Cover Image: Goth


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book was fantastic!! Lol Tolhurst is absolutely amazing, both in musical and writing ability. He truly left no gothic stone unturned. My mother in law was an LA goth in 80s. To have her personal accounts between the fashion world and those she knew in the music industry align with a different perspective was honestly an experience like no other. I loved this book so much I went and ordered a copy for myself and my mother in law.

*so sorry for the late review as I’ve been in and out of the hospital!

Was this review helpful?

When I saw this book by Lol Tolhurst up on NetGalley it was an instant request for me. For those not aware he was a founding member of The Cure, a band I discovered in the 1980s and is still my all-time favorite (because they’re awesome). My decision to request was further solidified when I saw that a large focus was going to be on what Tolhurst coined the “Architects of Darkness” — Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and, of course, The Cure. I still listen to these four bands every single day. Goth and post-punk are my favorite music genres, and not a day goes by that I don’t listen to music.

The scope of this book is a bit broader than I was expecting, but also narrower, in the sense that the scope is very much dictated by Tolhurst’s own upbringing. He starts with literature, covering the influence of French philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre & Albert Camus, as well American poet Sylvia Plath. Then we get into the early music influences of The Doors, Nico, and the Godfather of it all, David Bowie.

The only reason this did not get 5 stars from me is the writing style. It was just a bit too high brow and esoteric for my taste. I mean, Tolhurst actually read the authors I listed earlier as a teenager, and I really can’t relate to someone who’s reading French philosophy at 16. Otherwise this was a great read.

Thank you to NetGalley & Hachette Books for this advance reader copy. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Lol is back with his second book. While not explicitly about The Cure (as his previous book was), this "historical memoir of a subculture" is largely the tale of Goth influencers intersecting with Lol and The Cure. The title feels a little disingenuous, but I am not one to quibble. An interesting read, particularly if you are into pre-Disintegration albums by The Cure, as well as Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and the like.

Was this review helpful?

"GOTH: A History" by Lol Tolhurst is a captivating journey through the dark and intriguing world of Goth music and culture. As someone deeply immersed in the goth subculture, I found Tolhurst's personal experiences and insights to be a valuable addition to the historical account. The exploration of iconic bands and their evolution from punk to goth was enlightening, and I appreciated the inclusion of lesser-known details about artists. While nonfiction may not be my preferred genre, the book's occasional pacing issues didn't overshadow my enthusiasm for delving into the rich history of a subculture I've always been a part of. I'm giving it four stars, a testament to its informative and enjoyable content.

Was this review helpful?

Straight-forward, candid, and really readable, this book is a great intro to goth (music) from someone who was there. It feels like a friend recounting old times and contextualizing the moments that lead to the art to come.

You dont have to be a fan of The Cure to enjoy this, but it probably wouldn't hurt.

Some highlights we get:

From Literature:
Walpole, Radcliffe, Lewis, Shelley, Beckford, Stoker... It was particularly interesting to consider Sylvia Plath's longing to escape societal constructs as a modern goth influence.

Bands: (a heavy dose, concentrated esp in the 80s) The Doors, Nico, Bowie, Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie, Cocteau, Sisters of Mercy, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails etc

If you're curious about goth as an influence to music, how it was born of politics, punk, and the dramatic theatrics of various art forms-- German Expressionism, Tim Burton, fashion etc, that's also lite memoir, from an author speaking from their experiences and influences, rather than as an academic--- this may be of interest!

(I apologize for that last "sentence" 🤣)

Was this review helpful?

Book reviews are new to this site, and in the back to school tradition of September, I decided to kick things of with some nonfiction reviews.

I appreciate receiving ARC copies from NetGalley in exchange for honest reviews.


A follow up to Lol Tolhurst’s 2016 biography Cured, Goth is a more expansive look at the music and literary influences of the goth subculture. I really appreciates how this book also offers a window into how those looking for music outside the mainstream found it in a pre-internet world.

Perfect for music buffs, poets, and anyone interested in the goth sub-culture.

Goth will be released September 26th

The League of Lady Poisoners

Lisa Perrin’s volume is a beautifully illustrated compendium of woman who have welded poison throughout history. A highlight for me was how this book’s chapters are organized by the various motives of the titular lady poisoners, as it gives more context and nuance to their stories.

