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Harlem 69: The Future of Soul

by Stuart Cosgrove

Part of the The Soul Trilogy Series

History Sharing Diverse Voices

LoveReading View on Harlem 69: The Future of Soul

Exploring black music and social movements from Motown, soul and the civil rights movement, through the Black Panther Movement, Jimi Hendrix and Black Woodstock, this trilogy is a triumphant mix of meticulous research and an author’s palpable passion for his subject.


Set against the tinderbox backdrop of the Vietnam War and widespread civil unrest, the trilogy begins in Detroit, 1967, and tells the twelve-month story of a city on the edge, with one of the world’s most famous record labels – Detroit-based Motown – at a pivotal point in its history, while riots in the city prove pivotal to the wider country. Taken as a whole, this smart sequence provides a multi-angled view of the time, and it’s clear how social deprivation and a spirit of resistance led to both political action and revolutions of a musical kind. In-depth, enlightening, entertaining and affecting, these forensically evocative books will make you want to delve deeper into the work of the seminal musicians who wrote the soundtrack to this seminal period of American history.

Joanne Owen

Harlem 69: The Future of Soul Synopsis

In 1969, among Harlem's Rabelaisian cast of characters are bandleader King Curtis, soul singers Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway, and drug peddler Jimmy `Goldfinger' Terrell. In February a raid on tenements across New York leads to the arrest of 21 Black Panther party members and one of the most controversial trials of the era. In the summer Harlem plays host to Black Woodstock and concerts starring Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone. The world's most famous guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, a major supporter of the Black Panthers, returns to Harlem in support of their cause. By the end of the year Harlem is gripped by a heroin pandemic and the death of a 12-year-old child sends shockwaves through the USA, leaving Harlem stigmatised as an area ravaged by crime, gangsters and a darkly vengeful drug problem.

Harlem 69: The Future of Soul Press Reviews

`A book, and a trilogy, that evokes an extraordinarily creative and culturally progressive time that now feels far distant' -- Sean O'Hagan - Observer

'An impressively granular month-by-month deep dive into Harlem's fertile musical response to a time of social and political upheaval' -- Ludovic Hunter Tilney - Financial Times

'The best music writing this year is about black music. Cosgrove's deep dive into the year's events is an epic feat of archival research that has been expertly marshalled into a narrative that joins the dots between Donny Hathaway, Jimi Hendrix, the Black Panthers, police corruption and the Vietnam war' -- Teddy Jamieson - The Herald

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846974748
Publication date: 11/04/2019
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781846974205
Publication date: 04/10/2018
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846974748
Publication date: 11th April 2019
Author: Stuart Cosgrove
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Genres: History, Diverse Voices,
Categories: Soul & R 'n' B, Social & cultural history, Politics & government, History of the Americas,

About Stuart Cosgrove

Stuart Cosgrove, originally from Perth, was a fanzine writer on the northern soul scene before joining the black music paper Echoes, as a staff writer. He became media editor with the NME and a feature writer for a range of newspapers and magazines. A graduate of Hull University, he completed a PhD in modern American theatre history. In 2005 he was named Broadcaster of the Year in the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards and in 2012 he won numerous awards including a BAFTA and Royal Television Society award for Channel 4's coverage of the London Paralympics 2012.

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