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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (807 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Ames Carlin Narrator: Bobby Cannavale Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781442357495
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Bruce Springsteen has been writing songs about being a working class American for almost 40 years, yet he is one of the country's biggest rock stars. There have been numerous books written about his music, but the man behind the music always remained elusive. In Bruce, however, fans get a personal look at the performer.

Music critic Peter Ames Carlin compiled the biography from hours of interviews with Springsteen's E Street Band, his friends, relatives, exes and even the man himself. This included the last interview given by E Street saxophonist Clarence Clemons before his death. Springsteen gave Carlin access that has never before been available, meaning he is able to add context to many of Springsteen's most popular songs in the book.

The book begins with the death of a little girl in 1927. The five-year-old would have been Springsteen's aunt Virginia. From there, it follows his father's family from Europe to America, and then take the same journey with his mother's family. Bruce doesn't shy away from the difficult or ugly topics, including his father's manic depression or Springsteen's well-known temper, his relationship problems or his infamous behavior toward his band mates.

Springsteen has since won 20 Grammy Awards, sold more than 120 million albums and won two Golden Globes and an Academy Award. The book chronicles his life through the 2012 release of his album Wrecking Ball.

Author Peter A. Carlin is known as a music critic, but he has also written books about several artists including Paul McCartney and the Beach Boys. He has served as a senior writer at People and a feature writer at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon.

This sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen features in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends, and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans have never seen him—the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.

For close to four decades, Bruce Springsteen has reflected the heart and soul of America in a career that encompasses twenty Grammy Awards, more than 120 million albums sold, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. Yet despite the honesty of his songwriting, Springsteen has remained adamantly elusive and reserved.

In a groundbreaking biography that draws on unprecedented access to Springsteen and those closest to him, acclaimed music critic Peter Ames Carlin presents the most revealing account yet of New Jersey’s favorite son. With contributions from band members past and present, including the last interview given by legendary saxophonist Clarence Clemons, Bruce encompasses the breadth of Springsteen’s astonishing career and explores the inner workings of an American icon right up through his most recent sold-out tour and #1 album, Wrecking Ball.

A must for fans, Bruce is a meticulously researched biography of one of the most complex and fascinating artists in American music.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There are many things I could and should be doing right now, but I am not…I am reading and rereading this book. Why did you do this to me?”

    Jon Stewart

  • “Bruce Springsteen has been a muscular American icon for so long it’s hard to remember that he was once a scrawny kid from Nowhere, New Jersey, struggling to find his way. Peter Ames Carlin not only brings that kid into sharp focus, he connects the dots between the small-town boy and the superstar he became, in all his memorable incarnations—boardwalk poet, working-class hero, middle-aged philosopher, rock and roll evangelist, political activist. This is the big, expansive biography Bruce’s fans have been waiting for.”

    Tom Perrotta, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Springsteen is biographical big game: majestic, fugitive, offering the unwary chronicler the possibility that he might get trampled. But Carlin has brought him down, with empathy and shrewdness. Here is Bruce, stylishly captured in all his Brucedom; the everyman, the unknowable; the anointed one, the loner; stadium swagger and dull, private pain. Are these contradictions, or just the span of a man’s soul? Read Bruce and find out.”

    The Atlantic

  • “For all those of us who grew up on the Jersey Shore, chasing Bruce and the band every weekend: the chase is over. It’s all here. Everything we didn’t know then—we’re surprised to learn now. It’s close, it’s intimate—the master of introspection allows some full-on inspection of his life.”

    Brian Williams, NBC News

  • “Rock biographer delivers a straight-on, rockin’ and rollin’ life of the Jersey youngster who sold his soul to rock and roll the night he saw Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957. Drawing on exclusive interviews with members of the E Street Band, including Clarence Clemons’s final interview, and unrestricted conversations with Springsteen’s family, friends, manager Jon Landau, and Springsteen himself, Carlin takes us on a fascinating journey through Springsteen’s childhood, youth, and his rise to fame out of his early years playing in bands such as the Castiles, Earth, and Child to his most recent concerts in support of his Wrecking Ball album. Carlin energetically drives through the streets of Asbury Park, the bars and arenas around the world where Springsteen continues to work his magic. Carlin gives Springsteen the definitive treatment, and this is by far the best of the many books about the rock and roller, capturing his many moods, his desire to retain his privacy, but his secret craving for superstardom, and, above all, his consummate musicianship and his deep passion for pleasing audiences with rollicking, energetic shows.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “An epic look at the man and his music.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This is a Bruce bio like no other. Carlin’s dogged research, tough-minded prose, and above all, ability to draw out the previously private thoughts of almost everyone involved in this remarkable story combine to transform much of what we thought we knew about Bruce. Carlin’s recounting of Springsteen’s personal and professional struggles, and those of the members of the mighty E Street Band, make this a quintessential American story and one that will resonate, and inspire, as long as the music itself does.”

    Eric Alterman, author of It Ain’t No Sin to Be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2013 Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 2/14/2014

    " An interesting thing happened when I read this book. Although I've always been a Springsteen fan, this book made me not like him as a person. He comes off as a complete jerk. Kind of a bummer for me but hey, I haven't bought an album of his for years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack W Perry | 2/9/2014

    " A very good bio of Springsteen. From his lonely childhood, through years of discovery. I knew very little about the man behind the music until reading this. It also makes it clear as to why Springsteen is a staunch supporter of the Dems and Obama. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sjfstudio | 1/20/2014

    " Ana interesting biography of the Boss. Many insights into the man and his music. A family background is explored giving clues as to where many of the songs had their inspiration. A must for any fan of Bruce and the music. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maria | 1/14/2014

    " My favorite book in a long time, but I'm not an objective critic on Bruce. I loved this book. It told the story of his life through research, stories with family and friends, people in the business, and most importantly through the chronology of his songs and albums. The author focused on Springsteen's writing and his process which I loved. Peter Ames Carlin did a great job with this biography. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nisha | 1/7/2014

    " Really enjoyed, but how could I not?! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 1/6/2014

    " BRUUUUUUCE! It was quite fun to read and listen along as Bruce created each album. The end sections of the book are quite rushed, though, so I just finished listening to The Rising, one of my favorites. It could have been more in depth in many areas, but it was quite fun and THE BOSS is awesome in any case. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daryl | 1/5/2014

    " A compelling, fast-paced run through Springsteen's career. What's particularly striking is the huge amount of recordings that Bruce created in the last 35 years--his consistently high output is simply amazing. Carlin does a great job of painting an honest and admirable portrait of Bruce. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abbey | 12/30/2013

    " Fantastic book. Felt the author rushed through the past 15 yrs or so quite quickly compared to the rest of the book but still highly recommended read for any Bruce fan . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roseann | 12/24/2013

    " This book was great..reading it as a fan. Bruce is pretty much the man you think he is. Very interesting how he grew to become who he is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 12/16/2013

    " Not as good as I hoped. Sometimes biographies dissapoint me. Didn't actually finish this. Will try it again later. I am a big fan of Bruce and his music so possibly expected too much with this book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Chaney | 12/9/2013

    " Very good bio on the Boss. Learned a lot about him, his music and the band that I didn't know. Would recommend it to any Bruce fan. Young or old. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Valerie | 10/22/2013

    " If you are a Bruce fan, this is a really great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marcy | 10/4/2013

    " It took awhile to get into, but it was a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 7/13/2013

    " Fascinating insight to a prolific songwriter, obsessive musician, but a hometown boy with a unique outlook on life. Really enjoyed reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa Neal | 4/6/2013

    " Not the most well-written book I've ever read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I enjoy Springsteen's music and liked seeing how the songs came to be. Worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erik | 4/4/2013

    " A biography by an unabashed fan of "The Boss". I enjoyed it and it made me want to go back and listen to the music again, especially the old stuff before I was old enough to be a fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lineke | 3/29/2013

    " Interesting look into the life of Bruce Springsteen "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 2/6/2013

    " Very nice biography of Springsteen. My only complaint is that it feels kind of rushed in its coverage of, say, since 1978. No bio does a better job on the early years, and overall, Dave Marsh's book is the only Springsteen bio in the same class. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Merkle | 12/7/2012

    " So far, so good!!! As a huge Bruce fan, I love reading about Bruce before he united with the E Street Band and how he met them at different points in his fledgling career! More later.... "

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About the Author

Peter Ames Carlin is a writer and the author of several books, including Bruce, a biography of Bruce Springsteen; Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson; and Paul McCartney: A Life. He has also been a free-lance journalist, a senior writer at People in New York City, and a television columnist and feature writer at The Oregonian in Portland. He is a regular speaker on music, art and popular culture.

About the Narrator

Bobby Cannavale is a film, stage, and television actor. He has appeared in numerous television shows and films, but he is perhaps best known for his role as a reincarnated matchmaker on ABC's Cupid. He won an Emmy for his guest appearance on the hit show Will & Grace.