From Publishers Weekly
Thirty years after Springsteen's first album, numerous books have been published about his rise from Bob Dylan-style acoustic folkie to the raging rocker of Born in the U.S.A. and the working-class hero of The Ghost of Tom Joad. But hardcore Springsteen fans-this volume's clear target audience-can't seem to read enough about their hero, and this collection's many fascinating observations should deeply satisfy them. Sawyers (Celtic Music: A Complete Guide) collects a wide range of articles about Springsteen from all stages of his career to show "his enormous facility for growth." Some of the best of these are groundbreaking essays from the 1970s by Peter Knobler of Crawdaddy and the late Lester Bangs of Creem, as well as Time and Newsweek's simultaneous 1975 cover stories after the release of Springsteen's Born to Run. What these articles offer are specific musical descriptions of Springsteen's ability, as noted by Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone, to encapsulate "20 years of rock & roll tradition." However, the bulk of the essays are solely concerned with Springsteen's progression in his lyrics from early descriptions of characters of the "street and boardwalk subcultures" in his native New Jersey to later looks at those characters' lost hopes and dreams. As Sawyers notes in her engaging introduction, Springsteen undertakes "an ongoing exploration, via popular song, of the very heart of the American psyche."
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Bruce Springsteen is often touted as an heir to Woody Guthrie's legacy as a songwriter who stood up for the downtrodden. That aspect of the enormously successful musician's career is pointed out time and time again in this eclectic collection of material, which includes concert and record reviews, interviews, poetry, novel excerpts, short stories, and essays from academic journals. Divided into three parts ("Growin' Up," "Glory Days," and "Rebirth") and including maps of the singer's hometown as well as a discography, career time line, and laudatory foreword by Martin Scorsese, the wealth of judiciously selected material provides a vivid portrait of the New Jersey native and his working-class roots. From the straight-ahead reportage of established rock journalists such as Dave Marsh and Lester Bangs to the evocative fictional excerpts of T. Coraghessan Boyle and Tom Perrotta to articles from local New Jersey newspapers, this is a remarkably atmospheric reckoning of a major contemporary artist. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved