The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys, and the Southern California Experience

Timothy White, Author Henry Holt & Company $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2266-7
At once the history of an individual, a band and an entire culture, White's (Rock Lives) attempt to combine his biography of Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson with a sweeping social history of Southern California proves too ambitious, but the book's eclecticism does make for interesting reading. Beginning with a lengthy account of the Wilson family's Midwestern roots and their migration to the Los Angeles area in the 1920s, White segues between this biographical narrative and passages detailing California's social and economic history that are meant to put the Wilsons' experience in a wider context. But he does not always clarify the connections between his dual narratives. The broad scope also makes for a somewhat sketchy portrait of Wilson. But the book is an informative, if sometimes unfocused, look at the interplay between a pop star and his culture. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1994
Release date: 12/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 418 pages - 978-0-8050-4702-8
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