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Comment: This book has already been well loved by someone else and that love shows. It MIGHT have highlighting, underlining, be missing a dust jacket, or SLIGHT water damage, but over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Chronicles Paperback – September 13, 2005


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  • Bob Dylan: "At last I was here, in New York City... I was there to find singers, the ones I'd heard on record--Dave Van Ronk, Peggy Seeger, Ed McCurdy, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, Josh White, the New Lost City Ramblers, Reverend Gary Davis... most of all to find Woody Guthrie." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.

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Product Details

  • Series: Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743244583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743244589
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (411 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One would not anticipate a conventional memoir from Bob Dylan--indeed, one would not have foreseen an autobiography at all from the pen of the notoriously private legend. What Chronicles: Volume 1 delivers is an odd but ultimately illuminating memoir that is as impulsive, eccentric, and inspired as Dylan's greatest music.

Eschewing chronology and skipping over most of the "highlights" that his many biographers have assigned him, Dylan drifts and rambles through his tale, amplifying a series of major and minor epiphanies. If you're interested in a behind-the-scenes look at his encounters with the Beatles, look elsewhere. Dylan describes the sensation of hearing the group's "Do You Want to Know a Secret" on the radio, but devotes far more ink to a Louisiana shopkeeper named Sun Pie, who tells him, "I think all the good in the world might already been done" and sells him a World's Greatest Grandpa bumper sticker. Dylan certainly sticks to his own agenda--a newspaper article about journeymen heavyweights Jerry Quarry and Jimmy Ellis and soul singer Joe Tex's appearance on The Tonight Show inspire heartfelt musings, and yet the 1963 assassination of John Kennedy prompts nary a word from the era's greatest protest singer.

For all the small revelations (it turns out he's been a big fan of Barry Goldwater, Mickey Rourke, and Ice-T), there are eye-opening disclosures, including his confession that a large portion of his recorded output was designed to alienate his audience and free him from the burden of being a "the voice of a generation."

Off the beaten path as it is, Chronicles is nevertheless an astonishing achievement. As revelatory in its own way as Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited, it provides ephemeral insights into the mind one of the most significant artistic voices of the 20th century while creating a completely new set of mysteries. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. After a career of principled coyness, Dylan takes pains to outline the growth of his artistic conscience in this superb memoir. Writing in a language of cosmic hokum and street-smart phrasing, he lingers not on moments of success and celebrity, but on the crises of his intellectual development. He reconstructs, for example, an early moment in New York when he realized "that I would have to start believing in possibilities that I wouldn’t have allowed before, that I had been closing my creativity down to a very narrow, controllable scale...that things had become too familiar and I might have to disorient myself." And he recounts how, in that search for larger reach, he actually went to the public library’s microfilm archives to learn the rhetoric of Civil War newspapers. Skipping the years of his greatest records, or perhaps saving those years for the second volume of his chronicle, Dylan recalls the times when he was sick of his public persona and made more lackluster albums like "Self-Portrait" and "New Morning." He then skips again to his comeback work with producer Daniel Lanois in the late 1980s. Dylan emphasizes that he was "indifferent to wealth and love," and readers looking for private revelations will be disappointed. But others will prize the display of musical integrity and seriousness that is evident in his minutia-filled accounts of his influences in folk and blues. Ultimately, this book will stand as a record of a young man’s self-education, as contagious in its frank excitement as the letters of John Keats and as sincere in its ramble as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, to which Dylan frequently refers. A person of Dylan’s stature could have gotten away with far less; that he has been so thoughtful in the creation of this book is a measure of his talents, and a gift to his fans.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to all Dylan fans, and anyone who likes to read a good autobiography.
Joseph C. Helton
The book is written in Dylan's own cryptic style and those who are unfamiliar or uneasy with the prose of a poet will be somewhat confused.
Michael J. Raymond
I was very happy with the many personal thoughts and experiences he did share in Chronicles; he was way more open that I expected.
V. Messner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

342 of 360 people found the following review helpful By John Flora VINE VOICE on October 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was in college back in the mid-1960s, I remember a piece in the student newspaper that sought to explain the new folk music phenomenon Bob Dylan. I wish I had a copy of that story today, just to see how it matches up with the man revealed in Dylan's new autobiography, Chronicles Volume One.

