropriate documentation.
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Second, Davis, in creating such brief historical and cultural summaries, provides at times superficial accounts and, I'm sorry to report, gets many facts wrong.
Morrison, for example, never read Nietzsche's The Romantic Anxiety.
S Volume 1 ISBN 0-679-72622-5
He read Praz's The Romantic Agony. Davis also oversimplifies everything he says about Morrison's literary influences and doesn't mention many of them. Another major problem is that Davis writes with zero excitement. He just gives the facts, and, in a way, this is good, especially if you want a flawed encyclopedia of Morrison's work.
But the book does succeed in treating Morrison as what he was: Even though Davis gets many of his facts wrong, he proves that Morrison was a well read, highly intelligent, and visionary poet, who knew just what he was doing.
This means that, unlike what many too cool music critics today would suggest, The Doors, along with The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground, were the most important band to come out of America in the s. They also introduced shamanism, the occult, and dark introspection into American pop music.
But most of all, they pioneered the idea of experimental music in the mainstream. Jazz, folk, blues, hard rock, noise rock, cabaret, theater, and poetry come together in their complex musical structures. Davis doesn't go into depth with any of this. But he writes about it in hints and starts. In conclusion, I'd recommend this book as a good place for Morrison and Doors' newbies to start, and as a nice reference book to have on hand.
But just remember that some of the facts are off and superficial and that the music, as always, is really where the truth lies. Jun 01, Donna rated it it was amazing. This is my first book on The Doors. I thought it quite comprehensive and appreciated the chronologic format and the bit of surrounding history of the time. Kind of gritty and raw at times. I found myself getting sad and depressed.
I forgot how much was going on in the world. Not sure if things changed that much. I did note that the musicians of that time were generous with each other and told others to make sure they see other bands, etc.
The way this book was pr This is my first book on The Doors. The way this book was presented makes me wonder how and why Robbie, Ray and John stayed and put up with Jim.
At the end of the book, Ray was quoted that there was good times and Jim was fun. There is so much mystery and cover up surrounding the end days.
At least the music survives. View 2 comments. Nov 14, Bogdan Diaconescu rated it it was amazing. I recommend this book to everyone who liked The Doors and is intrigued about how Jim Morrison became a legend. Jul 19, Steve rated it really liked it. He lent me a copy of this book, and whereas I thought the documentary was kind of weak, I felt that this biography of Morrison was truly engaging.
Jim Morrison was such a complex individual, full of contradictions. He could be sensitive, caring, and was no doubt extremely charismatic, but at the same t I recently watched the Tom DeCillo film "When Your Strange" about the Doors, and discussed my impressions with a neighbor who also happened to catch the broadcast on PBS's American Masters series.
He could be sensitive, caring, and was no doubt extremely charismatic, but at the same time there was a side to him that was selfish, cruel, and narcissistic- almost to pathological extremes.
What I liked about the book is that all of this was captured in Stephen Davis' portrayal of the man. You really got a sense of the intellectual and creative genius of Morrison, and of the self destructive streak that brought him to his demise. At the same time, this was a brilliant account of the turbulent era that was the late 60's, and the book provided fascinating accounts of Morrison's interactions with a who's who of the world of rock, poetry, art, and film.
Morrison himself, upon reflecting on his life, had this to say "I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown-which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments".
Awaited over 6 months for this book to be published and was let down almost immediately. Almost all but 2 pictures have been published before and the story itself has already been covered by previous bios.
Still, it's an ok read for the uninitiated, but for those who have read other Morrison bios, there is nothing new covered here--except maybe that the surviving Doors were not the best friends with Morrison that they now make themselves out to be.
One glaring error was the author has Morrison a Awaited over 6 months for this book to be published and was let down almost immediately. One glaring error was the author has Morrison arriving in Paris in June '71 when in fact he had been living there since March. Would've loved new info from post-Miami to July '71 and would've loved to have seen rare photos from that time.
Dec 04, Tyrone rated it really liked it. This is hands down the best biography of Jim Morrison that I have read so far. It tracks his life, from childhood, growing up in various different towns in the US moving as his father was posted to different naval bases to his meteoric rise and fall as The Electric Poet.
