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Bob Dylan: The Biography

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Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He's also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an Oscar winner for "Things Have Changed." His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? Dylan's 72, and this final act of his career is more inte Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He's also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an Oscar winner for "Things Have Changed." His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? Dylan's 72, and this final act of his career is more interesting than ever--yet the classic biographies like "Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades "(first published 1991, updated 2001) and even his own "Chronicles: Volume One" (published 2005) came too soon to cover this act. Now this groundbreaking biography digs deep into Bob Dylan lore--including subjects Dylan himself left out of "Chronicles: Volume One." "Dylan: The Biography" moves beyond analysis of lyrics or well-worn biographical facts to focus on why this beloved artist's American odyssey has touched so many souls--and how both Dylan and his audience have changed along the way. What happened during the past two decades to transform a heroin addict into one of the most astonishing literary and musical icons in American history? Through extensive interviews and connections with Dylan's friends, family, sidemen, and fans, "Los Angeles Times" journalist Dennis McDougal builds a new understanding of Dylan, as well as the real story behind the myths. Was his romantic life, especially with Sara Dylan, much more complicated than it appears? Was his motorcycle accident a cover for drug rehab? What really happened to Dylan when his career fell apart, and how did he find his way back? To what does "he "attribute his astonishing success? McDougal's interviews and meticulous research offer a revealing new understanding of these older questions--and of the new chapter Dylan is writing in his life and career.


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Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He's also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an Oscar winner for "Things Have Changed." His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? Dylan's 72, and this final act of his career is more inte Bob Dylan is a music hero to generations. He's also an international bestselling artist, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and an Oscar winner for "Things Have Changed." His career is stronger and more influential than ever. How did this happen, given the road to oblivion he seemed to choose more than two decades ago? Dylan's 72, and this final act of his career is more interesting than ever--yet the classic biographies like "Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades "(first published 1991, updated 2001) and even his own "Chronicles: Volume One" (published 2005) came too soon to cover this act. Now this groundbreaking biography digs deep into Bob Dylan lore--including subjects Dylan himself left out of "Chronicles: Volume One." "Dylan: The Biography" moves beyond analysis of lyrics or well-worn biographical facts to focus on why this beloved artist's American odyssey has touched so many souls--and how both Dylan and his audience have changed along the way. What happened during the past two decades to transform a heroin addict into one of the most astonishing literary and musical icons in American history? Through extensive interviews and connections with Dylan's friends, family, sidemen, and fans, "Los Angeles Times" journalist Dennis McDougal builds a new understanding of Dylan, as well as the real story behind the myths. Was his romantic life, especially with Sara Dylan, much more complicated than it appears? Was his motorcycle accident a cover for drug rehab? What really happened to Dylan when his career fell apart, and how did he find his way back? To what does "he "attribute his astonishing success? McDougal's interviews and meticulous research offer a revealing new understanding of these older questions--and of the new chapter Dylan is writing in his life and career.

30 review for Bob Dylan: The Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    What a life. So many moments of history, of art, of meaning. And also--what mystique. Dylan lied about himself from his first appearance in the media, and the lies and secrecy continued all the way to now. One of the revelations of this book is that Dylan's autobiography has fake people and incidents in it, things that almost certainly didn't happen with people who almost certainly didn't exist. The book is well written and moves along. It does not make the easy mistake of spending far too much What a life. So many moments of history, of art, of meaning. And also--what mystique. Dylan lied about himself from his first appearance in the media, and the lies and secrecy continued all the way to now. One of the revelations of this book is that Dylan's autobiography has fake people and incidents in it, things that almost certainly didn't happen with people who almost certainly didn't exist. The book is well written and moves along. It does not make the easy mistake of spending far too much time on 1964-1969, the years of Dylan's greatest artistic and popular success. It also makes a noble attempt at the end to elucidate deeper meaning, and is surprisingly successful. Another highlight is the inclusion of figures forgotten to history, like David Blue, a Dylan friend/crony who struggled for six albums to have his moment of success. The lengthy excerpt from Leonard Cohen's eulogy of Blue is beautiful, has almost nothing to do with Dylan, and yet you're so glad he kept it in there. McDougal really tries to track down many of Dylan's paramours and document his love life. It's a very tangled web. He gives Dylan's kids a respectful distance for the most part, although he rightfully includes the incident where a reporter fakes a romance with Dylan's daughter in order to get (successfully ) an interview with Bob. A couple omissions: Almost nothing on the Traveling Willburies. Very basic and small set of photographs of his life. Very little comparison to other giants of popular music, even in passing. All in all, very much worth reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Gratton

    Good Research, Good Writing, Good Story McDougal does an excellent job of portraying Dylan, not just the myth of Dylan, the many myths of Bob Dylan. Yes, Dylan had some great songs and three or four good albums, but much of his output is unlistenable. Like so many artists, he is severely flawed, and this book does as good a job as any in pointing it out.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Tagliamonte

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Harris

  5. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis Hancock

  6. 4 out of 5

    John J

  7. 4 out of 5

    Csilla Gerecs

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brody Montgomery

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maria T Schowengerdt

  10. 4 out of 5

    Al Fabbro

  11. 5 out of 5

    Keith Jay Kenny

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  13. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Nicholas

  16. 5 out of 5

    Frances

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lyndell Martin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Russell Batten

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jose I. Rodriguez

  20. 4 out of 5

    charles black

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scott P

  22. 5 out of 5

    carol greenslade

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gaetano Albani

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Ganer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adele Dupuis-Miller

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ken David

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jack Lee Dean

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