May 12, 2013

Review: Bruce

Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read a couple of Bruce Springsteen biographies prior to this. The two tomes authored by Dave Marsh were pretty good, but stopped with the "Born in the USA." This book covers the whole of Springsteen's life and music, up to and including the tragic death of Clarence Clemons. (The author's depiction of Clemons' death is incredibly poignant...three paragraphs brought me to tears.)

Shoehorning sixty-odd years of a man's life into 463 pages is something of a feat, especially someone as indelibly woven into the fabric of rock n'roll Americana as Bruce Springsteen. The post- "Born in the USA" era is actually covered in the the last 130 pages, which could be construed as cramming, but nothing about it feels rushed or left out. The author doesn't pull any punches; Springsteen has his moments of misogynism and dickishness, but at least his isn't the typical drugs/alchohol/downward spiral/hit bottom/get clean/redemption story. (I saw the newly released autobiography of heavy-metal singer Stephen Pearcy yesterday, and realized I don't need to read a word of it; it's been told a thousand times before.)

This is a worthy biography of a worthy subject, and well worth your time.

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