The tone of the book is great, and was quite depressing as Jim drowns himself in the bottom of various bottles, all leading up to that fateful night in Paris, Feb 26, Aileen rated it it was amazing. With hindsight, what a waste of a talented man.
Self-destructive even from his college days, it seems he was destined not to make old bones. Dec 07, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: As a fan of The Doors, this was a really interesting book for me. Stephen Davis really captures the life of Jim Morrison in a way which evokes at times great shock, and at times real sympathy.
On reading this one can recognise the rare talent and intelligence that this man had, and leads one to wonder what more he could've given had he not died so young. Jul 25, Courtney Brink rated it really liked it.
Dude was crazy! Like to have a, another kiss.. Mar 30, Lori rated it it was amazing Shelves: The best Morrison biography I have ever read - bar none! And I loves me some Jimmy. May 05, Cody Lerch rated it it was amazing. I am a huge Jim Morrison fan. I happened to stumble upon this book when I was in the bookstore trying to find something to pass the time before my flight boarded. Once I bought it and read the first 20 pages, I was hooked.
This is the best biographical piece of writing I've read on Jim.
To me, this stands out because it's an account more into his private life and less of the legend of the man himself. Jim was damaged, troubled, and battled demons.
Those who saw the greatness, wrote about it and I am a huge Jim Morrison fan. Those who saw the greatness, wrote about it and stuck with it. Stephen paints the image that the greatness was there but Jim deteriorated and accepted the greatness could never stay. I felt the emotions I was supposed to feel when reading about Jim with this book. I felt like I knew him more on a personal level.
It wasn't just keeping the allure of Jim alive, it was about telling his story and Stephen did that. I highly recommend this for any fan of Jim Morrison or the Doors. Doors fans, anyone interested in Jim Morrison. It took me a few months to get through this book, only because I didn't want it to end.
It went everywhere with me; in my handbag, in the car, on the nightstand.
I find Jim Morrison to be a fascinating person. He was incredibly creative, intelligent, a complex soul. Lost and searching, for sure, but still strong in convictions. He at times seems vulnerable, almost childlike not childish, although that could be said, too , someone who for all their rebelling maybe craved structure that he never It took me a few months to get through this book, only because I didn't want it to end.
He at times seems vulnerable, almost childlike not childish, although that could be said, too , someone who for all their rebelling maybe craved structure that he never had.
Mentioning 'structure' in regards to Jim seems outrageous in itself, but who knows, like I said, a complex individual. From reading, it seemed he was happiest while living in Paris writing poetry, at least at first. Too bad he didn't have more time to explore the poet in him. A shame he was gone too soon.
Jim Morrison : life, death, legend
This book was a gift that I'll cherish forever. Jun 29, Brittany Cormier rated it did not like it. There are significantly better books out there on The Doors and Jim Morrison. It almost seemed as though the author had an unhealthy obsession with Jim's sexuality.
He seemed to fetishize Jim and it made me really uncomfortable the further I read. I did not actually finish this book. He was also really sexist in the way that he wrote about women, especially in comparison to how he wrote about men. To be clear, I am not conservative in my attitudes towards sex. That's not the issue I took. This author was just really inappropriate in how he talks about women, and the language he chooses to use.
Not to mention his creepy obsession with Jim. This book was not worth finishing and the author has some issues This is the only biography I have read of Jim Morrison and that too twice! Hence comparison with the others is not possible.
All I can say is that the author has captured the essence of the Lizard King's small but tumultuous life beautifully. This is surely a book to download and keep especially if you are a Doors fan. I have read thousands of books and I have read hundreds of books about rock and roll and bios of the famous and infamous. I have never read a better rock bio I would have dreams about Jim many nights.
It may have helped that I read the last part while in Paris and visited Jim's grave Dec 11, Samuel Saldana rated it it was amazing.The Ravens were fun but mediocre. Rating details. His modern biographers claim he was syphilitic, a closeted homosexual, and suffered from manic-depressive psychosis that gave way to chronic madness.
Would've loved new info from post-Miami to July '71 and would've loved to have seen rare photos from that time. If Im out, bring me to. This books Jim Morrison: They went back to Washington.
Jim attended Longfellow Elementary School.