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Bob Dylan In America

by Sean Wilentz

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3051167,381 (3.55)1
One of America's finest historians shows us how one of the country's greatest and most enduring artists still surprises and moves us after all these years. Growing up in Greenwich Village, Sean Wilentz discovered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager; almost half a century later, he revisits Dylan's work with the skills of an eminent American historian as well as the passion of a fan. Drawn in part from Wilentz's essays as "historian in residence" of Dylan's official website, this book is a unique blend of fact, interpretation, and affinity--a book that, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion warrants. Wilentz has had unprecedented access to studio tapes, recording notes, rare photographs, and other materials, all of which allow him to tell Dylan's story and that of such masterpieces as Blonde on Blonde with authenticity and richness.--From publisher description.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I’ve always liked Bob Dylan’s work and so I looked forward to this.

I was horribly, horribly disappointed.

The shopping list in my pocket could have been read to more effect that this load of dry academic drivel.

Bob Dylan is one of the most influential musicians of our time and this guy just doesn’t get that in any way shape or form….but don’t just take my word for it, ask someone else who doesn’t like it. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Top-notch writing and explication by a top-notch scholar. ( )
  threegirldad | Jan 5, 2020 |
A very carefully researched trip into Dylan's influences and his cultural importance. I thought some of the sections picking apart chordal structures and harmonies were dry but overall I thought it was a great book. ( )
  LJMax | Aug 21, 2015 |
This is an engaging book from start to finish by a clear-eyed Dylan fan. Wilentz admits up front that Dylan has hit some pretty deep valleys in his career, particularly in the 1980s, but the real joy in this book is the way Wilentz places Dylan and his work in historical context, drawing on the political, social, cinematic, literary and musical history that has influenced Dylan and his songs. I particularly liked that Wilentz goes beyond telling us how Dylan composes his songs to telling us why he does so. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Nobody better to write this history of Bob Dylan of the good old USA than an historian, and a good one at that. Not a hack like Doris Kearns Goodwin who has actually plagiarized at least as much as Bob Dylan has been accused of, which by the historical facts stated in this book was a lot. But all artists steal. The good ones make the stolen work their own. The bad ones merely are imitators, as somebody else has already said, not me. This book was a delight to read. The writer obviously loves music and Bob Dylan. He was lucky to have been raised in a time and place that mattered. There is nothing amateur and celebrity-driven in this book. This is a valuable piece for anybody interested in knowing more about who Bob Dylan really is and where he might have come from. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
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"Only a few hints – a few diffused, faint clues and indirections..." – Walt Whitman
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One of America's finest historians shows us how one of the country's greatest and most enduring artists still surprises and moves us after all these years. Growing up in Greenwich Village, Sean Wilentz discovered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager; almost half a century later, he revisits Dylan's work with the skills of an eminent American historian as well as the passion of a fan. Drawn in part from Wilentz's essays as "historian in residence" of Dylan's official website, this book is a unique blend of fact, interpretation, and affinity--a book that, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion warrants. Wilentz has had unprecedented access to studio tapes, recording notes, rare photographs, and other materials, all of which allow him to tell Dylan's story and that of such masterpieces as Blonde on Blonde with authenticity and richness.--From publisher description.

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