(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

An acclaimed journalist and author, Michael Schumacher has been widely published in numerous periodicals and newspapers, and is the author of REASONS TO BELIEVE: NEW VOICES IN AMERICAN FICTION (1988), CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS (1990), and DHARMA LION: A BIOGRAPHY OF ALLEN GINSBERG (1992). Schumacher has attempted in CROSSROADS to do more than write a scandalous expose or a mere publicity piece on a celebrity. The author has probed Clapton’s life and psyche and has concluded that the guitarist is a very complex individual. Clapton is not a “god” as was thought by his fans in the mid- 1960’s, but he is an extraordinary figure who through force of will, talent, and sheer luck has more than merely survived a number of heartbreaking tragedies.

Born on March 30, 1945, in the rural English community of Ripley, Clapton is the son of an unmarried English girl, Patricia Clapton, and a married Canadian airman, Edward Fryer. When he was two years old, his mother turned over the responsibility of rearing young Clapton to her mother and stepfather, Rose Clapp and Jack Clapp. Clapton’s mother had been sixteen years old when she gave birth to her first son, Eric Patrick Clapton. A shy child, he began playing the guitar as a teenager. Listening to the radio, Clapton fell in love with American blues, especially the blues as played by Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, and Robert Johnson. During the 1960’s, he was a member of such influential groups as the Yardbirds,...

(The entire section is 467 words.)