From Publishers Weekly
Dylan was a pampered Midwestern teen who listened to African-American music on the radio. His father bought him a pink convertible and a Harley in the same year; his high school band appeared on television sporting mom-made cardigans emblazoned with the band name "Jokers." He dropped out of his first year of college to explore the Greenwich Village folk scene and meet his hero, Woody Guthrie, into whose hospital room young Dylan barged. "[H]e instinctively played upon his baby-faced unworldly looks, and his considerable personal charm, to make friends [who] would help him... giving him a place to stay or offering him a few dollars," attests Sounes (Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life) in this exhaustive, up-to-date biography. Though the writing is uneven, Sounes delivers a judicious portrait of Dylan's foibles and virtues. Dylan, he claims, used people variously he mimicked his favorite performers and enjoyed of "the charity of kindhearted women." Much of the book traces his womanizing, from his relationship with Joan Baez to his eight years of marital bliss (before it unraveled) with Sara Lownds. Even his religious conversion was on account of the affections of his back-up singers, one of whom he had a child with and married, a little-known fact. Dylan has burned numerous bridges in his life, though many people remain loyal. Through extensive interviews Sounes aptly captures the contradictory facets of an American folk legend. (Apr.)Forecast: The 125,000-copy printing, bolstered by a $150,000 promotional budget, will sell well among Dylan's myriad fans, who will be celebrating his 60th birthday this year.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
Sounes's Down the Highway challenges Clinton Heylin's revised edition of Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades (LJ 10/1/00) for the coveted status of "definitive Dylan biography." British journalist Sounes (Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life, LJ 3/1/99) was particularly successful in persuading a number of previously tight-lipped friends, lovers, and associates to speak candidly about the reticent star. As a result, the reader is treated to the most detailed account yet of Dylan's 1966 motorcycle accident and subsequent withdrawal from the public eye. Sounes also peels away layers of mystery surrounding Dylan's complex romantic life and surprisingly conventional approach to fatherhood. More so than Heylin, Sounes succeeds in portraying Dylan's human side; Heylin, on the other hand, offers far more insightful analysis of Dylan's work. Sounes, too, loses momentum as he goes, with the last couple of chapters seeming slight and poorly realized. Overall, Hey-lin's work is superior, but the two books together provide as complete a portrait of the enigmatic pop icon as there has ever been. [Heylin's Bob Dylan was originally slated for publication last October, but it is only being released this spring.AEd.]ALloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., C.-ALloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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