Something in the Air (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “The radio business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.” One of many appealing things about Something in the Air: Radio, Rock, and the Revolution That Shaped a Generation is that the author, while conceding Thompson’s points about the medium’s cash nexus, is a true fan who appreciates its potential, albeit rarely achieved, for greatness. As an adolescent, he listened to raconteur extraordinaire Jean Shepherd on a cream-colored transistor hidden under a pillow and in college hosted his own all-night show. Like the late David Halberstam, who died in an auto accident in 2007, Fisher proves himself to be an esteemed journalist, an excellent historian, and, at times, an insightful participant-observer. Based on a hundred interviews and extensive secondary research, his book contains “not a bit of dead air” (to quote from a Publishers Weekly review) and is a welcome supplement to Erik Barnouw’s three-volume A History of Broadcasting in the United States (1966-1970).
In a dozen chapters about broadcast innovators, Fisher captures the vicissitudes of a nearly century-old industry adapting to technological change and defying periodic predictions of its impending demise. “As it ages,” Fisher writes, “radio absorbs the new, co-opts the rebellious, and reinvents itself every...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Booklist 103, no. 8 (December 15, 2006): 8.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 21 (November 1, 2006): 1110.
Library Journal 132, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 111.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (January 28, 2007): 11.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 47 (November 27, 2006): 44.
Wired 15, no. 1 (January, 2007): 76.
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