Book Review: Divided Soul by David Ritz

Looking for your next read? Check out Divided Soul by David Ritz, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Eugene H.

Musical biography or memoir is one of my favorite forms of writing because it combines two of my favorite subjects, biography and music. David Ritz would have to be considered one of the greats in this area of writing as he has authored biographies on some of the giants in black music history; Jerry Wexler, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Etta James, B. B. King, Janet Jackson, Buddy Guy, R. Kelly and Rick James. I have read or perused most of these works, but I think his best biography is one his earliest, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye.

David Ritz was actually good friends with Marvin Gaye and he even co-wrote one of his biggest hits, “Sexual Healing”. Their friendship makes this book more intimate and personal than the usual biography and this is one of the saddest and most tragic tales in all of music. Marvin Gaye was extremely talented and also personally troubled, creatively gifted yet highly insecure. He was a rebellious spirit raised in a religion full of moral conflicts. The genre of Soul music charts the progress of the “divided soul” and this book tells the story of one of its greatest practitioners.

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Divided Soul


Divided Soul
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