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Who Is That Man?: In Search of the Real Bob Dylan Hardcover – April 24, 2012


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Hardcover, April 24, 2012
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; First Edition edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323391
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323394
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mr. Dalton, a founding editor of Rolling Stone, dates back so far in Dylan watching that he was all but present at the creation. He writes not just about Mr. Dylan but about what it's like to have lived in close psychic and musical proximity to him for so long."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"[Dalton's] attempts at exposing, debunking, and celebrating the essence of Robert Zimmerman's Dylanness, and vice versa, make for an intriguing, often amusing, vision quest. Dylan's quirks, kinks, and inscrutability are fascinating fodder for endless interpretations. Dalton is entitled to his, and they're the opposite of dull."—Robin Finn, The New York Times Book Review

"For all of the shelf-busting Dylan literature that's out there, it's rare that you find a book in which the music is discussed as adroitly as any aspect of the life... Dalton is a penetrating critic."—Colin Fleming, Washington Post

"Addictive reading... This approach would have crumbled in lesser hands, but Dalton does a stunningly good job."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The mysteries of Bob Dylan captured in even-handed, never-boring fashion... This lively and literate attempt to read a half-century's worth of brain scans from a literal living legend strikes the right balance between admiration and skepticism."—Kirkus Reviews

"All David Dalton's books are wonderful, but Who Is That Man? is especially insightful, funny, and beautifully written."—Marianne Faithfull

"Dalton's crazy poetic prose first caught my eye in Rolling Stone back in the day. Have loved his writing ever since. Oh yeaah!"—Steven Tyler

"The first truly hip analysis of the ultimate hipster."—Lenny Kaye

About the Author

David Dalton is a founding editor of Rolling Stone, recipient of the Columbia School of Journalism Award, and winner of the Ralph J. Gleason Best Rock Book of the Year award for Faithfull. He has written twelve books, including biographies of James Dean, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious and the Rolling Stones. He is the screenwriter for an upcoming Janis Joplin biopic.

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Customer Reviews

If you are a fan of Dylan, rock history, or social change this book is a great read.
W. Murray
If you're convinced that Dylan is phony and his work tainted by his core phoniness, buy this book.
JS
Dalton's prose style frames Dylan's story in a witty and thoroughly insightful manner.
bf07825

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Simmons on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Having read all 917 and 1/2 books about Bob Dylan, David Dalton's Who Is That Man? is the tops. Like a good biographer and historian, Dalton knows the facts. Like the fine writer he's shown himself to be over and again, he's part-poet, part-stand-up comedian, part-psychoanalyst, part-screenwriter. For example, his literate and witty exegesis of Dylan's novel Tarantula is a classic of Creative Bobology. Bravo!

And Young Matt, if you're going to call out the author for an error, you ought to be a bit more careful yourself. It's called a "chapter," not a "chaper."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. Murray on July 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you are a fan of Dylan, rock history, or social change this book is a great read. Dylan the man has long been better at telling us about ourselves and our society than at revealing himself - only periodically offering glimpses of who he may be, revelations that he quickly denies. Even his "autobiography volume 1" was more of a collage and a tease than any true chronicle.

With "Who Is That Man..." Dalton has written a masterful book. He places Dylan in the midst of a changing musical scene and a changing society, which he deconstructs to reveal how Dylan connected to underlying elements, primarily in the world of music.

Early in his career, during the folk/protest years, Dylan was characterized as a spokesperson for his generation - a label that he began to deny almost immediately. Far from being an idol, there is sadly a growing collection of biographies that paint an unflattering portrait of Dylan in many ways, revealing a character that seems to be at odds with the idealism and romance of his body of work. For example, although he's not generally associated with wanton drug use - having escaped the fate of Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix, and others - Dalton writes that Dylan was a heavy user of speed, and introduced John Lennon to heroin. Dalton tells how Dylan consistently and consciously used others to advance his career, how his personality had a deep and wide cruel streak that he intentionally adopted, and how he was a rival of other hipsters of his day, Warhol, the Beatles, the Stones. This book can be added to that list of unflinching scrutiny as people interviewed by the author take Dylan to task for his associations, his behavior, and his acid pen.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John W. Whitehead on June 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Who Is that Man?" is one of the best Dylan biographies ever written. This is one of David Dalton's best efforts since his "James Dean: The Mutant King." What makes this book so relevant is David's unique perspective on Dylan's music. Dylan's influence has been immense and his mythology will continue to haunt the cultural landscape long after he bites the dust. That influence--quirks and all--is brought to vivid life by Dalton.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By sassin on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nothing written about Bob Dylan comes close to David Dalton's WHO IS THAT MAN? It's intelligent, funny, insightful, caustic, revealing and driven by Dalton's completely original voice. Having read all available bios, this is the only one that creates a work of art about the artist while still telling the facts as they are known. Dalton brings the various stages and disguises of Dylan's life alive with an energy that is breathtaking. The bio is brilliant rocknroll prose that never shies away from the truth(s) while shining a light on the deceptions and lies that accompany any individual's growth as an artist- especially one as mercurial as Dylan. Dalton sees somebody naked and searches for reality among the costumes, masks and make-up that cover Dylan in evermore translucent transformations over his seventy-one years on this earth. Reading this bio is like hearing HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED for the first time- whatever you feel about it, you won't forget it. Finally, a book about rocknroll that IS rocknroll! Read it and get busy being born....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerald S. Samson on August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much of the information in this yummy book can be found in other places, but Dalton's telling and his interpretation make it the best Dylan book I've read.
Dalton's descriptions of the mind of a Dylan fan ring very close to home. Dylan may not want to be stared at, but I'll keep watching him through my binoculars.

When Dalton compared Dylan to Schrodinger's cat, I realized that Dalton is the "Dylan" of rock writers.

Betty Ann Samson
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vincent on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Dalton writes with wonderful flair and feeling and shows no hesitation about voicing opinions on Dylan's long and varied career. The photographs are excellent as well. While I admire this book, it does not quite rank with the works of Heylin, Williams, or Gray. Particularly unsatisfying is the compressed final section of the book, where Dalton paints an opinionated and overly generalized picture of Dylan's "dismal" performance art of the late 1980's and early 1990's. Of course, the 1991 Stuttgart show is one of the worst displays by any performing artist and the brief Grateful Dead collaboration didn't work at all, but anyone who attended or has collected the concerts of late 1987 through 1990 (and the last part of 1991) will take issue with Dalton's blanket condemnation. Many if not most of those performances rank as some of the finest in Dylan's career. Moreover, Dalton's claim that the band was indifferent and had numerous replacement parts is simply inaccurate. G.E. Smith, Tony Garnier, and Christopher Parker were mainstays during most of that period. While Dylan himself may have had various issues, the concerts themselves were quite brilliant. I was at quite a few. Nevertheless, the first three-quarters of Dalton's book is absolutely solid, and the overall rating would be five stars, were it not for the seriously flawed finale.
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