Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley Paperback – May 2 2006
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I did some research when looking for a good bio of Bob Marley, this seemed like the most accurate and unbiased one. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2012 by ariel
Catch a Fire was a great book. It helped me to better understand the culture of Rastafarians and the type of life which a Rastafarian lives. Read morePublished on May 31 2004
It's been some time since I read this book TWICE. First bumping into it at the library and then buying my own copy on-line... Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by Daniel Leibovitz
If your into Bob Marley this is a must have book. You will love this book and get hooked on it and won't want to stop reading it. Read morePublished on March 22 2004 by Ben Gonzalez a.k.a Rhino
I really enjoyed this book and thought it provided great insight into Bob's early life as well as Rastafari and Jamaican culture. Having said that, it seemed like Mr. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2002 by Matthew Potter
This book is the best biography on Bob Marley. It talks about his life and his rise to stardom. It also discusses the Rastafarian religion, and Ras Tafari (Haile Salassi). Read morePublished on July 11 2002 by Phil Silverware
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