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Dylan: A Biography

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"No other book captures it so well, understands so well.... "—Greil Marcus


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"No other book captures it so well, understands so well.... "—Greil Marcus

30 review for Dylan: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    This got a whole lot of stick from Bob fans and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, but if you approach it in the right way - which is that it's a comic retelling of the story of an imaginary folk singer from the 1960s - then it's just a complete hoot. Spitz gaily jumps into "Bob"'s mind and recounts exactly what he was thinking when he met Suze Rotolo - sorry, "Suze Rotolo" or when he heard Woody Guthrie for the first time and so on. And Bob Spitz is so mean! But hilarious! Bob was drooling, Bob's eyes na This got a whole lot of stick from Bob fans and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, but if you approach it in the right way - which is that it's a comic retelling of the story of an imaginary folk singer from the 1960s - then it's just a complete hoot. Spitz gaily jumps into "Bob"'s mind and recounts exactly what he was thinking when he met Suze Rotolo - sorry, "Suze Rotolo" or when he heard Woody Guthrie for the first time and so on. And Bob Spitz is so mean! But hilarious! Bob was drooling, Bob's eyes narrowed, Bob's smile faded, Bob this and Bob that. Almost like Bob Spitz was actually there - but of course he wasn't. Recommended as a gift to buy for any serious Dylan fan who irritates you to death.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ally McCulloch

    I think this is the Bob Dylan bio that changed my life. It covered his early days, painted him as the ultimate jerk, yet still managed to leave me in awe of him. I remember I read this while I should have been studying. Yay!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I picked this biography almost completely because not only am I a Dylan fan but I read Bob Spitz's biography of The Beatles earlier this year and loved his no-nonsense style. He's a biographer who doesn't care to mythologize his subjects and the truth that comes from that perspective is refreshing to see. With Dylan, Spitz presents a man who had a few personality qualities (primarily ambition and insecurity) that has absolutely directed his career. Out of that, you are presented with a guy who, e I picked this biography almost completely because not only am I a Dylan fan but I read Bob Spitz's biography of The Beatles earlier this year and loved his no-nonsense style. He's a biographer who doesn't care to mythologize his subjects and the truth that comes from that perspective is refreshing to see. With Dylan, Spitz presents a man who had a few personality qualities (primarily ambition and insecurity) that has absolutely directed his career. Out of that, you are presented with a guy who, even though he is most known as a folk singer, doesn't view himself in that light and has been perfectly fine drifting through styles. You almost get the sense that he has moved his career in ways that had less to do with a particular style but what would best serve Bob Dylan's career, such as the brief flirtation in the late 70's of doing a Neil Diamond-like concert tour. He does come off as being a real jerk even to those supposedly close to him as his insecurities appear to have created sharp defensive mechanisms. But enough of my psychoanalysis... As with The Beatles, Spitz does a wonderful job of presenting the artist's formative years and initial success but then progressively sped up as I swear the 1980's fly by in like 50 pages, so it's very top heavy but I'm guessing most fans (at least casual ones) are mostly concerned with the 60's Dylan than the 70's and 80's incarnation. So pacing is an issue, but it could have been worse. This biography came out in 1990, so the story stops with the end of the 80's but I would be interested to have gotten his take on the past almost 20 years but that's perhaps a story for another day.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Mostly a good Bio. There were somethings that I questioned based on other things that I've read. Also, I don't know how much the writer was really a fan. Some of the material seems to be borderline malicious.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kaitron

    As I read this book, I really don't like Bob Dylan much. No doubt he was a creative genius (minus the nonsense LSD ramblings) and he has a knack for pushing his music to and over the edge of the next big thing, but his actions suggest an insecure jerk and I've had my share of those.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ian W. Hill

    Okay bio of Dylan. Has some good info, and makes some clumsy assumptions, with the occasional surprising insight. Judgment of the work sometimes questionable, but not uninformed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dave Moyer

    Pseudo-journalism at its finest. We all know Bob is fallible. Spitz seems to delight in pointing that out. Still, obviously interesting to Dylan fans.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  10. 5 out of 5

    Antilawyer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Craig Werner

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mercury

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Belpedio

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Keith

  16. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Hyson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric Leventhal

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jack Gignac

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  23. 4 out of 5

    Redcup

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Library House

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clarence Goodman

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keri

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tim Ford

  29. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

  30. 5 out of 5

    Beckie

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