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Customer Review

26 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vapid, hollow and sensationalistic, November 7, 2012
This review is from: Bruce (Hardcover)
I had such high hopes for this book. It was heralded as the "definitive" biography of Bruce Springsteen. I was thrilled to hear that Carlin had unfettered access to The Man himself.

And the book shows such early promise, with it's focus on the mind and mood disorders of Springsteen's father. But after careful consideration, I've realized that this is just another "gotcha-style gossip filled" bore of a book that left me feeling ultimately unsatisfied and troubled.

Carlin, who worked for years at People Magazine, proved his chops were limited to a few catchy quotes and mostly banal conclusions. Where is any discussion about the near religious communal exchange of energy between Bruce Springsteen and his fans, who clearly love him dearly? Where is the discussion of how Springsteen's legendary marathon concerts made concert goers in converts? Where is the sense of trust and loyalty exchanged between Springsteen and his audience.

This book feels, in the final analysis, like a book-lengthed People's Magazine attempted to shed new light on a subject that has been covered so well and so much more convincingly in other bio's like Eric Alterman's "It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad Your Alive," and Dave Marsh's personal "Glory Days" double-shot.

Perhaps worst of all is the manner in which Carlin seems to have gotten much desired and rarely given access to Bruce Springsteen and his inner circle. Rather than asking for permission at the outset, like any other "honest" journalist might do, Carlin interviewed so many people with connections to the Springsteen camp over the years. And this sleazy strategy put Springsteen and manager Jon Landau in a position where he basically had no other choice than to give Carlin interviews.

And you can tell, if you read between the lines, that Carlin's constant probing of Springsteen's very personal family life that he ended up coming off like a tiny flea that would not go away. Springsteen's frustration with Carlin comes across several times and, while the rocker gave him his blessing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, it must have been a tremendous relief for Springsteen to say adios to Carlin.

Save your money and buy one of the other, more sustanative narratives about the life and time of Bruce Springsteen. Because reading "BRUCE" is like eating a dinner of Chinese Food. Twenty minutes after you've finished, your hungry again!
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 8, 2012 7:17:41 PM PST
E. Brunak says:
This reviewer seems to contradict himself - applauding the unfettered access to the more guarded aspects of a powerful figure, and yet appearing flumoxed that a writer would be so audacious as to "shake the tree" to gain this access. I don't think you can have it both ways...and maybe you confuse the source of Springsteen's irritation - if folks are "giving up" sensitive info (depression, family history of mental illness), it can often be uncomfortable, awkward...I'm definitely interested now...

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 7:44:52 AM PST
He must have read a different book from the one I read. I highly recommend this book.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 8:39:14 AM PST
Bornintime says:
I agree with both of the comments on this review. I am less than halfway through the book but this is the most informative book on Bruce that I have ever read. And that is due to the author's persistence. The author definitely has a great appreciation for Bruce's music but he respects the reader enough to dive into the unpleasant aspects of Bruce's personality. Which is what makes this book different from the typical Dave Marsh type of bio, where no one would ever say anything that would paint Bruce in a bad light.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 5:06:10 PM PST
I am so tired of the sycophantic tone of every Bruce Springsteen book I've read. I am hoping this one scrapes away the whitewash of those dreadful "unauthorized" Marsh bios.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 6:54:45 PM PST
Bornintime says:
I couldn't agree more. I am halfway through the book and the author does shows Bruce's dark side, but only up to a point. I am also reading at the same time Clinton Heylin's new Bruce book. I am more enjoying the Heylin book even though I can tell he did not have the access that Carlin had. But Heylin is completely unconcerned about Bruce's feelings. I loved reading a differing viewpoint on the whole Mike Appel thing where Bruce is painted as the bad guy also. Unheard of in a Springsteen bio.

Posted on Dec 11, 2012 12:23:33 PM PST
Patrick King says:
Excuse me, did you read this book? Carlin goes into great detail about Springsteen's concept of a "conversation" with his audience. He quotes Springsteen and Landau in depth about how they foster the communications with the fans. I don't think this book is perfect either but it is WAY more than a one star effort.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 3:58:59 PM PST
Yes, in fact I read it twice.
I still think it's garbage.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2012 4:07:22 PM PST
Bornintime says:
I completely disagree with you classifying this book as "gotcha-style gossip filled". I think that overall Bruce is portrayed in a positive light. The things you criticize this book for (an actual analyis of the negative sides of his personality) are what I think many will find refreshing and new in the world of Bruce biographies.

Posted on Dec 17, 2012 9:51:11 AM PST
If you are interested in the "...religious communal exchange..." between Bruce
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