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Born to Run Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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“An utterly unique, endlessly exhilarating, last-chance-power-drive of a memoir.”
“Frank and gripping.”
—David Brooks, The Atlantic
“Bruce Springsteen's life is now officially an open book. Born to Run takes readers on a riveting ride through the everyman rock star’s deeply lived existence.”
“Intensely satisfying...Born to Run is, like his finest songs, closely observed from end to end. His story is intimate and personal, but he has an interest in other people and a gift for sizing them up..”
—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Springsteen can write—not just life-imprinting song lyrics but good, solid prose that travels all the way to the right margic...And like a fabled Springsteen concert—always notable for its deck-clearing thoroughness —Born to Run achieves the sensation that all the relevant questions have been answered by the time the lights are turned out. He delivers the story of Bruce—in digestibly short chapters—via an informally steadfast Jersey plainspeak that’s worked and deftly detailed and intimate with its readers—cleareyed enough to say what it means when it has hard stories to tell, yet supple enough to rise to occasions requiring eloquence—sometimes rather pleasingly subsiding into the syntax and rhythms of a Bruce Springsteen song."
—Richard Ford, The New York Times Book Review.
“A virtuoso performance, the 508-page equivalent to one of Springsteen and the E Street Band's famous four-hour concerts: Nothing is left onstage, and diehard fans and first-timers alike depart for home sated and yet somehow already aching for more.”
"Kinetic...The ultimate rock star shares like he's got one last chance to make it real. It's like sitting next to Springsteen in the campfire light hearing his life story -- you'll be begging for another exhilarating refrain."
—People (Book of the Week)
“Excellent...very funny....eminently readable and engaging. Springsteen was also born to write. He has an active, energetic style that is part Jack Kerouac and part Instagram post.”
“Born to Run has a compelling narrative and an organized structure worthy of a Catholic schoolboy of the 1950s….Mr. Springsteen writes fluidly about subjects light, dark and darker. He’s funny and solemn, tender and insightful. In Born to Run, he risks his mythic stature, but he emerges as more substantial, more admirable. Now Mr. Springsteen isn’t merely a star. He is a man – a son, a husband, a father and a friend – willing to share what he’s learned.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Richly rewarding….Bruce Springsteen proves that he has taken on life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music….It’s alternately brutally honest, philosophically deep, stabbingly funny and, perhaps most important, refreshingly humble.”
—Los Angeles Times
"A master storyteller.... the language of his memoir often sings and leaps off the page with alliteration and pulse, especially when he's rhapsodizing about rock 'n' roll."
—Will Hermes, NPR
“Both an entertaining account of Springsteen’s marathon race to the top and a reminder that the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself.”
"Bruce Springsteen is the bard of lost American dreams....The origin of poetry, thought William Wordsworth, was emotion recollected in tranquillity. That motto describes both the content of Mr Springsteen’s book and the appeal of his songs, many of which look back on youthful traumas from a mature perspective.”
“Glorious…a philosophically rich ramble through a rock 'n roll life…. Reading his intimate look back on a remarkable yet troubled life, it’s safe to say that Bruce’s aesthetic wouldn’t be complete without this long-form Song of Springsteen. It’s the lyric he was born to write.”
—USA Today (four stars out of four)
“Where Springsteen soars — both as musician and writer — is in his ability to bear witness, not only to his own inner life but to the lives of those left behind in the post-industrial wastelands of this nation. Springsteen made it out of Freehold, but he never turned away from the ‘grinding hypnotic power’ of the place and its people. Born to Run’ documents the unlikely rise of a rocker hellbent not on escape, but on reckoning with the moral failings of the world he was born into."
"A masterpiece….Bruce Springsteen could have put out a collection of recipes in Esperanto, cribbed from Campbell soup cans, and it would still be an international bestseller. Typically, he went the distance. And the result is nothing short of magnificent….I wish I could buy everyone a copy….This isn't just a book for Bruce fans, but for anyone who loves rock 'n' roll, the Shore or the last 40 years of Jersey pop-culture history. It's as epic as his recent four-hour concerts. And just as satisfying.”
—Jacqueline Cutler, NJ.com
"He must be conceded a magic with words: He can spin not only a yarn but often an extended analysis, too.... His disclosures here are rich, deep, and useful to help destigmatize mental illness."
