Dylan Book Getting Advance Praise

Prior to its publication on Tuesday, Sean Wilentz’s book Bob Dylan in America has already received an enviable amount of advance attention. New York magazine featured it as the lead title in their fall books preview and it was reviewed in the major Sunday review sections.

Wilentz, a Princeton historian, has published several books on U.S. history and politics, also received a Grammy nomination for his liner notes for the Bob Dylan Live 1964 CD set and is the “historian in residence” on the Dylan web site. Wilentz explains his personal connection to Dylan in this clip from the BOT audio:

The book rose to #250 on Sunday from #461 the day before on Amazon sales rankings; library holds are light, as are orders.

Kirkus was the only library review source to cover it, with this severe warning,

The author is capable of sometimes striking and unexpected insights linking Dylan to American precursors ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Bing Crosby, but his frequently misguided ideas and oft-leaden style weigh down the proceedings.

One for the practicing Dylanologist—general readers should approach with caution.

The Sunday review sections were much more enthusiastic:

L.A. Times — “appropriate for a historian, the book is a vision of how the past becomes part of our living present.”

NYTBR; Bringing It All Back Home — “Among those who write regularly about Dylan, Wilentz possesses the rare virtues of modesty, nuance and lucidity, and for that he should be celebrated and treasured.”

Washington Post — “a book at once deeply felt and historically layered that shows how Dylan’s artistic practice is embedded in and responsive to powerful but subtle currents of American culture.”

Bob Dylan In America
Sean Wilentz
Retail Price: $28.95
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2010-09-07)
ISBN / EAN: 0385529880 / 9780385529884

Audio; Books on Tape; UNABR; 6 CD’s; 9780307714978; $40

One Response to “Dylan Book Getting Advance Praise”

  1. Dave Lull Says:

    Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times (London) concludes:

    “From the shelves full of Dylan books this and one other — Christopher Ricks’s Dylan’s Visions of Sin — are the ones to read. This is also one to look at; the pictures are cunningly well chosen.”