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The Half That’s Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread


A passionate memoir and fearless behind-the-scenes look at the personal lives of the biggest reggae stars in the world.

$18.95 $14.24

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Impassioned and engaging.”

“A heartfelt tribute to Caribbean roots music and those who keep it alive.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In 1972, Gary Himelfarb . . . heard reggae music for the first time and fell in love. He embraced the music . . . with a passion that he matched with a genuine curiosity about Jamaican culture and sincere friendships with musicians there. . . . There is a sweetness and sincerity to the best parts of the book . . . . Dread’s serious case of ‘reggaemylitis’ gave him some remarkable experiences.”
Publishers Weekly

“The book is a tale of business, family, ethics, health, and survival . . . an entertaining read.”
Washington City Paper

“A gem . . . Real music heads will truly enjoy this book. . . . For anyone who is a fan of Reggae music, this book is a must-have.”
Baltimore Times

“A nice read . . . hilarious and spellbinding.”
Caribbean Life

“Doctor Dread may just prove to be as gripping a storyteller as he was a record producer. In this revelatory vignette-filled offering, he bends the rules with an unorthodox literary style, unveiling a torrent of chronicles that are spontaneous, colorful, richly authentic and brazen. This is a unique work on many levels. Doctor Dread does offer new and intimate insights into the legends of Jamaican culture. . . . Highly recommended.”
Jamaica Gleaner

“Full of heart and soul as well as photos from many of the author’s greatest moments, it is a must for anybody interested in reggae music and its cast of characters or the music business in general.”

“This book should be on the shelf of any serious lover of reggae . . . Not only is Himelfarb a great storyteller . . . he is also a talented writer.”

“An inside perspective of the reggae music phenomenon . . . [Dread] explains how his decision to form the RAS label came at a tragic but important moment in music history, as the death of Bob Marley in 1981 led to a market eager for the earthy sounds of reggae. Dread also relates fine portrayals of legends like Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell, the many Marleys, Freddie McGregor, and Bunny Wailer.”

“This easily readable memoir does far more than chart the label’s ebbs and flows . . . . Delightfully candid and brutally honest, this is a must-read for all reggae fans.”
MOJO Magazine (UK)

“Hugely compelling page-turner . . . . a no-nonsense tome that gives intimate portraits of Jamaican music’s most colorful characters, and sheds light on the individual world view of Doctor Dread, with many ‘twilight zone’ incidents, lots of confliction, and a good deal of redemption too. . . . Recommended reading for all reggae fans.”
Riddim Magazine (Germany)

“Absolutely not to be missed!”
HotMC (Italy)

“Doctor Dread has been a very serious contributor to the global value of this great reggae music . . . Apart from being a serious businessman, Doctor Dread to I is a brother . . .”
—Bunny Wailer, from the Introduction

“No reggae fan can afford to miss this lively, rich, from-the-hip account from one of the industry’s most unlikely visionaries. And no human being can afford to miss this story of spiritual questing, cultural boundary-crossing, and the transformative power of music.”
—Adam Mansbach, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep

“From the very inside of the Jamaican music business and its gnarly secrets to his intimate contacts with its greatest movers and shakers, Doctor Dread has told a story only he can fully elucidate. Amusing, insightful, deeply revealing, and certain to be controversial, Doc’s book pulls the covers off Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, and countless other world-famous iconic figures, giving us the day-to-day tussles and rewards of being one of the prime exposers of Jah Music in North America through his award-winning RAS Records. Essential to an overstanding of what really a gwan inna yard. Highly recommended.”
—Roger Steffens, founding editor, The Beat; founding chairman of the Reggae Grammy Committee (1984–2011)


With an introduction by Bunny Wailer.

Doctor Dread has committed his life to producing reggae music and releasing it on his label, RAS Records. He has become one of the world’s foremost reggae producers, and has worked with almost all the genre’s icons: Bunny Wailer, Black Uhuru, Ziggy and Damian Marley, Gregory Isaacs, etc. This book, full of behind-the-scenes stories, has shocking chapters that will reveal aspects of reggae never before explored.

Read features on The Half That’s Never Been Told at the Jamaica Observer here and here.

Read excerpts from The Half That’s Never Been Told at LargeUp (here and here) and at Reggaeville (here).

Doctor Dread talked to the Washington Post Express about The Half That’s Never Been Told; read the interview here.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Published: 3/3/15
  • IBSN: 9781617752902
  • e-IBSN: 9781617753251


DOCTOR DREAD was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. Upon first hearing reggae music in 1972 he became completely enthralled by Jamaican culture and the tenets of Rastafari. This was reinforced when he became a deejay on the DC-area progressive radio station WHFS, where he first took on the moniker of Doctor Dread (his real name is Gary Himelfarb). He next founded RAS Records, which was responsible for distributing and producing reggae artists from Jamaica to every corner of the earth. Doctor Dread forged very intimate relationships with the artists of Jamaica and to this day remains committed to the culture and people of this country he has come to call his “true home.” He also founded his own line of Jamaican food items, Doctor Dread’s Famous Jamaican Jerk Products, which include seasonings, potato chips, and peanuts, with many more products in the works. He is the author of The Half That’s Never Been Told: The Real Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread.

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