From Publishers Weekly
As a pop culture icon, a literary figure and perhaps even the physical and spiritual embodiment of the tumultuous 1960s, Bob Dylan has taken on more roles and shapes than any other musician. Dylan, according to Hunter S. Thompson, became "the voice of an anguished and half-desperate generation." Now, 43 years after Dylan recorded his first album, Hedin has gathered together not only the best writing on the ever-changing folk singer, but also some of the best writing about any musician around. More than just a hagiography of a celebrated musician, his well-balanced collection mixes harsh criticism and unabashed enthusiasm, drawing from the works of great writers and artistslike Greil Marcus, Sam Shepard, Allen Ginsburg, Joyce Carol Oates, David Gates, Nat Hentoff, Robert Christgau, Anne Waldman, David Hajdu and Barry Hannah, to name just a few. The breadth and depth of Hedins selection is wonderful, but the books greatest coup may be its elegant chronological structure, which allows for a sweeping view of both Dylan and the changing times he so eloquently captured in his music. In his introduction, Hedin points out that in 1961, when Dylans first record debuted, "Elvis was at the movies, Buddy Holiday was dead, Chuck Berry had been out of the Top 40" for two years, and the Beatles still hadnt come to New York. In those days, rock n roll didnt reflect lifes complexities, Dylan once told an interviewer, it was all "put on a happy face and ride Sally ride." How things have changed since then. Photos.
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Bob Dylan has written many of the most significant songs and recorded many of the most lasting albums of the past 40 years, and they have inspired a wealth of equally inspired writing. This valuable collection gathers nearly 50 pieces--critical essays, reviews, interviews, book excerpts, poems, and even a Sam Shepard one-act. Hedin presents them in rough chronology, tracing Dylan from his 1961 debut on the folk scene through his transformation into a rock innovator to his latest comeback with the acclaimed Love and Theft
. Among the more notable contributors are Allen Ginsberg, Johnny Cash, Joyce Carol Oates, and Hunter S. Thompson. Altogether, the pieces form a collage illustrating and illuminating Dylan's career and strongly attesting his enduring legacy and continued relevance. As Bruce Springsteen said on Dylan's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "To this day, wherever great rock music is being made, there is the shadow of Bob Dylan." Libraries' Dylan shelves may already be groaning, but Studio A
must be added to them. Gordon FlaggCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved