Still selling out stadiums, arenas and small halls after more than 30 years, Bruce Springsteen continues, night after night and album after album, to deliver rollicking performances and straight-ahead rock and roll, as well as biting songs that both celebrate the glory of being born in the USA and indict our misguided political and social policies.

Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair as you travel with Peter Ames Carlin down Springsteen’s thunder roads in Bruce, his captivating biography of The Boss. Drawing extensively on interviews with Springsteen himself and his family and friends—including the final interview with his beloved friend and saxophonist Clarence Clemons—Carlin chronicles Springsteen’s life from the day he got his first guitar to the teenage Bruce’s conversion to rock and roll the night he sat spellbound watching Elvis on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1957.

As a teenager, Springsteen had already developed into a hard-working rock guitarist, driving his bands to play tighter and tighter sets. His doggedness paid off when one of his early bands, the Castiles, snagged a semi-regular gig at Cafe Wha?, New York’s famous rock venue. Carlin moves rhythmically from these formative years through Springsteen’s glory days, when he moved from the shadows of Asbury Park to the light of international fame, and into Springsteen’s latest tour and his new album, Wrecking Ball.

Carlin also plumbs Springsteen’s darker moods, his craving for a better understanding of his father, whose vacant stares during Springsteen’s youth troubled him more than his father’s lectures or criticisms, his deep passion for music and his desire to give his fans the very best performances he can give them.

Because this admiring, yet unflinchingly honest portrait of The Boss allows Springsteen to speak in his own words and convey his own ideas about music and life, this definitive biography leaves all other Springsteen books in the dust of its roaring engines, taking us into the shadows of the man that rock critic Jon Landau once called “the future of rock and roll.”

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