Just a Shot Away: Peace, Love, and Tragedy with the Rolling Stones at Altamont

Thomas Dunne: St. Martin's. Jul. 2018. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9781250083197. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250083203. MUSIC
Journalist and critic Austerlitz (Money for Nothing) takes a different approach to the infamous, disastrous, 1969 Altamont Music Festival, where Meredith Hunter, a young African American man, was stabbed and killed close to the stage by Hell's Angels hired to provide security for the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, and other bands who were performing. Although a thorough report of the festival is provided, much of the book focuses on the personalities involved in coordinating, managing, and filming the event. Austerlitz also discusses the making of the Maysles Brothers' 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter and provides an excellent account of Hunter's life via interviews with his friends and family, which is the most valuable part of the book.
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of rock music.

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