Dean Reed was an American and the biggest rock star in the history of the Soviet Union. He was so famous his icons were sold alongside those of Josef Stalin. Reggie Nadelson first saw him in 1986 on a TV chat show. Few people in the West had ever heard of him. Six weeks later Reed was found dead in a lake in East Berlin. Was he murdered by the CIA? The KGB? A jealous husband? Nobody knew. Commissioned to write a film about him, she chased the mystery of his life and death across America and Eastern Europe, her own journey mirroring his.
For a quarter of a century, from 1961 to 1986, Dean Reed, his guitar on his back, took the music with him. He played 32 countries: his albums went gold from Bulgaria to Berlin. The Russians gave him a Lenin Prize. He was their American. Comrade Rockstar is not just the story of Dean Reed's progress from Hollywood starlet to Cold War Cowboy, but an account of the search that took Reggie Nadelson from Denver to Berlin, and from Hawaii to Moscow. As she travelled, the Berlin Wall was breached and Dean Reed became an increasingly alluring figure, his life an unrepeatable tale from the Cold War. Encountering the characters who peopled Dean Reed's world, she was caught in the seedy, sometimes moving, often hilarious subculture, of sex, politics and rock 'n' roll.