Toxic Psychiatry: Why Therapy, Empathy and Love Must Replace the Drugs, Electroshock and Biochemical Theories of the New Psychiatry

Peter R. Breggin

“A psychiatrist's devastating critique of how the 'new psychiatry' is damaging millions of people. Biopsychiatry, says Dr. Breggin, is the dominant ideology of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment which frequently announces 'breakthroughs in brain chemistry' to justify the use of drugs, electroshock, involuntary hospitalization and other harsh treatments.”

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 464 pages

Tom of Finland: His Life and Times

F. Valentine Hooven III

Born in Kaarina, Finland, in 1920, he was trained as a commercial artist, played piano in a combo at parties, and was a witty raconteur in a black leather jacket when he visited the States to meet his fans. And he sweated every time he went through customs with his famed erotic drawings, his “dirty pictures,” as he called them, of “proud and sexy” men. “I knew who the boss was,” says Tom of his work, “My cock. It did not matter how much my head liked an idea—or, in later years, how much money I was promised; if my cock did not stand up while I was working on a drawing, I could not make the drawing work.” A bio that traces the evolution of his art as well as his character. GR

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 198 pages

Platteland: Images From Rural South Africa

Roger Ballen

Haunting portraits of the white underclass of the flatlands of South Africa, abandoned by their more affluent white countrymen. Poverty, despair and often inbreeding mark these Afrikaners whom apartheid dealt a raw deal.

Publisher: St. Martin's
Hardback: 144 pages

Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry

Clinton Heylin

This book makes a great case for the archiving of information. Starting with the works of Shakespeare, who “sold [his plays] not to be printed but to be played,” we are treated to a succinct history of copyright as it related to the invention and use of the printing press.
Fast forward to the advent of recording. The main focus of unauthorized recordings was originally opera and soundtracks from movies and Broadway shows. It wasn’t until 1969 that the first rock and roll bootleg appeared. The bulk of this book is concerned with the concise history of rock’n’roll vinyl and CD bootlegs. It is an obsessive chronicle of this phenomenon. Aside from the fact that most bootlegs are of a relatively few artists (Dylan, Springsteen, the Stones), who may or may not interest the reader, this book is a compelling look at the machinations of the record industry. It is only a small exaggeration to say that most artists sign their souls away along with the rights to everything they do. The author presents a believable case in favor of those who “document” through unauthorized recordings “the evolutions and permutations” of this very organic musical form. There is also a lot of information about how the laws of various countries have enabled the manufacture of items of questionable legality (especially surprising are the gaping loopholes in the laws of Italy and Germany). This book came out in 1994. There is an ongoing revamping of copyright treaties, which continue to change as of this writing. No doubt, however, in a world this big there will always be somebody with the appropriate technology who is willing to break the law. SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Hardback: 441 pages

The Cocktail: The Influence of Spirits on the American Psyche

Joseph Lanza

Lanza’s Elevator Music was an appropriately quirky and hypnotic history spiraling from Orpheus to Brigadier General George Owen Squier to Angelo Badalamenti. The Cocktail is also like its namesake: a pleasant, glittery prelude to more substantial fare, such as Barnaby Conrad III’s Absinthe.
Here the author glances at many etymologies for “cocktail” (ranging from a salute to the feather in George Washington’s hat to a “cock’s ale” made from raisins, mace, cloves, ale and the blood of the losing contestant in a cock fight!) before lounging into a medley of liquor-related topics: speakeasies, crooners, and glamorous pre-A.A. dipsophiliacs. The author eschews detail in favor of color and sweeping strokes. His account of the temperance movement’s poisonous blossoming into full-tilt Prohibition is particularly interesting, given today’s promiscuous political liaisons between liberal and fundamentalist elements with a common penchant for anti-glamour legislation. Also charming are descriptions of famous watering holes past, and some present: the flapper-era El Fey in New York, Hollywood’s original Brown Derby, Trader Vic’s and present-day New York’s refurbished Royalton. The last chapter summarizes the Cocktail Renaissance, providing an enticing apéritif to further investigations in lounge aesthetics. RP

Publisher: St. Martin's
Hardback: 168 pages

Hollywood Hi-Fi: 100 of the Most Outrageous Celebrity Recordings Ever!

