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fun interviews on a great show. some of the material hasn't aged as well, since this was written before omar died, and also the part about obama has not aged well
rottweilersmile | outras 9 resenhas | Mar 11, 2024 |
Required reading, just as The Wire is required watching. There is a lot of scholarly work on The Wire, a TV show that was not honored in its lifetime. It debuted in 2002 and ran 5 seasons, ending in 2008. This book is a well-written oral history of the series that roughly follows the season chronology interleaving HBO politics and financial struggles. As I read I kept thinking that HBO should rebroadcast The Wire now so we can see how little we have progressed.½
Dokfintong | outras 9 resenhas | Feb 23, 2024 |
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this book. Needless to say, if you are a fan of the television showThe Wire, you MUST read this book. Period. THe Wire is one of the greatest, some say THE greatest, television shows in history. I don't think anyone would argue with either selection. If you have not seen the show, I strongly advise you to do so before reading this book. Or better yet, read along while you watch each season. I wouldn't skip ahead in the book because you want to watch the stories and characters develop as you wade through each respective season; all of which have a different and specific focus and narrative. The book provides insight, behind the scenes type tales as well as a deconstruction of the characters and stories for each of the seasons.
BenM2023 | outras 9 resenhas | Nov 22, 2023 |
The Wire is one of my top five favorite shows of all time. I loved reading this book of interviews about the making of this show.
cdaley | outras 9 resenhas | Nov 2, 2023 |
The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop, by Jonathan Abrams, is a wonderful look at the history through the recollections of those involved.

Many oral histories, no matter the subject, consist of a collection of accounts, each told by a participant (or large excerpts from the people grouped thematically). I find the approach here to be both very effective and a lot of fun. Abrams offers the structure through paragraphs that set up what is being discussed. Then shorter but very on-point quotes are used to almost simulate a conversation. So rather than just reading about the history or reading what would amount to several versions of the history if each person was included separately, you feel like you are listening to all of these icons sitting around and remembering what happened.

The one thing this does require of the reader is keeping the various people straight. Abrams includes their roles each time and after a few pages you begin to just follow naturally. So, if you are initially unsettled by always switching speaker, give it time. You'll get used to it and once you do, you'll be well rewarded for the effort.

No matter how well you know the history of hip-hop, this book will offer new information and great perspectives on things you knew. Even having read a couple of other books and taken a MOOC, this volume still both educated and entertained me.

Highly recommended for those with an interest in hip hop and music history more broadly. Many of the insights also speak to how the music industry itself has changed.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.½
pomo58 | Jul 8, 2022 |
this is a good companion to the HBO series... i would suggest not reading this before watching the show. there are a lot of big spoilers in abrams' book.

the bulk of this book is commentary from the actors who starred on the show, along with the writers, directors, and producers. it was pretty cool to read their thoughts and feelings about the show, and how precarious production was each season. the wire really took on a life after the series ended, with more viewers discovering it post-production, in the years to follow. i am certainly one of those viewers. when it originally aired, HBO was not a channel i had access to. so although i was really interested in it - i kept hearing such amazing things about how smart and real and raw the writing and acting were - but just wasn't able to appreciate it as it originally aired. finally i got to watch it in late-2018 and it BLEW MY MIND! i am sure i will go to my grave with the still strongly held belief that bubbles and omar are the best characters ever written for and performed on television. sheeeeeeeeet!

i think the book could have benefited from including the histories of east and west baltimore, and more about the background stories on how the show came to be, and how the story lines were related to reality. there is a bit of this, but i think that could have elevated the book from good, to excellent. the show opened up so many eyes and minds; sharing even more factual information with the interviews/commentary would have been amazing to take in. (sorry!!)

for the devoted fan of the wire, this book should be really appreciated.
JooniperD | outras 9 resenhas | Jan 10, 2019 |
This is a must-read for fans of HBO's "The Wire". It has inspired me to re-watch all five seasons! If you have not watched The Wire, you are missing one of the best television shows that has ever been (or will ever be) produced. Go watch it in its entirety, then read this book for lots of additional illumination.
1 vote
greglief | outras 9 resenhas | Oct 15, 2018 |
An oral history of the Wire with interviews of creators David Simon and Ed Burns, writers and directors, and cast members. If you have seen the Wire there is plenty of behind-the-scenes information. I particularly enjoyed reading the comments of some of my favorite crime novelists: George Pelecanos (also a producer), Richard Price (who has a cameo) and Dennis Lehane. If you have not seen the Wire, the book will be hard to follow but will give you a sense of why it is arguably the best TV series ever and why it is so significant to black actors.

One of the most amazing behind the scenes stories is about Felicia “Snoop” Pearson. She was just released from prison on a manslaughter charge when she met Michael K. Williams (who plays Omar) in a bar. He brought her to the set. She ended up playing a diminutive, androgynous killer and acting helped turn her life around. Abrams quotes a column in Entertainment Weekly by Stephen King who called her “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series.”

A must-read for Wire fans.
jwrudn | outras 9 resenhas | May 13, 2018 |
Written by a sports journalist, and told in interviews with minimal narrative, this is a complete recap of the entire five season series, with most of the actors and many of the writers contributing. Especially valuable are the sagas of David Simon, creator, and Ed Burns, the former Baltimore cop who generated most of the story lines. Also revealed is the struggle Simon underwent to have every season funded by HBO, and the reminder of how the general public ignored the show while it was running, which can be largely blamed on their disinterest in a primarily black cast. The book brings back the genius of the series very strongly to the point that it is tough not to just jettison the book and grab the DVD set (amazingly enough, The Wire was also the first TV series to release an entire season on DVD). To re-watch, knowing what you will learn from the book, would almost constitute a new experience. I can't wait.

Quote: "All of a sudden, The Wire became that show where there was a hierarchy. If you say you like The Wire, that means you like reading books. People look at you differently. It became a badge of honor."
1 vote
froxgirl | outras 9 resenhas | Apr 11, 2018 |
Wil be of interest to anyone who finds themselves thinking about the show on a regular basis. Abrams managed to interview most of the key people involved, from creators David Simon and Ed Burns to many of the actors. 95% of the book is just quotes from interviews arranged in a somewhat logical sequence, although occasionally something feels out of place. This isn't an attempt to cover the show episode-by-episode, and lots of things aren't covered at all, perhaps due to whom the author was able to interview. The three greatest scenes on the show, however, Omar in the courtroom, Snoop buying a nail gun, and Snoop's death, are addressed with some detail, which provides insight into the creative process and to how much the actors identified with their parts. It's good to see that the friendships formed among the cast and crew seem to have lasted. There is a lot more in this book as well, and most of the actors are fairly eloquent in discussing the real truths behind the show's five seasons.
2 vote
datrappert | outras 9 resenhas | Sep 22, 2017 |
A great read for any basketball fan. Personally enjoyed reading the stories of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett the most. Along with hearing about the successes of players who went directly from high school to the NBA, Abrams shows the dark side of this rule, by writing about failures. Abrams writes in a smooth, easy to follow way, intertwining stories of players when it makes sense. Great read!
jskotler77 | May 3, 2016 |
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