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It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen Paperback – August 9, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
Alterman's book is not so much a biography (which in many ways it is), as much as it is a substantive and interesting look at Springsteen's artistic work and productive career. As a result, the reader gets an insightful feel for where Springsteen fits in the grand scheme of American history and pop culture, as well as a meaningful human portrait of a rock 'n' roll icon.
Most of the book is devoted to conceptual and thematic interpretations of Bruce's albums and songs. However, to avoid purely subjective analysis, Alterman intelligently talks about the political and social times under which these albums were released. This has the overall effect of bringing Springsteen's work ALIVE for the reader and giving him or her the proper context to more fully understand what Bruce was striving for at that point in his career. All the while, there are biographic facts and stories interspersed which helps put flesh and life on the subject. In other words, when you read about Springsteen in Alterman's book you feel like you're actually reading about another human being, not some aloof and detached celebrity.
Alterman is also very fair in his writing. He talks about the legendary triumphs of Born to Run and Nebraska, as well as the artistic struggles and 2nd-rate nature of much of the Human Touch material.
The best element of this book is the human portrait of Bruce Springsteen that emerges.Read more ›
Bruce has the same frailties that we have, which endears him all the more. My parents died several years ago and the home we grew up in was sold. I found myself driving out of my way to go past the old home without really knowing why. Alterman gives an insight into Bruce having the same unconscious habit that has given me something to think about regarding my own past.
I could not put this book down. There is a lot of human insight in this book that non-fans could even connect with. Alterman knows his subject. It's a great story and my next book is a letdown already.
I have one small reason for not giving this book a fifth star. I would have hoped that a writer of such talent in indentifying various bodies of thought would have been able to secure an interview with Springsteen. Much of this book demands comment from the Boss -- such as hearing what our self-taught muse has read that has influenced him. Occassional comments in other interviews or in concert monologues is an odd way to assemble his thought ... more akin to writing about a dead president than the living king of rock.
Or the quintessentially American tension in his music between rebellion and responsibility. Most rock artists (other than say Dylan) have avoided taking it on directly in their lyrics. What does this say about the limits of Rock as an art form? I want to know what the Boss thinks.
A draft of this manuscript certainly should have been worthy of getting a few hours of Springsteen's time so that he could speak more directly about his ideas. And if Alterman did try to do this and failed, that in itself is a story worth telling.
Still, a really fun read. I read it in two sittings.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eric Alterman is a Bruce guy. And, perhaps all music biographers are inherently fans, but Alterman is...F-A-N! Read morePublished on September 8, 2013 by SteveJ
A decent timeline of Bruce from Freehold to the reunion tour. Interesting to connect the dots to what world events were about to take place and the inspiration for The Rising and... Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by Kendra Davis
This book is well researched, well written and fun to read. I learned much more about Bruce on the human vs. superstar side.Published on August 19, 2012 by Michael Wild
I picked up this book when I first discovered the music of Bruce Springsteen. I was immediately taken by the way Alterman described his own experience as a fan. Read morePublished on October 19, 2009 by Candace
This is certainly not the definitive Bruce bio- nor does it pretend to be. All one has to do is read the introduction and get that all this book pretends to be is "something to... Read morePublished on September 14, 2006 by CJ
This book is not THE Bruce bio but a rather personal view at the songs and the impact Bruce has had on many of us who grew up with him. Read morePublished on May 24, 2005 by Michael - Copenhagen
This book serves as a good introduction to learning about Bruce Springsteen and his music, his band, and career. But it is by no means a great literary masterpiece. Read morePublished on March 27, 2005 by Up The Stairs
Half biography, half love letter, Eric Alterman's dissection of the impact of Bruce Springsteen on america is well informed, expertly reported, and in a way that you don't see... Read morePublished on October 2, 2004 by E. Kutinsky