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Praise for a piece of Love and War

“Voices in the Sky”


A great piece of writing. There’s just not enough good storytelling about the real world, that big beautiful place between Hollywood and New York City. — Cameron Crowe, 2003 Oscar winner for Best Screenplay


Loved it. It captures what we parents hope and pray for with our children. — Deborah Santana, author of Space Between the Stars


Great story. — Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Wonder Bread Summer: A Novel





Hit me right between the eyes. In a remarkably few words, it showed me the torment that a combat vet brings home with him and tries to live with for the rest of his life.— Eric Newhouse, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Faces of Combat





Brilliant. — Mark Brown, Managing Editor, The Land Press, Tulsa



“Sixteen Tons and What Do You Get”


An important contribution. —Jerry Brown, Green Labor Journal

Love for the whole thing

Lee Ballinger’s Love and War not only occupies your mind, it occupies your heart. Written with an understanding of society and an undying love for humanity, this book will leave you wanting more. — Cheri Honkala, 2012 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate


Really nice work. I like the directness and honesty of the poems. — Alex Skolnick, lead guitarist, Testament


Lee Ballinger is the most important writer on music and culture that we have. Reading his works over the decades is revelatory. It's prescience, politics, and passion all set to a timeless beat. — Dave Zirin, author of A Peoples History of Sports in the United States


Lee Ballinger’s soulful essays, poems and music reviews are much more than just a ‘trip down the last half of the 20th century memory lane.’ Ballinger shows us that there is no time to wax nostalgic for an era that has passed. But rather to learn from those epic battles, whether wins or losses, so as to inspire and propel us to stand up and take on the rich and powerful before it’s too late. He’s always done that, whether in the swamps of Vietnam, the coke ovens of a Youngstown steel mill or even in a small room, banging away at his computer long, long  into the night.  I remain profoundly moved by the work contained in this book. — Jill Furillo RN, Executive Director, New York State Nurses Association


Love and War is a mosaic of writings that affirm Ballinger's place as a scribe of an era, covering art forms and artists that define much of our cultural consciousness. But more importantly, this collection reveals Ballinger as a masterful artist in his own right. His ability to bring words to life through poetry and stories gives something much more important to the readers --a shared understanding of experiences, reminding us all how much can be learned through shared stories, not only about one man's journey through a thirty-year writing career, but about our shared humanity and existence. — Kristine Wright, Sociologist and Professor at Los Angeles Southwest College


Lee Ballinger's book roars and pounds like the best songs of Creedence, Lynyrd Skynyrd, or Bruce Springsteen. As a Vietnam veteran and a former steelworker, he articulates--like those rockers--a working-class vision of America that is all too rare. His insights about our country--its music, its history, even its sports--are those of a genuine patriot. And his book is absolutely essential. — John Eskow, screenwriter (Air America, Pink Cadillac) and author of Smokestack Lightning: A Novel of Rock ‘N’ Roll


To read Lee Ballinger's Love and War is to plunge into the heart and soul of America... and of humankind. He moves us as he draws us into the always political yet always poetic roots of how life goes and brings us elation by revealing, like a magician, something that had not entered our minds before but is oh, so right once we see it. Start reading Love and War, and you will wish you knew Lee Ballinger. Read on, and you will know that you do. He is in your skin. 

— Paula J. Caplan, Fellow, Women and Public Policy Program, Kennedy School, Harvard University and author of When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home


I hope I don’t have to wait thirty years for Volume Two. — Chris Manson, editor, The Beachcomber (Destin FL)


Ballinger's long-awaited book Love and War is a tribute to music in the trenches, played under siege from uptight moralists, censorious politicians and a vicious economic system that mercilessly exploits artists and consumers alike. Ballinger has never relinquished his faith in music as a shattering force of human liberation. Just follow those bass lines to the barricades.— Jeffrey St. Clair, author of Born Under a Bad Sky and editor of CounterPunch


Lee Ballinger’s well-trained eye sees the currents of meaning in life that most folks miss—the political, soulful, emotional soundtrack that plays all around us. Love and War also showcases his impressive range of vision—from music and sports to poetry and America itself. This book is a pleasure to read for its graceful prose and its passionate messages. — Jay Walljasper, author of All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons


Love and War is Lee Ballinger's fierce gift to anyone interested in what's been going on for the past thirty years.  The combination of music reviews, poetry, political commentary, and searching spiritual meditation forms a mosaic of our shared history. — Craig Werner, author of A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race, and the Soul of America


Lee Ballinger's Love and War takes the reader on a journey employing poetry, screenplays and a variety of nonfiction essays that dramatically explore the bond between biography and history. Love and War embodies what sociologist C. Wright Mills called The Sociological Imagination.  Lee Ballinger grasps the connection between "biography and history, of self and world." He has the ability to "range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self and to see the relations between the two."  We need more voices like his added to our choir.— Roy Silver, Professor of Sociology, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College


Lee Ballinger’s Love and War is as omnivorous in form as it is in content, consisting of poems, essays, emails, op-ed columns and short stories on subjects ranging from immigration and identity to civil rights, family ties and the power of music. Urgent and imagistic, Ballinger's meditations speak to the head and stir the heart. — Bill Friskics-Warren, author of I'll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge for Transcendence

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