Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review of New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans by John Swenson

Just a note that Monday Confessions will be back in a few weeks - I ran out of my free subscription on Linky Tools and need to find a replacement...and do some research about how to promote bloghops, I suppose :)

Now on to the book review! 

I honestly feel that three stars is a somewhat low rating for this book, while four stars would be too much. Rather, it probably sits in the 3.5 star range. It's riveting and I didn't want to put it down; I've visited New Orleans once and have always wanted to go back, but reading New Atlantis made me want to officially plan my second trip. Swenson introduces the reader to musicians who seem bigger than life but in fact exist and people this amazing city, and he should be commended for that.

However, the lack of organization in this book is astounding - to the point where I found myself losing my place and having to go back a page, only to realize that Swenson had jumped from one topic (for example, Helen Gillet and her organization of the January 2007 protest against the violence in New Orleans) to another (the background of James and Trombone Shorty Andrews) with a segway that may or may not have fit into the chapter (in this case, Andrews' brother Glen David's speech at the protest). As a warning,t he author can also get a bit preachy at times - while I understand the issues the government and FEMA caused in the repopulating and rebuilding of New Orleans, some of Swenson's comments on this matter fit while others decidedly did not. My hope is that eventually this book will be reorganized (or rather, organized in the first place) and a second edition will be released, because again - New Atlantis is filled to the brim with interesting material and amazing potential.


"'The best thing about music is you can disappear in the moment.'"

"'When you do something for beauty, it's not meant to be locked up and not shared and showed.'"

"'You want to talk about legacy. Art and culture is the stuff that really counts. Yes, we need clean streets, but use the culture as an economic engine that drives that.'"

"'...when you know where you come from, you can chart a course where you're going.'"

Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews on the Saints winning the Superbowl: "'It was an unbelievable experience. I've never felt like that a day in my life. The energy of the city was great. I don't think the energy of the city's been that good since pre-Katrina. Everybody had fun, there was no words, no violence. It was all fun and celebration, celebrating something we never celebrated a day in our lives. It was like a moment of recovery. Everybody was so friendly, walking up the street. People that didn't even know each other were hugging. It was a beautiful night." Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment