This biography completely changed the way I thought about not only Bob Marley, and not only about Reggae music, but spirituality and oppression and what it meant to be an agent of cultural change and how to resist cultures.
I gave this book 3 stars because it is an interesting read and worth it for fans. Also in those pages, the author reveals a detail from the court cases where Marley is negotiating a contract and friend comes out with an Uzi or gun of some sort (controversial) and basically forces terms favorable to Marley. Overall it felt like the author was striving to lionize Marley with a shroud of mystical power and glazed over inconvenient (and for me interesting) details.
Timothy White's 'Catch a Fire-The Life of Bob Marley' is wholly, and perhaps holy, unlike any other biography in the 'poptastic' genre that I have ever read. White not only provides intimate insights to Marley, his life, family and musical journey, but also documents the history of Jamaica and its people, the politics and the fascinating origins of the Rastafarian religion. Timothy White's extensive research, not just on the man and his culture, also includes the Marley family, their musical development through Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and their court wrangles after Bobs death.
I would have liked to see a bit more insight into the thoughts and actions that drove him as he wrote and recorded the albums that would ultimately become his legacy, a little more insight into the inner workings and relationships between Bob, his band, his family and friends.
It really is a fascinating biography, as much a history of Jamaica and the roils of politics in the Caribbean as it is a detailed story of Marley's life. The underbelly of the music business in Jamaica paralleled the underbelly of the island's politics, a combination that was full of deceit and violence, often felt directly by Marley, his family, band, and hangers on.
On the bright side, the book does a good job of describing the superstititious world of poor Jamaica, full of demons and ghosts, etc., which helps explain the popularity of Rastafarianism.
Catch A Fire is certainly an outstanding contribution to the field, i.e. study of the life of Bob Marley and his times. I read/studied Catch A Fire as part of my research for my own book on the subject.
Its been a little over twenty year since Bob Marley departed our world, but his music is still honored. In this biography, Catch a Fire The life of Bob Marley, written by Timothy White encaptures Bob and his many memories. Bob Marley is one of the biggest names in rock/reggae history, Catch a Fire provides a complete examination of Bob Marleys life and his tremendous influence on music and culture. Bob Marley is the godfather of reggae- the man responsible for developing this style of music in his native country of Jamaica and successfully exporting it all over the world. I find this so neat, Bob Marley had been passionate about music, passionate about his country when he was so young. It is by far the best Bob Marley source you can read. It is more than just another biography, it is a complete book.