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Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley Paperback – May 2 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 4 edition (May 2 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805080864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805080865
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 2.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Bob Marley, reggae superstar and pop culture icon, left an indelible mark on modern music. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley delves deep into the life of the lionized leader of a musical, spiritual, and political explosion that still reverberates more than a decade after his death. Almost nothing pertaining to the life of Bob Marley is left out; the origins of Rastafarianism (the Ethiopian religion that was the keystone of his life), the roots of the reggae sound, the Jamaican political and social debacle that informed his lyrics--this is a comprehensive account of the life of the artist and the times that produced him.

Catch a Fire is assiduously researched; the details writer Timothy White presents of the King of Reggae's life are cinematic in scope and, at times, cumbersome. White includes much of his primary source material, ranging from full interviews with band members to unearthed CIA documents, and devotes a whole section to describing his exhaustive research process. The final product is rich with elements of spiritual tome, rock biography, and history text; it is a hagiographic epic--the story of a man and his legend. --Brendan J. LaSalle --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Probably the finest biography ever written about a popular musician. "-Joel Selvin," San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Whether you are a Music lover or a Passionate historian like myself Mr. Marley is simply a fascinating individual. Born in poverty in one of the worst ghettos of Jamaica he found Music to be his passion, and through it he weaved Politics, history and love into a common mosaic. Marley's new style, his conversion to Rastafarianism, much to the surprise of Haile Sallaise when he visited Jamaica and was almost crushed by crowds, and his exporting of his music and values to America and Africa is an extraordinary story. From Marley's impassioned plea for feuding politicians Manley and Seaga to 'come together' as well as Marleys succesful tours of the States and his appearance at independence celebrations in Africa. This is the standard text on Marley and it covers everything from the intricate details of his musical breakthroughs, to the history of his religion and even the current affairs of Jamaica.
You will not be disappointed with this excellent, fast paced read which brings the story to a close with Marleys cancerous toe, discovered while playing Soccer in Central Park.
Seth J. Frantzman
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Format: Paperback
I write to say as a stolen African whose Family made it through slavery WITH our last name in tact, it never ceases to amaze me how loving someones cling to ideas and structires constructed to keep them from re-constructing a prid ein themselves and acceptance of themselves as card-carrying members of the HUMAN (ONE) race. Not only was my Family's name, QUASHIE, bastardized predominanatly in Jamaica to mean fool, boy (condescending reference to an adult male of African Ancestry, but the QUASHIE Warriors mostly Farmers in Their free time, originally from Ghana were sent to Jamaica by the British for it was, for lack of a better way of putting this a holding pen for the unruly. It therefore come as no surprise that a land so rich in resources, is unable to rise and soar, since its masses are so content to keep their brains constipated by continually swallowing whatever band food, their lost souls have been, are being, and will probably go on being fed. By the way, We tend to have Black gums, did they tell You that means Our bites are poisonous. OH AND ALL OPF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS BORN ON SUNDAYS, ACCORDING TO YOU ARE IDIOTS. That should make for a great discussion over your next pepper pot. But wait, You probably dont remember how to cook that, do YOU?
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because I'm a fan of Marley's music but I realized I never knew too much about the guy himself. I wasn't disappointed with the content. "Catch A Fire" takes you through Bob's early childhood into when he first started singing and recording, all the way through to his death, with great stories and details along the way.
In addition to a book about his life, this is also a book about Jamaica's history, rastafarianism, and reggae music. It goes into some depth on these three topics, putting Marley's life into historical perspective.
My gripe is that the writing in the book was only OK. For a topic that I was interested in reading about, the book did a poor job of holding my attention. However, I would recommend the book to a Bob fan, because it is filled with stories and anecdotes about Bob's life that I never knew about. I would not recommend this book to the casual Bob fan. You are probably better off just watching that documentary about him. I forget the name of it right now.
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Format: Paperback
In the 1960's at the confluence of the streams of Jamaican independence and the messianic Rastafarian religion, there came a once in a lifetime musical genius who was born, if not in a stable, then in similarly unpromising surroundingss in the mountains of the Jamaican hinterland.
This is a very detailed book that explains a great deal about Bob Marley's background and career. Now I can tell you what a "goverment yard in Trenchtown" (from the lyrics of No Woman, No Cry) means and I know what Duppy Conqueror means. I did not know these things before.
This is certainly not a fan biography, or even a hagiography. In fact Marley does not even come across as a particularly likeable or admirable person. Perhaps there is a reason for this. I have a couple of CDs that have interviews with Bob Marley. It seems to me that Marley was not particularly articulate in person, and that what he had to say was all said in his songs. The author had many interviews with Marley in his lifetime, but none of them seem to have been very profound.
There is something about the style of the author that I don't particularly like, a certain like of directness or reference points, if you like. In a way he admits this in appendixes in which he says that he really has no way of telling what parts of much of the material he was told in interviews is true--so he just quotes it all, and lets you decide for yourself.
In the end it seems to me that White piles up lots and lots of data, but we don't learn much about Bob Marley the man. Maybe in the end the Natural Mystic eludes all attemps to pin him down. But the book does give tons of background information that helps to understand his music, and even the particular events in Marley's life that inspired the lyrics of certain songs.
The book is definitely worth having, but the true essence of Bob Marley lies in his music, which, fortunately we can all still enjoy today.
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