Book Review: The Boss finally tells his own story, in the voice of a born showman

Bruce Springsteen is one of the last avatars of a bygone American type: The rock ‘n’ roll superstar. Despite borrowing most of its poses and mythmaking from the Brits (who had pilfered their own influences from America previously), the rock icon is ingrained in American folklore, be it Elvis, Bob Dylan, or even David Lee Roth. But while Dylan ran (or more accurately, spurned) the mainstream crown, and Roth eagerly clutched it as long as humanly possible, part of Springsteen’s appeal has always been the way he seemed to do both at once, playing the part of both poet-artist and genial everyman, larger-than-life mystery and song-and-dance man. That split identity was key in allowing him to earn fans from all walks of society—someone plainspoken and good old boy enough to become the exemplar of white working-class America, while also demonstrating enough talent and artistry to gain the respect …

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