Book Reviews: August 2015
What I’m Reading: Don Felder on his Life in the Fast Lane and Beyond and details on the Plot to Overthrow FDR
(Oahu) Don Felder is perhaps the one of the most overlooked figures in recent pop music history. His quiet ‘matter of fact’ manner and his devotion to his family life shielded him from the prying eyes of the rock media even as his band was becoming the top American band in the world. When anyone mentions The Eagles, Don Henley and Glenn Frey are the main figures that usually come to mind. Felder is obscure…almost like he’s a member of Steely Dan..hahah
His 2008 book Heaven and Hell is an enjoyable autobiography that traces his life as a struggling guitarist in the late ’60s on through his epic run as Eagles lead guitarist. Felder’s tale is interesting and his tone folksy as he recalls his meetings with Tom Petty, Stephen Stills and Bernie Leadon in his Florida youth and his eventual signing with the eagles in 1974.
Intriguingly Felder’s first recordings to be issued in his career came with a deal with jazz producer Creed Taylor in 1970 in the hippie band called Flow and he seems to have been from an early point to have been able to leave a positive impression of himself with important people. Fast forward a few years and Felder is in California working with Graham Nash and quickly thereafter he is a member of the Eagles- entering a business agreement with his “buddies” Don Henley and Glenn Frey.
Although this book falls in to you typical “rock star” tale of sex, drugs and too much of everything Felder’s calm demeanor serves as a welcome respite and offers an intelligent reflection on the pitfalls of the American Dream. In a world of narcisstic assholes Felder emerges as a good guy who is able to keep his sanity.
The Plot To Seize the White House is a 1974 book by Jules Archer about the 1930’s plot to overthrow newly elected President FDR. The plotters wanted to install war hero Smedley Butler as a puppet figure and pull the strings of the US Government as if it were a right wing business conglomerate. Butler was never swayed by their arguments and led the plotters on until he was able testify before Congress and reveal the plotters intentions. Of course the mainstream media of the day made sure the story never fully reached the eyes of Joe Q Public and for decades Butler’s allegations remained a well kept secret. In the Watergate era they resurfaced and are nicely documented in this intelligent volume.