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A must-read for any fan of Stranger Things.

—HEROIC HOLLYWOOD

STRANGER THINGS AND THE '80s

Since it premiered in the summer of 2016, Stranger Things has become a global phenomenon. It also restored in vivid detail the pulse and feel of a decade: the 1980s. 


The show's creators—the Duffer Brothers—describe the series as "a love letter to the '80s." From its synth soundtrack, to its retro fonts, to its nostalgic nods to Spielberg and Stephen King, Stranger Things is populated with references, homages, and artifacts from the Reagan era. This book dives deep into that world, revealing everything you wanted to know about the series and its influences, including:

 

  • The parallels to the show's biggest touchstone: the 1982 classic, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial

  • The significance of The Clash's hit song, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go"

  • The context behind Dungeons & Dragonswhich incited a national panic in the '80sand an explanation of how the game works in the show

  • The connections to a host of '80s books and movies, including Stand By Me, IT, The Thing, Aliens, and The Goonies

Packed with detail and insight, Stranger Things and the '80s is the ultimate companion to the hit show and the era that inspired it.

MAN IN THE MUSIC

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Brilliantly cracks the DNA of Michael Joseph Jackson. . . . A pointed, intelligent dissection of an epic body of work.

For half a century, Michael Jackson’s music has been an indelible part of our cultural consciousness. Landmark albums such as Off the Wall and Thriller shattered records, broke racial barriers, amassed awards, and set a new standard for popular music.

 

While his songs continue to be played in nearly every corner of the world, however, they have rarely been given serious critical attention. The first book dedicated solely to exploring his creative work, Man in the Music guides us through an unparalleled analysis of Jackson’s recordings, album by album, from his trailblazing work with Quincy Jones to his later collaborations with Teddy Riley, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Rodney Jerkins.

 

Drawing on rare archival material and on dozens of original interviews with the collaborators, engineers, producers, and songwriters who helped bring the artist’s music into the world, Jackson expert and acclaimed cultural critic Joseph Vogel reveals the inspirations, demos, studio sessions, technological advances, setbacks and breakthroughs, failures and triumphs, that gave rise to an immortal body of work.

—SPIKE LEE

THIS THING CALLED LIFE

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Smart, thorough, and illuminating, Vogel's book is a must-have for fans of Prince.

—TOURE

What were Prince's politics? What did he believe about God? And did he really forsake the subject-sex-that once made him the most subversive superstar of the Reagan era? In this illuminating thematic biography, Joseph Vogel explores the issues that made Prince one of the late 20th century's most unique, controversial, and fascinating artists.

Since his unexpected death in 2016, Prince has been recognized by peers, critics, and music fans alike. President Barack Obama described him as “one of the most gifted and prolific musicians of our time.” Yet in spite of the influx of attention, much about Prince's creative life, work, and cultural impact remains thinly examined. 

 

This Thing Called Life fills this vacuum, delving deep into seven key topics-politics, sound, race, gender, sex, religion, and death-that allow us to see Prince in fresh, invigorating new ways. Accessible and timely, This Thing Called Life takes the reader on a journey through the catalog and creative revolution of one of America's most compelling and elusive icons.

JAMES BALDWIN AND THE 1980s

Clearly and concisely written with a snap in his prose. No one has focused on this era and its unique importance in the way Joseph Vogel has done.

By the 1980s, critics and the public alike considered James Baldwin irrelevant. Yet Baldwin remained an important, prolific writer until his death in 1987. Indeed, his work throughout the decade pushed him into new areas, in particular an expanded interest in the social and psychological consequences of popular culture and mass media. Joseph Vogel offers the first in-depth look at Baldwin's dynamic final decade of work.

 

Delving into the writer's creative endeavors, crucial essays and articles, and the impassioned polemic The Evidence of Things Not Seen, Vogel finds Baldwin as prescient and fearless as ever. Baldwin's sustained grappling with "the great transforming energy" of mass culture revealed his gifts for media and cultural criticism. It also brought him into the fray on issues ranging from the Reagan-era culture wars to the New South, from the deterioration of inner cities to the disproportionate incarceration of black youth, and from pop culture gender-bending to the evolving women's and gay rights movements. Astute and compelling, James Baldwin and the 1980s revives and redeems the final act of a great American writer.

—ED PAVLIC

 
 
 
 
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