Harlem 69

The Future of Soul

By Stuart Cosgrove

Format: Multiple Formats

Harlem 69 brings Stuart Cosgrove's epic sixties trilogy to a dramatic conclusion and looks forward to brilliant music yet to come - jazz funk to disco and hip hop.

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Birlinn Limited

Birlinn publishes mostly non-fiction books, ranging from biography to history, military history and Scottish interest. Their imprints, Polygon Books, Arena Sport Books and John Donald Books, publish a wide variety of genres including culture, literary fiction, poetry and sports.

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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.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Multiple Formats
Imprint Birlinn Limited
Publication Date 4 Oct 2018
SKU 9781846974205-grouped
Number of Pages 256

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Press Reviews

'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'

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

‘A book, and a trilogy, that evokes an extraordinarily creative and culturally progressive time that now feels far distant'

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