Jukebox America: Down Back Streets and Blue Highways in Search of the Country's Greatest Jukebox

Will Bunch, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (293p) ISBN 978-0-312-11013-0
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bunch recounts his search for America's ``best'' jukebox, somewhat ambiguously defined as the one whose selection of songs is ``in perfect sync with its time and place.'' The book's subtext, however, is generational angst. Self-classified as a member of ``Generation Y,'' Bunch takes up his mission as an expression of the restless, youthful energy he fears will be suppressed by his recent decision to marry and move to the suburbs. His anxiety about his personal shift in direction translates into concern about cultural changes: the jukebox, a symbol of regional identity and cultural diversity, is threatened by the increasing homogenization of society. While Bunch does find pockets of authenticity in rural Mississippi and in inner-city Chicago and Detroit, he juggles too many thematic balls--jukeboxes, his personal life, the state of American society--to maintain a clear focus. Portraits of individual keepers of the jukebox faith met along the way are memorable; ultimately this volume is more successful as an American travelogue than as a music-lover's journal. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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