Shock And Awe by Simon Reynolds (Faber and Faber)

The era of glam and glitter rock is often regarded as a somewhat skin deep period of rock and roll history and perhaps seems an unlikely topic for a a serious study.

However, Simon Reynolds' super book does not just describe some of the movement's major artists but also examines in detail the influences that led to this explosion of colour and sound and puts them in the context of a complex and shifting social scene.

The opening chapter on Marc Bolan and T Rex is magnificent in recalling the early 1970s and just what an impact Bolan made on popular culture at that time.

There is much, of course, concerning David Bowie and his ever-changing artistic personas.

Other artists which feature heavily include Roxy Music, The Sweet, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and the New York Dolls.

Slade warrant suitable coverage - they are often unfairly consigned to a footnote in rock history but for a couple of years they were huge.

I enjoyed the examination of the early career of Steve Harley - one of my favourite artists from that era - and also the sections on Mott The Hoople and 'shock rocker' Alice Cooper.

The latter's song Hello Hurray contains the line: 'Ready as this audience that's coming here to dream' and Reynolds argues the glam era was a time when people sought escapism in music and at gigs and dizzying role models to hero worship.

The book raises fascinating questions about the nature of art, performance, identity and reality and is a great read, particularly for those who recall the early 1970s music scene.