I Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Mar. 2015. 368p. photos. index. ISBN 9781250061522. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867215. MUSIC
Nearly 21 years after Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain took his own life, what he and Nirvana were able to musically accomplish during their existence has never disappeared from public consciousness. In this title, blogger and author Soulsby (Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide) constructs a chronological history of the band from its inception in 1987 to Cobain's death in 1994, using the remembrances of more than 150 musicians to help explain what made the group—and its leader—so remarkable. Nirvana's career story is certainly well-trodden territory; however, the sheer amount of perspectives that the author includes keeps the overall narrative engaging. The other major challenge in writing about the band is the overwhelming tendency to view Cobain as a secular saint. To his credit, Soulsby gently sidesteps that suggestion, though neither he nor his interviewees convey fully the depth of the artist's heroin addiction or the drop-off in his creative output toward the end of his life. Nevertheless, this history is captivating enough to distinguish itself among a crowded canon.
VERDICT Hard-core and casual Nirvana fans alike will find this book engaging.
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