This is an interesting look back at many bands that defined my youth, and as such made for an exciting read. However, in the end it feels incomplete and somewhat meandering, and often seems based more on available sources rather than on true significance to the genre (and some staggering genre-jumping is part of the problem here).
A complete history of second-wave American punk needs to include Germs, the Dead Kennedys (referenced by allusion and the occasional quote repeatedly, reiterating their importance), X (same as above), and Meat Puppets, just for starters.
The book at first seems to try to place its focus on the nascent hardcore scene, but then takes wild detours when focusing on Butthole Surfers (who were more symbolically associated with the noisy/thrashy aspects of the genre rather than being an actual hardcore band) and Beat Happening (who have no relation whatsoever to hardcore, and only peripherally to punk). I mean, Bad Brains, Flipper, and the Big Boys were as seminal to the HC scene as anyone else, even if they don't have the same 'founding fathers' legacy that characterizes Black Flag or Minor Threat (I also agree with many reviewers that the Fugazi chapter really belongs elsewhere).
Although I am a big fan of Sonic Youth and Big Black, I don't really consider them as defining elements of the hardcore or the 'indie scene' when compared to the Germs or the DKs. Furthermore, I *really* didn't see the value of including the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr... again, apparently more of a decision based on access rather than on actual significance. Mudhoney's chapter, more than anything else, seemed like an excuse to include Bruce Pavitt's generous musings on Sub Pop and the Seattle 'scene' that helped 'break' (in both senses of the word) home-grown punk.
In a different light, this could have been a worthwhile (although limited) outline of a history of important punk and post-punk indie labels (SST, Twin/Tone, Touch 'n' Go, Homestead, Sub Pop, Dischord, and K), but as such would have needed to include Alternative Tentacles, Slash/Ruby, Shimmy-Disc, Posh Boy, Ralph, and quite a few others. Sometimes the bands seemed to be mere commodities within the larger label-centric narrative, which would have been fine if the focus had been to document the rise and fall of the punk indie.
Anyhoo, to wrap up, it was cool to read about Black Flag, Minutemen, Mission of Burma, Minor Threat, and Hüsker Dü. The rest of the book pretty much dragged. I actually find the decade-long scope of the book to be utterly appropriate (from the first rumblings of west coast punk to the 'year punk broke'). I just didn't find it to be either comprehensive or consistent. I didn't feel totally ripped off, either, and that's why the book gets 3 stars. I'd recommend it to those who weren't there and would like some insight on the period, but would probably suggest they check it out at the library or borrow someone's copy first.