Richard Goldstein, one of the first rock critics, has always occupied a weird place in the history of music criticism. His memoir could have sat uneasily as an attempt to justify and reconcile his position, but instead, Goldstein taps into a strangely confessional vein, tracing his history from the Bronx to the Ballroom, finding his home at the Village Voice, with honesty and wit.
The honesty is welcome, even though Goldstein suffers at times from a want of humility. This see-saws throughout: dryly bullish about his role in the countercultural wars, he will just as readily empty the insecurities of the unconscious onto the page. As his engagement with rock'n'roll and pop culture intensifies, so do his cutting rejoinders. His encounters with intellectuals – flinching from Susan Sontag's dry barbs; seeing Marshall McLuhan and Timothy Leary as the hucksters they are – are hilarious.