Bob Dylan in America
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 ...more
The latest book on the legendary singer brings it all back home... literally.
A quick online search for books about Bob Dylan claims that an astonishing 1532 works are currently available, and that’s most likely the tip of the iceberg. So why this one? What does Sean Wilentz’s offering tell us – about anything? Is Dylan even still relevant?
A man in the carriage of the Glasgow-bound commuter train the other morning certainly thought so and was intrigued by the latest Dylan biography in ...more
What Wilentz does is compare Dylan's artistic development with the artistic and political milieu that he would have brushed against as a boy, how that milieu moved him in a particular direction as a young artist, and how those connections formed a web as he matured and moved through life. For instance, ...more
That said, the essays aren't all of the same caliber. While the essa ...more
wilentz expertly dissects greil marcus's 'weird old america' in a way that rock journalists cannot even approach. dylan fans will enjoy. music fans might cry uncle. the 'dylan is a great songwriter but can't sing' crowd should stay away.
homeschoolers in the 'self learn' movement will delight upon reading about dylan ...more
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.
On the one hand, Sean Wilentz has written a good book about Bob Dylan, which is not easy to do. It's a completely serviceable book; scholars and critics writing about Dylan will be able to use it, which gets it into the orbit of perhaps only five to ten other Dylan books of which I'm aware. A critical biography, Wilentz trains his analysis on five moments in Dylan's working life: the Blonde on Blonde sessions; the 1975 Rolling Thunder tour; the period of Christian apotheosis culminating in recor...more
Those looking for full biography may be disappointed. Those looking for Bob Dylan the man, will find much of him here.
Readers learn how wide Bob Dylan's musical interest has been. Wilentz shows there is hardly an American musical genre that Bob Dylan has not appreciated, learned from and incorporate ...more
Written by a history professor at Princeton University, this book is as much about the American experience as it is about Bob Dylan. While the material is presented in chronological order, it ...more
I'm a fan of Dylan, he's done some brilliant things. But Wilentz points out something--that every body knows, but doesnt pay too much attention to--which is that Dylan (like all music industry folks and pop culture personalities) has sculpted his own image--an image that may or may not have a whole lot in common with the REAL Robert Zimmerman (whatever that means).
I've been on both sides of the fence as to whether sculpting y ...more
This started off pretty good, slowly became more interesting, and then turned into a flat-out page-turner. My favorite parts were the Blonde on Blonde sessions, Rolling Thunder Revue, Delia & the entire end/recent period. Absolutely fascinating stuff!
This book appeared the same month I saw Bob Dylan in concert: September 2010. Here is my review of that concert. Still need to read the book.
Have I Ever Told You About the Time I Saw Bob Dylan? (Concert Review)
Chris Schlect, 21 September 2010
A couple weeks back I went on a history field trip to visit a famous artifact. I saw Bob Dylan in concert. Bankroft Prize-winning historian Sean Wilentz asserts that Dylan holds a central place in 20th c ...more
…the curtains part, and there they see to their horror, attached to the backdrop, the emblem of everything they are coming to hate, the emblem of napalm and Coca-Cola and white racism and colonialism and imagination’s death. It is a huge fifty-star American flag...more
In the official Bootleg Series Vol. 6 release of a 1964 Halloween-night concert form the Philharmonic Hall in New York City, Dylan introduced one of his songs by announcing "It's just Halloween. I have my Bob Dylan mask on! I'm masquerading." He drawls out the end of the last word into a laugh both delighted by the pun and knowing about the ironic truth of it. Here was the upper-Midwestern Jewish boy Robert Zimmerman entertaining the downturn cultural elite be ...more
Wilentz provides detailed accounts of these Dylan influences, including Aaron Copland, Blind Willie McTell, The Sacred Harp (an early American hymnal), and variations of the folk s ...more
He keeps his own interaction with the subject limited to eyewitness memoir of concerts, rather than jumping into the fray with the character- unlike a couple of books I've already passed my judgment on in my collection.
Just finished reading this book and Sean Wilentz has ensured that there is something for everyone in it. Unfortunately for me, much of what is in it is not to my taste. The book flip flops between Dylan biography, mostly as seen from the perspective of key albums in his career and academic treatise on the history of folk. The first chapter is a rather dense analysis of the works of Aaron Copland and how it may have influenced the young Dylan, not a fun start to the book. The second chapter deals ...more