BREAK ON THROUGH:
The Life & Death of Jim Morrison
by James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky
Review by Diana Moriarity
There are numerous books available which offer personal accounts by those who were involved with Jim Morrison, and while I find these are often interesting reading, it is difficult, if not impossible, to be at all objective about an individual when one is involved in a dynamic which by its very nature is emotionally charged, such as a highly successful Rock and Roll band during the 60s, or an intimate relationship of one kind or another. To consider these accounts as biographies would be an error I believe, especially in light of the fact that several of these books are written with one agenda or another. While they may be worthy of an engrossing afternoon, they hardly offer any real insight into the man who was Jim Morrison. Rather, they offer quite a bit of insight into the author of the book.
There is however, one true attempt at an objective biography of Jim Morrison, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to those who wish to get beyond the icon, and find some truth about the human being. It could have been no easy task to research BREAK ON THROUGH: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison. He is a hard nut to crack. I find the book to be thoroughly researched. Although it offers very little we havent seen regarding Jims early life (for obvious reasons) it is a true gem in its ability to deliver the necessary background on such diverse influences as Shamanism and Surrealism in the life and work of this extremely complex individual, while holding the reader in rapt attention. The accounts of the recording sessions are fascinating, and James Riordans thorough treatment of the Miami incident and trial details the horrors of life as a "Rock Star" and the American Justice system at its absolute worst - as nothing more than a tool for political agenda. The author makes it very clear why some who knew Jim say that Miami killed him.
James Riordan brought years of experience in writing about music to this project. And although he had never previously considered writing the biography of a rock star, he found something compelling in the life of Jim Morrison. From the Acknowledgements:
Then I met Jerry Prochnicky with his library of information about Jim Morrison. It wasnt long before I realized that Morrisons story was as serious and as relevent as any subject could be...
Five years later Ive learned the hard way that its not easy to separate the truth from the myth and the bigger the legend the more difficult if becomes ... The funny thing is that Morrison never needed exaggeration. His truth is indeed far stranger than the fiction that has grown up around him.
James Riordan hasnt written any further biographies of rock stars, and has since moved on to novels and screenwriting. I am thankful that in his journeys, he met up with Jerry Prochnicky, and gave us this excellent account of Jims life.
Copyright 2002 by Diana Moriarity/waiting-forthe-sun.net