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Room Full of Mirrors
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New or Used: $8.95
New or Used: $8.95

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About the Author

Charles R. Cross, author of the New York Times bestseller Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain, was editor of The Rocket, the Northwest's highly regarded music and entertainment magazine and the first publication ever to do a cover story on Nirvana. He is the author of three other books: Led Zeppelin: Heaven and Hell; Backstreets: Springsteen, the Man and His Music; and Nevermind: The Classic Album. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Spy, among many other publications. He lives in Seattle.

Reviews

While albums with "rare" or "lost" Jimi Hendrix studio tracks pop up annually, the late guitar god's biographers haven't been as revealing-they tend to regurgitate tired facts or reinforce the image of Hendrix as a rock martyr. Cross, who previously tamed Kurt Cobain's legacy in the best seller Heavier Than Heaven, ends that cycle by tackling Hendrix with authority and objectivity to spin a tale that's as compelling as it is illuminating. Readers are introduced to a boy who grew up in astonishing poverty and social dysfunction in Seattle; Cross also highlights the rocker's faults by detailing Hendrix's exploitation of women and the little-known fact that he was discharged from the military after lying about his sexuality. And he teases readers with passages of letters that Hendrix wrote to his father, Al, before and after becoming famous. Not only does this read like the definitive take on Hendrix but it also positions Cross as the next great rock biographer. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially those in the Pacific Northwest. [See the Q&A with Cross on p. 84.-Ed.]-Robert Morast, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Cross (Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain) turns his thoughtful eye toward another Seattle music icon, Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970). With a storyteller's eye, he captures Hendrix's difficult, poverty-stricken childhood with alcoholic and largely absent parents, rendering it as tragic yet not without its happy, tender moments. After a stint as an army paratrooper, Hendrix knocked around playing guitar in blues clubs in the 1960s, winding up in New York and eventually London, where he established himself as a guitar god, even earning the adulation of the Beatles, before exploding onto the U.S. scene with a 1967 appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. While replete with tales of rock star excess, Cross's narrative, based on more than 300 interviews, describes Hendrix as thoughtful and craving some semblance of order to his life, even as it became steeped in drug use. Of Hendrix's death at age 27, viewed by many as a possible suicide, Cross makes the best case yet for it being accidental, portraying Hendrix as exhausted, unable to sleep and likely taking nine sleeping pills without much thought. There are a number of Hendrix bios already available, but Cross's surpasses them all, both in terms of research and execution. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"An excellent portrait...highly readable...unbeatable both for its moving depiction of [Hendrix's] youth and thrilling rise to fame and for its myth-busting finality"

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