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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Woodstock Storybook

The Woodstock Storybook
by Linanne G. Sackett
photos by Barry Z. Levine

154 pages



*** About the Book ***

This book is a photographic record of the 3-day Woodstock concert event in August 1969 accompanied by a poem telling the story of the concert. Also included are occasional bits of additional info about the photos or the events.

If you are not familiar with what Woodstock is you can read about it here.


*** Why I Read It ***

This book was offered for review by a publicist. Something about the Woodstock phenomenon fascinates me (plus I love many of the bands that played there) so I really wanted to check it out.


*** My Thoughts ***

This book is really about the photographs so I'm going to start with them. Barry Z. Levine was the official photographer for the documentary "The Woodstock Film" that was being created during the 3-day concert. Because of that, he had access to just about everything that was going on. Some of the photos were amazing: the massive scope of the crowd, the performers on stage, the organizers behind the scenes. Woodstock was a truly unbelievable event and Levine captures some of that on film. However I had to keep reminding myself that 1) camera equipment simply wasn't as good back then and 2) photographing performances in the dark isn't easy. I'd have loved clearer, brighter photos of the performers but unfortunately that just wasn't possible given the circumstances.

Most of the text of the book is one long poem written by Levine's wife, Linnane G. Sackett. I'm not much of a poetry fan, so I don't know that I have an "informed" opinion to share here. I will say that the poem was rather simplistic and lighthearted, which seemed to be the goal.

The only other text in the book was additional info included alongside some of the photos. I'd have loved to see more of this, being the history buff that I am. There really weren't a lot of details provided about the organizers, their goals, the crowd, the performers, etc. and I'd have loved to read more about all that.

If you are interested in a high-level overview of Woodstock then this book fits the bill. You can get a feel for the crowds and the performances and enjoy lots and lots of photos. Don't expect to find many details however; rather, enjoy the book for what it is.

You can learn more about this book at www.woodstockstorybook.com. Thank you to Lisa Roe for sending me this book to review.

7 comments:

Hazra said...

I've heard about the Woodstock Festival, but my knowledge is sketchy. This one sounds like a coffee-table book.

Heather J. said...

Hazra - It is definitely a coffee-table book. I meant to mention that in my review but it looks like I forgot ... oops.

bermudaonion said...

I loved looking through this book and reminiscing about all of those musicians. I didn't go to Woodstock, but I sure did (and still do) love the music of the time.

Alyce said...

I love photo books, but I agree that it's nice to have background information to go with the photos. Especially for those of us who don't know who all of the artists are, or which songs they are famous for, etc. Or any interesting stories revolving around them (controversies, etc.).

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - I wasn't born yet (sorry!) when Woodstock happened, but I do love the music of that era. Janis Joplin is one of my all time favorites!

Alyce - The book did identify all the musicians, but it didn't give much more info than that. Of course, that wasn't the point of the book so I can't hold that against it. :)

softdrink said...

Have you ever watched the movie? It's fascinating. I'm particularly fond of John Sebastian's performance...he was so stoned he forgot the words to his own song!

Heather J. said...

softdrink - I've never seen the movie but I have seen a few clips from it. And speaking of stoned, my mom saw Joe Cocker in concert and said he had the same problem, but more like he just couldn't *pronounce* the word to his own song. ~LOL~

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