Kurt Loder MTV I loved this book, which is so redolent of the periods it covers. The history of hip, from the beginning. Lewis MacAdams connects all the dots Monk and Miles, Burroughs and the Beats, Pollock and Sartre and Warhol and Dylan in this vivid chronicle of the birth of a new postwar culture, high on art and Zen and heroin, too. The saga of the crazed jazz conguero Chano Pozo is worth the price of purchase alone.
Andrei Codrescu NPR commentator and author of Messiah The elusive quality of "cool" needed a poet to keep it still long enough to glimpse its awesome pervasiveness. For generations of Americans, "cool" has been the alternative to hypocrisy, the creative challenge to boredom, the hallmark of distinction. What began as the search for an attitude of defiance and beauty on the part of some Black musicians became a veritable "cool rush" in the last decades. Lewis MacAdams charts the complex flows of this cultural force from its underground roots to its present ubiquitousness. This is a cool book written by one of America's coolest poets.
Jim Carroll author of The Basketball Diaries This book's a dead-on hit. MacAdams combines a reporter's sense for research with a poet's voice. It's not just the facts he comes up with, but that the facts are so entertaining.
Rubin Martinez author of The Other Side: Notes from the New L.A., Mexico City, and Beyond and associate editor of Pacific News Service Birth of the Cool reads great, and connects dots that somehow have become disconnected over time. From the ethereal breath of jazz players to the inimitable gait of zoot suiters, from beatific bards searching for satori to pop musicians hiding their pain behind the baddest of shades, cool is not just highest sign of American signage; it is the very house of our being. Cool smashes the border between high and low art, cuts across the lines of race and class, provides a link between peoples and places with little in common other than their desire to reimagine themselves through style and create a language for that which cannot be spoken. MacAdams's cool prose an epic yet restrained ode delivers the aesthetic history of twentieth-century America and prepares us for the cool to come.
Robert Farris Thompson Professor of History of Art at Yale University The Doctor of Cool-ology's text is in and it's witty, informative, and rich essential reading for anyone following American popular culture.