I don't see any point in contradicting the reviews of this book that have already been published here, because some of the observations are true. However, rather than focusing on what this book doesn't seem to offer (and for those of you clamoring to hear interviews with Stuart's widow(s), I am not among you), I was much more taken with what it does have. As an American who has been captivated by Stuart and his work since I was thirteen, I know that I loved the music - both Skids and Big Country - and was saddened that most fans on both sides of the Atlantic failed to hear or appreciate much beyond the products of early success. For just a few days more than a decade now, I have struggled with the man's passsing, but I have also been somewhat incredulous as to why the music didn't reach a bigger audience. I've made my peace with that, to some extent, with the solace that his music will always be here, and new fans are born every day.
This book does chronicle a great deal, and much of it was new to me, despite nearly three decades of devotion to Big Country and the Skids. After listening to each of those albums countless times, it was especially helpful and gratifying to get perspective and context from Dunfermline natives such as Glen and Rankin. And if it's a reach to suggest that such insights have helped me to appreciate memorized music on a different level - if only a little - than it's a reach I feel comfortable making. As it happens, I never fully appreciated what a producer does for a record until I heard rough cuts from the Crossing before Steve Lillywhite began working with the band in the studio. And I will always be somewhat stunned by the notion that Big Country's most artistically valid album, Steeltown, is what ultimately doomed them to commercial failure. You don't have to be a genius to realize that Peter Wolf had no business producing a Big Country album. (Dave Bates, you hack.) I realized as much when I was seventeen. But when you read about why "Fragile Thing" wasn't allowed to chart, or why Radio 1 wouldn't play Big Country songs, you begin to understand just how frustrating Stuart's last few years must have been. Those are insights I needed from this book. And they are well presented.
So thank you very much for that, Mr. Glen. I, for one am quite grateful, and a bit confused by all of these tough critics here at Amazon. They seem to have loved Stuart, and his music as well. But like many of us, wallowing in the absence of a true virtuoso, bard and artistic genius, they are perhaps hoping for a sense of closure that we may never get. Stay alive.