Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Glory Days of Youth Culture, Revisited
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI writing in the New York Times, December 29, 2008

Mikal Gilmore’s devastating 1994 memoir, “Shot in the Heart,” was part “Brothers Karamazov,” part Johnny Cash ballad, and it was a remarkable bookend to Norman Mailer’s “true life novel” “The Executioner’s Song.” In recounting the story of how his brother, Gary, in a senseless act of anger murdered two men and in 1977 became the first American in a decade to be executed after a Supreme Court decision restored the death penalty, the author created a wrenching portrait of their family and its sad, violent history of “dark secrets and failed hopes,” which became part of his brother’s “impetus to murder.”

Mr. Gilmore’s experiences left him with a keen sense of the dark undertow of the American dream and a sympathy for the lost, the dispossessed and the dislocated, and this outlook informs both “Night Beat,” his 1998 collection of essays about rock ’n’ roll, and his new book of writings about the 1960s, “Stories Done.”

Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents
By Mikal GfULL PIECE BY nytilmore
391 pages. Free Press. US$27.
Full piece at NYT

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