A great fall follow up to a summer of Barbenheimer, this book is perfect for true crime fans, feminists, and dark history enthusiasts.

The League of Lady Poisoners will be released September 19th.

The Anatomist’s Library

Colin Salter’s compilation of medical books spans six centuries and and is brimming with beautiful illustrations. I had no idea what to expect going into this book, and was happy to find some familiar names (da Vinci!) and again, all of the gorgeous images.

Perfect for art lovers, history buffs, and researching writers.

The Anatomist’s Library is available now.

Disentangling From Emotionally Immature People

The fourth book published by Lindsey C Gibson, this effort is designed to be a workbook used in conjunction with talk therapy. I really appreciated that Lindsey dedicates space to redefine the terms she uses despite this book being part of a series, and the thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter.

A helpful guide for anyone dealing with difficult people in their lives.

Disentangling From Emotionally Immature People is available now.

The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared

A death literacy advocate, Francesca Arnoldy’s thoughtful book is designed assist readers in not only preparing for end of life arrangements, but fostering self-awareness and compassion. I found her discussion points thought provoking and designed help readers live a balanced life while preparing for the inevitable.

Any reader can benefit from this book.

The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared is available now.

Was this review helpful?

Rich with vivid detail about the early goth scene, Lol Tolhurst's memoir captures the black-clad frenzy of an era that launched some of the greatest and most influential postpunk bands including The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and draws a family tree of musical genealogy from the late 1970s to the 2020s. Personal anecdotes and insights are delivered with a wry, self-deprecating self of humor and nostalgia, yet refrain from sentimentality. Goth is a must-read for all music fans and fans of the The Cure will clamor for a copy.

Was this review helpful?

A niche book for fans of The Cure, drummy Lol Tolhurst takes the reader on a personal history through punk, and post punk (Goth) art. This is not so much a general history of a musical genre, but rather a memoir of art experience. A delight to read and a welcome addition to The Cure universe.

Was this review helpful?

Really enjoy learning about the subculture and love books that dive into cultures created over the years.

Was this review helpful?

Tolhurst crafts a thoughtful and informative picture of the birth and early life of goth subculture, blending the personal experience of witnessing and actively participating in the birth and early life stages of both goth and punk with a deep dive into the much older influences that gothic and romantic literature had on both Tolhurst personally, and the movement as a whole.

This is a quick, engaging read for anyone who loves modern history and/or has an interest in goth music, art, and fashion.

Thank you so much to Hachette Books, Netgalley, and Lol Tolhurst for the opportunity to read an advanced e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Hachette Books for an advance copy of this history not only of a music genre, but of an encompassing art form that meant to so much to many people, saving souls from sameness, and lives and showing that others felt the same.

I was never really into music until the middle of 8th grade. I was more a whatever is on the radio kind of person, watching MTV but not really caring that much about it. A lot of it was cool, but I was more into books, comics and role playing, music seemed like something cool kids were into, everything I was not. Even in my small minded town, we had goth kids, raincoat wearing, black hair dyed kids who talked about bands I never heard on our 50,000 watt channel of classic rock, but they seemed cool. 120 minutes on MTV was my gateway drug to the music these kids were discussing, filled with bands, and noise, and looks that were dark, daring and loaded with literary allusions. Soon I was buying vinyl, going to the city to get tapes, and British magazines, never being goth but goth-like. Working in a music store I learned more, found more bands, and spent lots of money on imports, 4AD rare singles and more. I would have loved this book so much back then, probably as much as I loved it now. Goth A History, is a look at a movement, discussing literature, movies, fashion and of course the music, written by Lol Tolhurst, co-founder of the Cure, whose music was such a soundtrack to the scene.

Lol Tolhurst was born in a small town in England, and wanted to get out almost from the beginning. Tolhurst was interested in music, forming bands, and working with his best friend from the age of five Robert Smith. Together the two would go on to create one of the greatest and most influential bands of the eighties, The Cure, but to get there there would be a lot of other influences. Tolhurst looks at the music of the time, punk and how as the anger of the music was co-opted into different darker things, many of these punk musicians began to create a different kind of music. Angry yes, but introspective, as the rage of youth settled into the grudging acceptance of how things were. Tolhurst looks at the draw of Gothic literature, the influences this had on music, the spread of Goth music and culture to Europe and finally to the Americas, where bands literally changed lives and influenced generations of musicians to come.

A book that looks at a scene from a person who was present, and knew most of the people involved, along with a bit of a biography about Lol Tolhurst himself. The book jumps from his youth trying to find himself, to influences from literature, T. S. Eliot, gothic horror stories, and even gothic romances. There are a lot of stories and behind the scene information, from how people met, to why songs were created, and a lot of how labels influenced the scene for good and for bad. Tolhust is a very good writer, able to capture moments with a clearness and an ability that time has given him to go, ohh that was important, or ohh that was a mistake. Also Tolhurst's scholarship is very interesting discussing literature and fashion with a sureness that conveys quite a lot of information. A book that music fans will really enjoy.

Recommended for fans of the goth scene, there is a lot of information of course, and a lot of introspection, far more than I expected. Not just a book for music fans, but for readers of books on culture scenes and the impact they have on today, and for those who want to remember a time when music had the ability to make one feel good and bad at the same time.

Was this review helpful?

Thoughtfully laid out, Tolhurts does a great balancing act within these pages: from switching up between adolescent tales of growing up in small-town England and searching for a place to fit in, to referencing the art and literature that inspired him and his peers over the years. Not only did I find immense joy in recognizing some of my favorite books as having inspired my favorite bandl, but also discovering new works along the way. Everything is connected. This book feels less like a cultural history lesson and more like a conversation with a close friend.

Was this review helpful?

Full Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of Goth: A History by Lol Tolhurst from Hachette Books via NetGalley.

Goth: A History is not a definitive, comprehensive history of Goth music or even Goth culture. Instead, it is a history of Goth music as told through the lens of someone who was there from its beginnings. As a founding member of the band that would later go on to be known as The Cure, Lol Tolhurst had a front row seat. I started listening to The Cure in high school when we still called it new wave music. Goth, as a label, would come later. The idea was still the same. I think what Lol does best is explain how misunderstood Goths can be because people judge them on their vampire-esque appearance. And while many Goths do adhere to a certain aesthetic, you don't have to dress in black to love Goth music. In fact, not all Goth music is dark and broody either. At the end of the day, those who have enjoyed Goth in any of its iterations, music, literature, art, or movies, will enjoy taking a stroll down memory lane and learning how it all began and how it evolved into what we know now.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC.

Lol Tolhurst’s Goth is both a history of the subculture and a memoir of the The Cure’s experience finding who they were musically and artistically in the bleak world of Thatcher’s England. Tolhurst explains how various artists, writers, musicians, and past movements helped to shape the subculture.

This book was such an interesting read. I loved the personal touches, the lively stories of The Cure and their contemporaries, and the focus on the hope that the subculture gave to the disaffected youth of that particular generation. Tolhurst gives heart to a subculture that is generally seen strictly as cold and dark by those who have gotten close to it. There is a creaminess and romanticism that isn’t often given a voice when examined by the mainstream.

Was this review helpful?

A well written and fascinating look at the Goth music of the 80s and 90s. I've always loved the goth scene as an 80s kid, and this really gave me so much background about the genre and movement that I didn't know at the time. It was a definite trip down memory lane and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in The Cure and the goth music scene.

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to read this the second I saw it - the title, the cover, the author. And I’m soooo glad that I had the opportunity to read an early copy of this. It’s no reach on my part to say that Goth: A History is an outstanding achievement for what must have been a labor of love on the part of Mr. Tolhurst. The history aspect is fascinating and I thoroughly enjoyed each page of this. I also really loved learning how literary works (from British classics to the poetry of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath) had such an important impact on the music.

As a teen in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s, goth music was (and still is) my preferred music. My own teens have taken up the helm, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to regularly listen along as they play so many of my own favorites ❤️

A must have for music fans, history fans, and anyone interested in getting an insider's view of the start and rise of goth culture.

Thank you to Hachette Books and NetGalley for the DRC!

Was this review helpful?

The Cure is my husbands favorite band which is why I wanted to get this ARC! I learned a lot about the culture, the people, the, the history, and the photos along with the times are historic! I loved this!

Was this review helpful?