NONFICTION

Bob Dylan: A Biography

Greenwood. (Biographies). 2014. 158p. photos. discog. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313381027. $37; ebk. ISBN 9780313381034. MUSIC
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Prolific popular culture writer Batchelor (James Pedas Professor of Communication, executive director, James Pedas Communication Ctr., Thiel Coll., Greenville, PA), profiles the life and analyzes the work of mercurial folk and rock music legend Bob Dylan. Batchelor organizes his biography thematically rather than chronologically and paints a broad picture of changes in the artist's musical and songwriting styles and public persona. Large portions of Dylan's career get skipped as Batchelor focuses solely on the most significant accomplishments, including early hit songs such as the wildly popular "Blowin' in the Wind" and the groundbreaking "Like a Rolling Stone," 1975's brilliant comeback album Blood on the Tracks, and Dylan's recent critical and commercial resurgence at 70. The author examines the musician's pivotal breakthroughs and artistic reinventions throughout his long and massively influential career, placing his biggest successes into historical and cultural context. The volume includes a biographical time line and an extensive annotated list of Dylan-related books, films, websites, and other sources.
VERDICT This accessible and engaging book, which is similar in scope, size, and style but slightly less scholarly than the Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan (2009), is a solid primer for students and critical readers and could inspire further, more inclusive study.

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