Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision

Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision

4.2 6
by Louis P. Masur
     
 

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A rich history of Springsteen's greatest album, celebrating its themes of youth, escape, and possibility, just in time for the Boss's sixtieth birthday.

To millions of listeners, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run is much more than a rock-and-roll album—it's a poetic explosion of freedom and frustration. It confirmed

Overview

A rich history of Springsteen's greatest album, celebrating its themes of youth, escape, and possibility, just in time for the Boss's sixtieth birthday.

To millions of listeners, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run is much more than a rock-and-roll album—it's a poetic explosion of freedom and frustration. It confirmed Springsteen's status as a quintessential American performer: the rocker who, more than any other, gives voice to our hopes, fears, and aspirations. Runaway Dream chronicles the making of the album that launched Springsteen and his E Street Band into the firmament of American art, deftly sketching the ambition, history, and personalities that combined to create the enduring Born to Run.

Springsteen wanted Born to Run to be the greatest rock record ever made. For a musician with just two modest-selling LPs to his credit, it was an extraordinary ambition, and session by session, track by track, Masur shows just how much grit, as well as genius, went into realizing it. Runaway Dream offers an expert tour of the trials and triumphs of Springsteen's work. In addition to the story of the album itself, Masur masterfully places Born to Run within American cultural history, showing why the girls, hot rods, and Jersey nights of the album still resonate, even for listeners born years after its release.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nearly 35 years on, Bruce Springsteen's album Born to Run shows little sign of flagging popularity; National Public Radio has hailed the 1975 album, a poetic explosion of frustration and freedom, among the 100 most important musical works of the 20th century, and it has made it into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. Though he admits that he wants the album played at his funeral, author and American studies professor Masur (The Soiling of Old Glory) remains surprisingly objective while examining the iconic album and its effect on the New Jersey troubadour and American culture at large. Only one chapter is dedicated to the actual making of Born to Run; the rest details Springsteen's career before and after its release, critical reaction, and the album's long-smoldering influence. Although Springsteen was not interviewed, E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent provides insight into recording sessions, and Masur quotes extensively from published sources and Springsteen's own in-concert patter. Masur's knowledge runs deep, and his work often reads like a lengthy dissertation on the Boss's lyrics, key progressions, imagery and themes; Bruce's many hard-core fans will find this an immersive, thoughtful treat.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Masur (1831: Year of Eclipse; Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series) has written what is essentially the biography of a classic American rock album. In 1975, Bruce Springsteen released Born To Run, a collection of songs articulating the desire to escape, the promise and sometimes futility of personal dreams, and, ultimately, the search for connection and love. After briefly examining Springsteen's early life and work, Masur details the painstaking making of the album, analyzes each song's lyrics and musicality, discusses the album's reception and what he refers to as its spatial and temporal "geography," and relates its impact and continued resonance. Masur includes quotes from published interviews and articles from critics, musicians, and Springsteen himself, who eloquently reflects on his art and vision and the album that defined themes he continues to explore. VERDICT Springsteen fans and rock devotees generally will want to read this well-thought-out book. While not a lot of new information is presented, the synthesis of history and analysis of a specific album is different from the many works published about Springsteen.—Jim Collins, Morristown & Morris Twp. Lib., NJ
From the Publisher

“With Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision, Masur again focuses on a single work of art and its cultural context, and the book shares many strengths with his previous one. The prose remains direct and uncluttered, the research extensive.” —Barnes and Noble Review

“A cultural historian with a penchant for choosing specific subjects (the year 1831, baseball's first world series, a famous photograph from the Boston busing crisis of the 1970s) and situating them against the larger background of their times, [Lou Masur] combines scholarly rigor and journalistic accessibility. These talents are vividly on display in Runaway Dream, which uses Born to Run as a synecdoche for understanding Springsteen's career as a whole.” —Jim Cullen, History News Network

“In Runaway Dream, Louis P. Masur, a professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., dissects the making of the album and the legacy it has left behind with the meticulous eye of a scholar and the unabashed affection of a true fan.” —Associated Press

“Masur, as his title suggests, has ‘an affinity for the American themes that permeate [Springsteen's] work,' and his book is essentially an extended cultural essay about those.” —Chicago Tribune

“Well-thought-out … After briefly examining Springsteen's early life and work, Masur details the painstaking making of the album, analyzes each song's lyrics and musicality, discusses the album's reception and what he refers to as its spatial and temporal ‘geography,' and relates its impact and continued resonance.” —Library Journal

“Students of popular music who know little if anything about Springsteen will find much to appreciate here, as will also, of course, Springsteen's many fans.” —Booklist (starred)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596916920
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.97(d)

Meet the Author

Louis P . Masur is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Institutions and Values at Trinity College in Hartford. Married with two children, he divides his time between Hartford and Highland Park, New Jersey. His previous books include The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America, 1831: Year of Eclipse, and Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series.

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Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skip this result. They mixed it in.
old55 More than 1 year ago
Born to Run was a defining moment in the life and career of Bruce Springsteen. Mr. Masur gives you a "fly on the wall" account of the making of this landmark album and the motivations that went into its birth. It is clear the author is a huge fan, but his anecdotes about the influence of Springsteen on his own life add to the book. I'm sure every devoted fan will be able to relate to his stories. As a fan of "the making of" videos for landmark albums such as AJA, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, WHO'S NEXT, BAT OUT OF HELL, etc., this book has earned its place in my must have library selections. If you are looking for a complete Springsteen biography, this isn't that book. However, this is a must read and a companion book to better understand how the NJ area rocker elevated his game to rock icon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gives you more insight into Springsteen's life and his meaning behind the songs than any other I've read. It tends to beat the same story to death, though I guess that's to be expected when someone writes a whole book about the making of one album. An interesting read.