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When Lester Bangs died in 1982, rock music criticism died with him. Few have equaled his sheer output or the fierceness of his forceful flights of prose. Gilmore, whose writings have appeared primarily in Rolling Stone, sometimes comes close to recapturing Bangs's spirit. In this collection of 18 essays, all but two of which have been previously published, Gilmore ranges over topics as diverse as Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Jim Morrison, and Johnny Cash. In a series of essays on the Beatles, he investigates the mysteries behind George Harrison and John Lennon, uncovering the already well-publicized acrimony among the Beatles. Since many of these essays were written as long as 17 years ago, their power has faded. The Allman Brothers have undergone many changes since 1990, when Gilmore wrote about them, and his essay capturing the dark underbelly of the band seems rather outdated now. Some of the pieces, notably the ones on the Beatles, suffer from repetition. Overall, Gilmore's collection should find a place on the shelves of large public libraries.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.