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Though not at Dylan proportions (yet), there's a growing cottage industry of books that analyze Bruce Springsteen. This is one of them, focused on the album 'Nebraska,' but with a fair amount of what Springsteen did after as well.
It's a decent read; the author does a good job of connecting Springsteen to folk tradition, tells the story of the album well, and expands on it with a chapter about a bootleg that revealed Springsteen's early efforts at 'Nebraska.' He also has strong quotes from musicians on the lasting influence of the album. (The quotes alone are worth the price of admission.)
But he briefly, tragically goes off the rails when talking about 9/11. It's wrong-headed enough to make me question the rest of his judgment.
It's worth quoting the passage at length:
"The world changed on 9/11. At least that's what the international media told us so it must be true, right? Wrong. What changed on 9/11 was that those who would not be enslaved by America's omnipresent brand of capitalism, by its cultural homogenisation of the planet, struck back. What changed was that indiscriminate killing on a scale unprecedented outside military engagement between nations came to America. What changed was that an American President under suspicion for stealing the election the previous December, exploited the suffering of thousands of grieving families to seize the moral high ground and wage a phoney war on a fundamentalist Islamist terrorist group that probably doesn't even exist."
For the record, I think the rationale for the war in Iraq was invented by the Bush administration, and that the war was a grevious mistake.Read more ›
This a great book--especially if you are a big Boss fan. It had good insights into the songs that he wrote--and his lyrics really portray what a stark oasis in the landscape and the life of the persons who live in this psychological landscape, as well.
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Mr.Burke is a born writer. His book, Heart of Darkness, is a pleasure. The only criticism I have is his taking to task the Boss 's manager ? Jon Landau, for prohibiting access to Mr. Springsteen . Any unknown writer would suffer the same consequence. Mr . Burke shouldn't take it so personally. But as it stands he comes across a little thin-skinned and - dare I say - egocentric. Along the way he gets distracted by his hurt feelings and loses his focus - which ought to be the art and craft of the Boss and one his all - time great accomplishments , Nebraska .
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