George Gimrac and Pat Reeder

What distinguishes this book from similar titles is that the writing is laugh-out-loud funny and that these guys actually enjoy these records. They are astute enough to spot such oddball wonders as the Crispen Glover album, the actually very cool post-”boy reporter” recordings of Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen on Superman) and Gloria Swanson’s self-produced attempt to bring Sunset Blvd. to Broadway in the 1950s. There is even a guide to stars with questionable vocal abilities who can only be experienced on video (including Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Jimmy Stewart). SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 128 pages

That’s Blaxploitation! Black Badass Pop Culture of the 1970s

Darius James

“That’s Blaxploitation! is not an exhaustive, encyclopedic or definitive work on the era and its films. Nor does it pretend to be. What it really is, is a celebration and a memoir with loads of unlawfully sarcastic ‘film comments’; hundreds of mediocre reproductions of black-and-white movie stills; bizarre, self-serving interviews; smutty comics; parodies; and promotional books of the era’s most popular films.”
Clutching that caveat firmly in your craw, this book can be a hoot. It has more to do with the aesthetic of zines (imagine Lisa Carver’s Rollerderby, only male and black) than serious film studies. It’s completely subjective and personal, which can be its greatest charm if not taken as a work of great thoroughness or scholarship. It looks messy and homemade, but then so do some of the best and funniest zines.
Among the topics that are tackled by this “tome” are: Shaft, Fred “the Hammer” Williamson, Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, Fab Five Freddy, pimps, Ralph Bakshi; interviews with Melvin Van Peebles, Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Iceberg Slim, Pedro Bell (P-Funk cartoonist) and the Last Poets. SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 195 pages

Waiting for the Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes and the Sound of Los Angeles

Barney Hoskyns

Taking off from the Central Avenue jazz clubs of the ‘40s and touching back down just south of there to witness the emergence of gangsta rap in the early ‘90s, this is one Brit’s overview of the musical culture of “the city of night.” Odd brackets, to be sure—The Bird and Ice Cube—to this predominantly lily-white musical journey. It is a point not lost on the author, who works in a City of Quartz type of analysis of the class conflict and racial tensions simmering just beneath the music’s affable exterior. Here again is that irresistible sunshine/noir dialectic, eliciting expressions as diverse as those of the Beach Boys, Steely Dan and Black Flag, all of whom attempted at one time or another to sum things up with respect to the sublime and apocalyptically abject dream that is L.A. For the author, the best So-Cal songs are slick, lushly produced and orchestrated, outwardly beautiful yet at the same time haunted by their own hollowness. Just like your basic Angeleno, that is. As Hoskyns sees it, the music is just as narcissistic and self-destructive, and is a kind of potlatch of sumptuous, ostentatious surfaces erected solely to be stripped away. Hoskins really hits his stride discussing the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter syndrome of the early ‘70s, for instance, while his appraisal of L.A. punk seems rushed and cursory, and rap even more so. Not scary enough, perhaps—at least not compared to the confessional balladeering of James Taylor or Jackson Browne, the studio epiphanies of Phil Spector or Brian Wilson, or the psycho-delicized ramblings of Arthur Lee or Kim Fowley. JT

Publisher: St. Martin's
Hardback: 384 pages

England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and Beyond

Jon Savage

This is the sort of book that tempts one to drag out the thesaurus and start laying on the superlatives. It not only chronicles the events and conditions that led up to the advent of punk rock but it conveys the energy of the explosion. It is as if Savage had a front row seat and full perspective. The book is divided into five sections which explain how the momentum was built: from December l971through August 1975, and January 1978 through May 1979. At center stage is Malcolm McLaren and his many projects, which included the store Sex, the scene it spawned, and the Sex Pistols. Into this narrative is woven the many threads of trend and circumstance that effortlessly segue “the human history of architecture” into the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll culture, punctuated by quotes from Jung and lyrics from Pere Ubu.
What’s truly amazing about this hook is its scope. Without ever losing its focus, England’s Dreaming constantly manages to carry the reader along tangential, concurrent events showing direct cause and effect. This is by no means an easy feat given the geographical diversity of the parts which were collected to form the whole. And while the author’s choice of which facts to include creates a subjective narrative, great care and effort were used to solicit a wide variety of “versions of the story.” The sociology employed here is not of the shallow pop variety, but a measured consideration rife with insight. The book concludes with an encyclopedic discography of many of the most important bands of this period which is defined by not a regional geographic focus but an ideological one. SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 602 pages

Bruce Lee: The Tao of the Dragon Warrior

Louis Chunovic

An amazing treasure trove of Bruce Lee photos, rare black-and-white film stills, and color spreads, compiled with the cooperation of his family. The text tells the story of Bruce Lee from his Hong Kong boyhood to his martial arts superstardom. Chapters include: “Yip Man and the Hong Kong Kid,” “Small Screen, Big Impact,” “The Tao of Hollywood,” ending with “The Game.” Dynamic, deluxe Hong Kong graphic design shows that their film directors aren’t the only ones leading the pack. OAA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Paperback: 104 pages