Winegarner, Beth – Tenacity: Heavy Metal In The Middle East and Africa (Book Review)

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Author:  Beth Winegarner
Title: Tenacity: Heavy Metal In The Middle-East And Africa
Year: 2018
Label:  Indie
Reviewed:  November 2018
Rating:  3.5/5
Reviewed by : JP

As Metal continues it’s slow but gradual campaign to become the dominant form of all musical entertainment across the planet, Metal continues to conquer the globe, nation by nation.  The result of this campaign and the inevitable ascent to glory is why we are seeing an increase in publications about Heavy Metal in the third world. The newest book exploring this phenomena is called TENACITY-HEAVY METAL IN THE MIDDLE-EAST AND AFRICA.  There are hundreds of books about Metal but the genre continues to grow in certain regions of the globe at an unparalleled rate, we are seeing increased scholarly attention to this development.

Beth Winegarner is an American journalist and author who has a particular interest and passion about the global rise of Metal.  I ordered and received this book and it was not quite what I expected.  It’s really small and really short.  That is not a huge demerit, just not what I was expecting.  This pocket-sized book seems to be a self-published affair that runs a mere 76 pages.  There are half a dozen black and white photos scattered through out and not many other features. Long essay or short book?  You decide.  Either way, it is nice to have in my library.

TENACITY is a bit of a mish-mash consisting of an interview, some regional spotlights and information worked and reworked from her research for other publications.  The over-arching theme is that there is still, perhaps not unsurprisingly, a suppression of Heavy Metal music in various countries. Winegarner has traveled and interviewed many people from Syria, Egypt, Lebannon, and beyond. She speaks passionately and with authority about some of the scenarios where people, Metal fans and band members, are persecuted and prosecuted (or worse) by governments, religious groups, the police and military. It is a sad state of affairs when a Metal fan can be thrown in jail for having long hair and wearing a black t-shirt.  The stories are legion.

I have a dear friend who speaks about the anti-Metal crack-down in Egypt where his own friends were arrested and tortured for being Metal.  He fled the country and lives peacefully in Canada now. These things still happen to this day and TENACITY helps shed a little more light on this dark and unfortunate situation.  While not the most cheerful book, it is a fascinating read for Metal fans and students of global politics, entertainment culture and human rights.

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