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Book Reviews

Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall

By Published: December 6, 2013
While Waters' career is anything but uneventful the author doesn't give much info about the many charity activities he has participated in. He was a spokesman for the Millennium Promise charity in 2007, he reunited with Gilmour for a charity in 2006 for the children of Palestinian refugees and in 2012 he led a benefit for United States military veterans called Stand Up for Heroes. Judging by the book, he and Eric Clapton were not on the best of terms when the tour in 1984 had ended, but then again the author fails to mention the charity events they participated in afterwards, like them performing together in 2005 on TV for the Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope when they performed "Wish you Were Here" as well as Waters taking part in a charity cricket match that Clapton had organized in 2008. Plenty of the info apart from author's own interpretation of Waters' and Pink Floyd's output doesn't reveal anything new.

The story of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd is far too complex to be told in one book just by going through various and select musical details without giving a broader picture of the cultural impact it has had since its early days and the subsequent changes and the fashions it has survived. What this book lacks is more depth and a broader picture and analysis of the band's cultural impact that goes beyond the world of music. It has no fresh conversations with Waters, his family, or his well known former band mates. Rather, it is a collocation of stale, previously published interviews and chats with former low level co-workers. And instead of working on a fine portrait, it seems like he has been working on the sketch. It is unquestionable that Waters' contribution had been pivotal for the band's success both artistically and commercially, but if there had been a better assessment of his role it could be argued that he also contributed greatly to its demise and initial disbandment after the heights reached in the 70s. Roger Waters: The Man Behind the Wall is an averagely good book about Roger Waters, but he and Pink Floyd deserve a better one.

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