Growing up in Greenwich Village in the 1960s Sean Wilentz discovered the music of Bob Dylan as a young teenager. Almost half a century later, now a distinguished professor of American history, he revisits Dylan's work with the critical skills of a scholar and the passion of a fan. Drawing partly on his work as the current historian-in-residence on Dylan's official website, Sean Wilentz provides a unique blend of biography, memoir and anlysis in a book which, much like its subject, shifts gears and changes shape as the occasion demands.
Beginning with Dylan's explosion onto the scene in 1961, this book charts his career and the evolution of his astonishing output and places it firmly within a vivid musical and cultural context. It examines the influence of the Popular Front ideology and of Beat aesthetics, as well as the debt and sometimes surprising connections to other composers and performers - as diverse as Aaron Copland and Blind Willie McTell. The result is a broad and brilliantly illuminating appreciation of Dylan as both performer and songwriter up to the present day.
Sean Wilentz has had unprecedented access to studio tapes, recording notes and rare photographs - many of which are reproduced here. This remarkable material allows him to tell Dylan's story - and that of such masterpieces as Blonde on Blonde - with unrivalled authenticity and richness.