Book & Magazine Reviews

Dave Thompson - 'Roger Waters: The Man Behind The Wall' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 21, 2014    
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A job well done by Dave Thompson.

Published by: Backstreet Books

Dave Thompson has written a lengthy and carefully researched biography of Roger Waters but inevitably contains a lot on Pink Floyd and its members. Clearly Waters himself has not been involved in the book, there is neither anything derogatory about him nor any blatant hero-worshipping; it is just written from afar and so is very objective. The writer is clearly a fan but Waters does not come out of it overly well in many places; the book explains his actions, behaviour etc. as part of his driven, focused personality and fatherless upbringing. However there is no real insight into exactly what makes Waters tick, there are no compelling views from friends or relatives; so it is mainly the acrimony/relationship with the other Pink Floyd members that comes to life due to its wide press coverage over the years. It is fact rather than a criticism that only an autobiography could truly explain all.

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The book starts as one would expect detailing Waters' early childhood (his father was killed in action in Italy during WWII) and subsequent school days in Cambridge. It then jumps to the pivotal time of the 'The Wall' and 'The Pros and Cons Of Hitchhiking'; which was pretty much the dividing line between Waters being in Pink Floyd when it was a cohesive band and the fallouts afterwards (although the rift had commenced much before). The story continues up to the mid-2000s and then jumps back to the 60s and tells the Pink Floyd history from its beginnings up to the time of 'The Wall', which the author asserts is Waters' first solo album. The epilogue then brings the reader up to date with what Waters is doing now (essentially complex and ground-breaking tours and the promise of a new solo album).

The book itself is hardback, well written and contains a superb discography in date order listing all recordings (Floydian or solo), a detailed source of quotes and colour photos interspersing the book. I have learnt a lot about Waters, Pink Floyd as a group and snippets about its members (Syd Barratt in particular), so consider it a job well done by Dave Thompson.

Rob McKenzie

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