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Publisher's Summary

A unique, moving and dazzlingly researched exploration of the places, people, musicians, writers and filmmakers that inspired David Jones to become David Bowie, what we can learn from his life’s work and journey, and why he will always matter.

When David Bowie died on 10th January 2016, it seemed the whole world was united in mourning. His greatest hits were sung tearfully in pubs up and down Britain, garlands of flowers were left at the Aladdin Sane mural in his old stomping ground of Brixton and tributes poured in from a galaxy of stars. To many of us, Bowie was so much more than a pop idol. But why?

In Why Bowie Matters, Professor Will Brooker answers that question persuasively, as both a fan and an academic. A Bowie obsessive since childhood, he hit the headlines over the course of a year-long immersive research project that took him from London to Berlin and New York, following in Bowie’s footsteps, listening only to music and reading books he loved, and even at times adopting his fashion.

In this original and illuminating book, Professor Brooker approaches Bowie from various angles, retracing his childhood on the streets of Bromley, taking us through his record collection and bookshelves, and deciphering the symbols and codes of his final work, Blackstar, to piece together how an ordinary suburban teenager turned himself into a legend and how perhaps we too could be a little more Bowie.

He shows us that while David Robert Jones died on that terrible day in January, David Bowie will live on forever.

©2019 Will Brooker (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Brooker at his best, a playful, attentive scholar-fan." (Guardian)

"Wide-ranging and and closely argued, this book is one of the best Bowie has yet had." (Spectator)

"An intelligent assessment of the star’s career and enduring legacy." (Choice Magazine)

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  • Lesley C.
  • 04-05-2021

Irritated at first..

Too much information about author not enough about Bowie. But once I got into the flow enjoyed it. Both fascinating men.

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  • Victoria
  • 10-07-2020

More about Bowie and less about Brooker please

I really enjoyed the academic discussion of Bowie's work, interviews and character(s), as it was interesting and insightful.

However, I found the writer's attempts to draw a parallel between his own life and experiences and those of Bowie's pathetic. I could also have done without the teenagers' opinions at the end.

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  • Pete
  • 03-03-2020

Why Bowie Matters … and how!

Two essentials for every Bowie fan “Why Bowie Matters” by Will Brooker and “The Age of Bowie” by Paul Morley. Two authors whose working lives were based around Bowie, Morley the journalist and Brooker the academic. Both authors shared a love of Bowie but neither met him. Every Bowie fan will relate to both books.

Brooker is an academic and this shows in his style. To clarify that statement, “Why Bowie Matters” is analytical, cross-referenced and thought provoking but in no way is it stuffy.

So you’re not a Bowie fan? Well believe me you may leave this book with an understanding of why so many people loved Bowie and why he really did matter to both music and social changes. You may well feel the need to pay more attention to Bowie’s work.

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