About the Author
Bruce Springsteen has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, the Academy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He lives in New Jersey with his family.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bruce’s autobiography, Born to Run, gives his fans tremendous insight into what it was that has driven Bruce over the course of his life and career. The motivations, the demons, the anxiety, the joys, the fears, the hopes, the dreams, all the elements that have constituted the Boss’s muse over these past 50 years are explained here. And not only is Bruce one of the great writers of lyrics and music, he is a great writer of prose. He amply demonstrates this here for all the world to see. He shares his story in a way only he could.
If you intend to purchase and read this book, I will tell you it is a real page turner. I could not put this book down. It has a somewhat imposing profile at 528 pages, but it is an easy read. An inspiring read. I do not want to reveal any of the revelations the reader will discover within the pages of this book, but I can say it was interesting to learn that Bruce possesses many of the same insecurities of us mere mortals.
Bruce discloses, in great detail, particulars of his early years, his upbringing, the issues that influenced the way he thinks, his musically formative years, his wide held acclaim, his family, his doubts, his fears, and a treasure trove of personal details I have never heard before. I have been a Springsteen fan for over four decades. I grew up less than 30 miles from Freehold, NJ. I used to go see Bruce in those little seaside bars he used to sing about. I have seen many Springsteen interviews. I have attended over 60 shows. I have read most of the previously published articles and books. Much of the material in this book has never been publicly presented before, and all in his own words. Bruce has obviously spent much time in intense introspection, and he shares many of his insights and conclusions here.
Bruce is arguably the world’s greatest showman. Now that the great James Brown has passed on, the moniker, “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” clearly belongs to Bruce. His unique gifts of lyric writing, musical composition, musicianship, and studio and on stage performance have rarely been seen in a single person. Bruce has won 20 Grammys (out of 49 nominations), 2 Golden Globe Awards, an Academy Award, 2 Emmy Awards, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, has received a Kennedy Center Honor, and so much more. He now shows himself to be a gifted writer as well. And this book provides tremendous insights into how all that came about.
Bruce’s drive for perfectionism is explained. Why “good enough” is not in his vocabulary. Bruce is keenly aware the music will last forever. Here he is, 67 years old, and still performing to sold out stadiums and arenas every time he plays. His fans love him. He knows that, and he knows why. He strives to produce and deliver the best product he can, and he almost always succeeds.
If you have ever wondered exactly what it is that makes one of the greatest of this or any other generation’s musical talents tick, it is all right here. Bruce’s candor is striking. He has generally been a reserved and very private person in the past, but in this book, he puts it all out there. If you are a fan, you will love this book.
Bruce Springsteen is not just one of the world’s greatest musicians, writers, and performers, he is one of the world’s greatest people. Through a lifetime of events he details here, his skills developed and he has evolved into the national and world treasure affectionately referred to as "The Boss."
Beg , borrow, or steal this book!
Yes, he’s political in praising most people in his life. But, ironically, since Bruce always said when he was young and famous in his twenties: “know the art; not the artist,” he lets us “know” the artist and his demons. To his everlasting credit, he is frank about his own and his father’s psychiatric problems (depression and some organic paranoia in his father.) That is a sine qua non of Bruce’s psyche and his poetry (he is, in my view, a poet who has terrific musical and showmanship skills.) Believe me, there was a great gorge between his stage personality and his “real” personality for a real long time, maybe still. But, he now seems more comfortable in his “American skin.”
Bruce is also frank about his own large ego (essential for what he’s accomplished); his autocratic personality vis a vis the E Street Band; and his extremely focused life, at least pre-wife Patti and the kids. He also adores his supportive mother and her contributions to his success; no shame in that. Yes, he leaves out some private stuff (failed romances, etc.) but he includes a boatload of things most people aren’t comfortable talking about: his first marriage; his depression/anxiety; his long, 25-year journey of psychoanalysis; his conflicts with his band members. So, he’s entitled to leave some stuff out.
The one thing that does bother me a bit is how much he trashes his small town in New Jersey (Freehold), yet he is magnetically drawn to be in its geographic and cultural orbit, as he still lives very nearby. He either never “left” or, despite the wisdom, “went home again.” (Having grown up in the same town at the same time, I think he’s a little too hard on the town, per se, when it was no worse than thousands of other small towns in that era: provincial and divided by “sides of the tracks” and race.)
All in all, a very satisfying read; well expressed; not too verbose, if borderline at times. A poet from New Jersey named Bruce once said something like “you spend your childhood creating experiences” and the rest of your life “processing” them. Most of his life is just that, and it’s wonderful to be let in on his thinking and essential humility and humanity. And, it seems that he is a very satisfied soul—despite his struggles and scars-- even if he isn't really the guy on stage that everyone loves.