Edition: 2005 (Revised)
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Description: "In this remarkable reflection on the culture of the sixties, Mike Marqusee restores the forgotten moral and political contexts of Dylan's supernova years. In doing so, he rescues one of the most urgent poetic voices in American history from the condescension of his own later cynicism."-Mike Davis, author of "City of Quartz Bob Dylan's abrupt abandonment of overtly political songwriting in the mid-1960s caused an uproar among critics and fans. In "Wicked Messenger, acclaimed cultural-political commentator Mike Marqusee describes the rise of Dylan's artistic ambition at the expense of his activism. Marqusee advances the new thesis that Dylan did not drop politics from his songs but changed the manner of his critique to address the changing political and cultural climate and, more importantly, his own evolving aesthetic. "Wicked Messenger is also a riveting political history of the United States in the 1960s. Beginning with the march on Washington in the summer of 1964, Marqusee traces the formation of the Southern voter registration movement and the rise of the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen. The twists and turns of political and cultural dissent movements, Marqusee says, were anticipated in the poetic aesthetic-anarchic, unaccountable, contradictory, punk-of Dylan's mid-1960s albums "Bringing It All Back Home, "Highway 61 Revisited, and "Blonde on Blonde. Dylan's anguished, self-obsessed, prickly artistic evolution, Marqusee asserts, was not what everyone thinks it was: a movement away from politics. It was a movement away from protest and from activism, it was a movement away from the front lines, it was a deeply creative response to a deeplydisturbing situation. "He can no longer tell the story straight," Marqusee concludes, "because any story told straight is a false one." Mike Marqusee is the author of a number of groundbreaking books on politics and popular culture, including "Anyone But England, "War Minus the Shooting, and "Redemption Song. Born and raised in the United States, he has lived in London since the 1970s.