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on September 28, 2003
I have never seen a book of this type where the pictures and text fit together so perfectly. But those are just the tangible things. This book seems to give you a look into Bruce Springsteen's soul -- such a deep look that you almost feel as if you're intruding where you don't belong. But as a fan of the man as well as the music, I can see why Bruce chose this photographer. The pictures show him as he wants to be seen. As I said, truly a most amazing book.
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on November 3, 2003
1978 was a key moment in Bruce Springsteen's career, and Frank Stefanko was there to capture it in black and white. In these photos, you see a rock star breaking out, but still struggling and working his [tail] off. Stefanko had not even heard the Darkness album when he took the photos that would lead to its cover (and the cover of The River), but he captured the mood and the tone perfectly, of both the music and the musician. Even if you're not into photo books, if you have an interest in Springsteen, do yourself a favor and get this book.
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on January 20, 2004
This is a wonderful book. The photographs are uniformly compelling and insightful, as is the text. The reader is treated to a rare, unvarnished glimpse of an American hero about to "burst like a supernova." The images are timeless, and harken back to a simpler, perhaps more poignant time -- before MTV and the Internet changed the way we obtained and enjoyed our music. The author's spare text is thoughtful without being intrusive; a perfect compliment to the compelling images that accompany it. The text conveys a straightforward warmth and appreciation for the author's subject that are both refreshing and inspiring. This is a book to pore over, savor, and return to. Thank you, Frank, for sharing your gift -- and thank you, Bruce, for recognizing his genius, and for allowing us a little glimpse of yours.
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on September 23, 2003
Frank Stefanko's photos chronicle Bruce Springsteen from 1978 to 1982 -- pictures from small-scale photo shoots of "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "The River," and "Nebraska."
These remarkable photos capture the essence of who Springsteen was at that particular time in his life. A time when his musical career had just taken off, but he was still struggling with questions about his role as an artist, about who he was, and where he was going.
Frank Stefanko is undoubtedly a gifted photographer. Someone who was ideally suited and, dare I say, intended to take these pictures. There is a once-in-a-lifetime magic to almost every shot, for Springsteen was writing for and about characters just like Stefanko. Every note of Bruce's work embodies the sadness and hope of people learning to live with dreams found and lost. These photos get to the heart of those characters and this artist. Not surprising, since they were taken by a man seeing his world and his entire life right in front of him.
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on September 17, 2003
The second edition has just been released from a new publisher. It is now in hard-cover with a new dust jacket photo of Springsteen called "Bound." A greater treat is the actual cover which shows a wrap-around picture of Bruce and his 1960 Corvette. The text and photos are essentially the same. But the lay-out is cleaner and some of the photos have been cleaned up as well. The quality is superior overall, and the book should hold up better than the paperback. my comments from the first edition, below, still stand.

This book rocks! The 8o portraits of Bruce are sharp, edgy, and startling. Most of these pics have never been seen before. They are not mere snapshots, nor fuzzy stage shots. They are "in your face", large, clear, and with Bruce's "sharp eyes of truth" looking right at'cha.
They are accompanied by an affectionate and intimate narration by the photographer, Frank Stefanko. He chronicles his friendship and working relationship with Springsteen during those early "Days of hope and Dreams". A must have!
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on October 10, 2006
this is not only a book about an era in the beginning of the career of bruce, but a book about friendship as well. very nice photos. i recommend it to bruce fans
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on September 18, 2003
These pictures strike you like lightening...They are gritty and real. If you like Springsteen, if you want an insight into his early days, this is it. The stories told by the author (Stefanko), are personal and amusing. This is a book for the fans - not a lot of heavy reading. It's a fun ride in Bruce's front seat.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 19, 2012
Note: This review is based on the 2011 hardback edition of the book from Insight Publications. This is a reprinting of the same book published by Billboard Books in 2003. It is identical. Amazon, has a policy to group ALL versions of a title together so you will find reviews of the earlier editions and printings in this group of reviews.

I came upon this book at the opening of the new Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The exhibit is the same one mounted at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with a few additions. At the opening press conference the "author" of the book, Frank Stefanko (a Philly area native - actually in Southern New Jersey) gave a brief talk and the story behind some of the photos in this book. Some of his explanations are included the text that accompanies many of these (mostly black and white) photos. The 88 images were shot by Stefanko between 1978 and 1982 and graced the covers of two of Springsteen's albums ("Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "The River"). As he explains in the easy-to read text., Stefanko met Springsteen when Stafanko's college buddy, singer/songwriter/poet Patti Smith, recommended to Bruce that he use the photographer. The stories that Stafanko tells - about Springsteen's cars and his "overnight stay" at Stafanko's house, make this an interesting "read" as well as a visual delight.

I really need to deduct a HALF of a star from my rating - which would make it 4.5 stars - because of one serious omission. Though Springsteen's name is in the title - and it's he that will draw fans to this book - the other members of the E Street Band get short shrift. Those the members of the band are mentioned in the Introduction, they are never identified in any of the photos (a good number of which show the six members beside Bruce) in the book. Sure, Clarence Clemmons can be picked out and the same with "Little Steven", but a new generation of Springsteen fans should have this info and the guys who supported "the Boss" should have gotten more name recognition.

The images are sharp and the book is big (and Heavy!). I'm sure that, after seeing the Philly exhibit - which includes many of these photos - a lot of Bruce fans will pick up this book.

I hope you found this review both helpful and informative.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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on January 18, 2013
Hubby loved it. He's a huge Bruce fan and it made a great gift! I highly recommend this book! Awesome book!
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on May 3, 2013
If you haven't had enough of the Darkness at the End of Town period of Springsteen this book has some fantastic pictures of Bruce before he went buff.
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