Book Review: Rock & Roll Books

Born to Run

Rock & Roll Books

Written over seven years – longhand, in the author's notebooks – Born to Run transcends mere fulfillment of fans' desires. Rather, Bruce Springsteen boldly sails a remarkable, fantastical odyssey: Blue-collar kid from small town New Jersey becomes a singular musical embodiment of the American spirit. A bleak family tapestry woven with dysfunction and the burden of an Irish-Italian Catholic upbringing in gray, working-class Freehold, N.J., lays the foundation of a detailed and unabashed account of the singer's youth. Throughout, rejections, shortcomings, and struggles with depression are divulged with unfaltering honesty, an emphasis that elevates the giddiness with which he recounts all the highs: witnessing Elvis on television for the first time, the elation of performing "It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City" for A&R legend John Hammond at 22, fatherhood, etc. Springsteen also writes at length about each album, tour, and his brotherhood with the E Street Band (predominantly Clarence Clemons and Steven Van Zandt). A walloping 500-plus pages, the book bursts with the same earnest tenacity of his epic concerts. The prose itself thrums electrified, unfiltered need, punctuated by an East Coast staccato. ("About my voice. First of all, I don't have much of one.") Less a formal autobiography, Born to Run instead rides shotgun in one of Bruce Springsteen's beloved "suicide machines."


Born to Run

by Bruce Springsteen
Simon & Schuster, 528 pp., $32.50
READ MORE
More Bruce Springsteen
Gift Guide 2015: The Boxing Lesson
Bruce Springsteen
The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Dec. 18, 2015

Phases & Stages
Bruce Springsteen
High Hopes (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2014

More Music Reviews
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way
The Parrothead behind the empire

Doug Freeman, July 21, 2017

All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music
All Over the Map, True Heroes of Texas Music

Kevin Curtin, June 16, 2017

More by Libby Webster
Texas Platters
Plax
Clean Feeling (Record Review)

Sept. 1, 2017

Texas Platters
Ichi Ni San Shi
Maybe Mobile (Record Review)

Sept. 1, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Bruce Springsteen, Gift Guide 2016, Clarence Clemons, Steven Van Zandt

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)