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Glenn C. Altschuler | All Shook Up: How Rock n’ Roll Changed America

Glenn C. Altschuler wrote a rather interesting book with the strange name All Shook Up: How Rock n’ Roll Changed America that can be regarded as a good analysis concerning the role of rock n’ roll music in the American culture. Hence, Altschuler uses the analysis of the original sources along with a narrative format and he explains the way this music affected and changed the US.

The book begins with a headline from a New York Times’ article in a 1957, so that the reader could have a first impression of rock ‘n’ roll during that period of time. It is interesting to mention that according to some newspapers, rock ‘n’ roll was a “communicable disease” which was sweeping the nation. In addition, neither parents nor the community members could understand why the American youth were so crazy about this music. As a result, people wanted to forbid the rock shows to come to their regions, hoping that it might prevent the chaos usually accompanying all the time – before, during, and after the shows.

The next two book’s sections report about rock ‘n’ roll along with the race and rock ‘n’ roll along with sexuality. At that time African Americans were also making attempts to get the civil rights. Besides, this music was considered to promote integration. There were also a number of important events, for example, Martin Luther King’s speech as well as nine black students’ integration into the Little Rock Central High School. So, the author gives many historical events to help the reader understand where exactly in the Civil Rights Movement the rock ‘n’ roll entered.

The following section describes the conflict that was influenced by rock ‘n’ roll. Parents and elders did not understand the teenagers why they wanted to listen to that music.

The next two sections report about the wars between rock ‘n’ roll and pop culture. Rock ‘n’ roll records replaced the need for live musicians, actors on soap operas as teenagers were always with their radios, listening to the music.

Fading out in the U S, Rock ‘n’ roll started to become popular in England. “The Buddy Holly Story” sold tons of copies and became rather popular in England. The Beatles took a lot from the record of Buddy Holly. Moreover, their first record had the name “That’ll Be the Day”.

In the epilogue the author describes the way rock ‘n’ roll defined that generation, leading to the unbelievable event that was in 1969, when a huge crowd (more than three hundred thousand people) was in Bethel, New York to participate in the “Woodstock Music and Art Fair”.

It should be also mentioned that the author shows that the conflicts of rock n’ roll music feature the direct reflections of the resistances of Whites to integration and exploitations of Blacks though the country within many spheres.

Finally, in the last page of his book, Glenn claims the role of rock ‘n’ roll rather powerfully: “The music that changed America in the 1950’s and ‘60’s, rock ‘n’ roll continues to solidify youth consciousness and bring meaning and order to the lives of millions of people” (pg. 192).

In conclusion, the book reveals that there are a lot of researches concerning rock ‘n’ roll and the way it affected the US during its emergence. Besides, we may say that the book divides the era into things really important within that period of time. In addition, being so readable and understandable, the book features a lot of examples of great musicians of that time. It is also important to mention that the pictures in the book illustrate the main points of the book.

This book would be rather interesting for those who are really interested in the way the rock ‘n’ roll started, and how it went on to influence the up to date music. Besides, this book will be appreciated by the history classes and the music classes. Furthermore, students will enjoy reading about the famous artists and the conflicts of that period of time.