Book Review: ‘Death of a Rebel: A Biography of Phil Ochs’

Death of a Rebel, a Phil Ochs biography

Like Phil Ochs himself, a new biography of the late singer seems bound to alternately warm and break a lot of hearts. Scrupulously researched and well written, Marc Eliot’s The Death of a Rebel: A Biography of Phil Ochs shows that, though Ochs’s life may have been quite different from his music, it was just as noteworthy and complex. To properly chronicle that life, one needs both an affection for the singer and a commitment to the truth, and this is just what Eliot demonstrates. When you finish reading, you’ll know all about Ochs’s many flaws. At the same time, you’ll understand why the author would “toss the manuscript into the fire . . . for the chance to turn my head once more and see Phil on a stage.”

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