My dim recollection is that the sophomoric student article painted Dylan as an inscrutable eccentric trickster, deep yet elusive.

That's pretty much the general impression I've had of Dylan since I first heard him around 1964 or '65. And, of course, I thought of him as the conscience and voice of my generation.

Well, it turns out that he's neither, as least not in the way most of us thought.

Dylan, in his own words, comes across as a regular guy who just wanted to do his job and go home to his family without being hassled by every freak and geek who imagined him to be the new Messiah.

In a recent radio interview on NPR - the first he's given in my memory - he's asked if he ever thinks about walking away from music.

"Every day," is his comeback.

The book reveals a devoted family man who has spent much of his life plugging away at his craft and trying to shield himself and his loved ones from the glare of offstage attention.

The further I went in the book, the most shared impressions and cultural perceptions I discovered. I became a grandfather earlier this year and have been wrestling with the idea and its implications of advancing age and life changes. I feel a whole lot better about it now that I know Dylan owns a "World's Greatest Grandpa" bumper sticker.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By V. Messner on November 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some people have said this book doesn't reveal enough about Bob Dylan's personal life and that it skips around too much. I feel differently. Far as self-disclosure goes, Bob Dylan will never write a tell all, because that's just not the kind of person he is. I was very happy with the many personal thoughts and experiences he did share in Chronicles; he was way more open that I expected. This book does not read like a normal story. It's true. Bob doesn't always stick to a chronological line, but in no way does that detract from this unique and wonderful book. The joy in reading this autobiography doesn't lie in seeing Dylan neatly connect the dots. For me, it is just in taking each thought as it comes and enjoying it. Bob explains everything he's seen and done down to the most minute detail. In the book Dylan claims to "never forget a face," and I believe him. He certainly has close to a photographic memory. He remembers things from 30 years ago that I would have forgotten about yesterday - he's a professional observer if there ever was one. It's really unbelievable. It's easy to see that he's a very well read individual. This you will see in the book, as he elaborates and gives interpretations on the works of author after author, poet after poet. His unique personal writing style is no doubt a result of these many influences. I enjoyed this book more than anything I've read in a long time. I eagerly await Chronicles, vol. 2. and if you find Bob Dylan fascinating, I'd highly recommend Chronicles, vol. 1.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Robert P. Inverarity VINE VOICE on October 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
So the man has finally gotten around to writing about himself in prose, and you're thinking of grabbing this, the first fruit. A few remarks are in order, then, to help you decide whether to shell out the bucks. First I want to banish some possible misconceptions (ones I had and you very well might share); then I'll take a longer view of the book and tell you why I think it's worth five stars.

First, it's not an autobiography in the usual sense of the word. Sure, Bob is writing about himself and what he's done, but time flows freely forward and back and the subject changes (sometimes radically) every few paragraphs. He doesn't indulge in much self-justification, he doesn't try to chart a distinct arc of personal development, and it's not rare for him to start down a detour that screams for more exploration and then to turn the bus around. The comparison to X-Ray, the autobiography of Ray Davies of the Kinks, isn't entirely justified -- I don't think Dylan fictionalized much -- but Chronicles is closer in spirit to that than to more conventional rock autobiographies.

Second, Dylan lets you into his mind but he doesn't much open his heart. Suze Rotolo is the subject of some lyrical reminiscence, for instance, but their relationship is kept very abstract -- maybe he's protecting her privacy, I don't know. He talks about his love for his wife and kids at length in the "New Morning" chapter, but they never even show up as characters! His second (?) wife does show up in the "Oh Mercy" chapter, but she remains nameless and faceless. The only emotions Bob really describes are awe for his idols in his early days and frustration and loathing for himself in the "Oh Mercy" period.

Third, and finally, don't overestimate how much ground it covers.
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