Bruce Springsteen's America: The People Listening, A Poet Singing

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9780812973006: Bruce Springsteen's America: The People Listening, A Poet Singing

In this compelling book, Robert Coles, the celebrated Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize–winning author, turns his attention to popular music legend Bruce Springsteen, and to the powerful impact Springsteen’s work has had both on the lives of his audience and on this country’s literary tradition. Coles places Springsteen in the pantheon of American artists—Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Percy, among others—who understood and were inspired by their “traveling companions in time,” the ordinary people of their eras.

With wisdom and a unique personal perspective, Coles explores Springsteen’s words as contemporary American poetry, and offers firsthand accounts of how people interact with them: A trucker listens to “Blinded by the Light” during long, lonely nights and reminisces about his mother; a schoolteacher is astonished when a usually silent student offers a comparison between “Nebraska” and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; a policeman responds to “American Skin (41 Shots),” reflecting on his own role in his family and community. As these people, and others, candidly discuss the meaning Springsteen’s words have in their lives, Coles listens and, with the special insight and compassion that are the trademarks of his art, sheds new light on “The Boss,” removing the legendary American rock musician from fan-filled stadiums and placing the poet in a greater social, cultural, and philosophical context. Coles sees Springsteen as a representative of a uniquely American documentary tradition—as a sing-ing and traveling poet who does not simply embody the culture of which he is a part but fully engages it, interacting with its people and creating a conversation that has helped to shape a distinct way of looking at, and living, American life today.
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From the Back Cover:

“These are the voices of Bruce Springsteen’s America—individuals young and old, from various parts of a nation, linking themselves in words of reminiscence, reflection, assertion with certain of a singer’s songs. In their sum as listeners, these Americans provide a chorus of resonance to an outpouring of engaging, stirring, inspiring music sent during our recent times toward the many who hearken to the summons of a troubadour.”
—Robert Coles, from Bruce Springsteen’s America

People listen and reflect on their lives and on the words of Bruce Springsteen:

“He’s a writer and a teacher; and he’s a politician . . . urging people who stop and listen toward action. He’s a born storyteller—a novelist who’s out there holding up right and wrong, and drawing the line between the two.”
—a businessman on “Born in the U.S.A.”
“You can close your eyes and hear someone read his words, with no music, and you know it’s him talking. . . . He speaks to you as if you were in the same room, and he’s telling you something about life, and people, and what goes on with us, when we’re working side by side.”
—a woman on “Glory Days” and “Tunnel of Love”
“I’ve listened to Springsteen while I’m flying over America. . . . The time whizzes by—I’m in another world. . . . Actually, I guess I am on top of the world, sitting in that airplane, literally—but hearing Springsteen you go further up. Listening to him talk about the people left behind, the ones who are way down when it comes to dollar bills and jobs, you realize how lucky you are, having the life that’s yours.”
—a college student on “My Hometown”
“That’s his great specialty, taking the measure of people and putting them . . . on the card table, giving them a close look-over. . . . He’s out there . . . taking in what’s going on for us folks here in this America.”
—a policeman on “American Skin (41 Shots)” and “Johnny 99”
“He’s up there on the heights of American storytelling with those lyrics.”
—a schoolteacher on “The E Street Shuffle” and “Nebraska”

About the Author:

Robert Coles, a child psychiatrist, is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Children of Crisis as well as The Spiritual Life of Children, Women of Crisis, and Lives of Moral Leadership, among many other books. A professor of psychiatry and medical humanities at the Harvard Medical School, he is also the James Agee Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard. He lives in Massachusetts.
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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this compelling book, Robert Coles, the celebrated Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, turns his attention to popular music legend Bruce Springsteen, and to the powerful impact Springsteen s work has had both on the lives of his audience and on this country s literary tradition. Coles places Springsteen in the pantheon of American artists--Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Percy, among others--who understood and were inspired by their traveling companions in time, the ordinary people of their eras. With wisdom and a unique personal perspective, Coles explores Springsteen s words as contemporary American poetry, and offers firsthand accounts of how people interact with them: A trucker listens to Blinded by the Light during long, lonely nights and reminisces about his mother; a schoolteacher is astonished when a usually silent student offers a comparison between Nebraska and Conrad s Heart of Darkness; a policeman responds to American Skin (41 Shots), reflecting on his own role in his family and community. As these people, and others, candidly discuss the meaning Springsteen s words have in their lives, Coles listens and, with the special insight and compassion that are the trademarks of his art, sheds new light on The Boss, removing the legendary American rock musician from fan-filled stadiums and placing the poet in a greater social, cultural, and philosophical context. Coles sees Springsteen as a representative of a uniquely American documentary tradition--as a sing-ing and traveling poet who does not simply embody the culture of which he is a part but fully engages it, interacting with its people and creating a conversation that has helped to shape a distinct way of looking at, and living, American life today. From the Hardcover edition. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780812973006

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this compelling book, Robert Coles, the celebrated Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, turns his attention to popular music legend Bruce Springsteen, and to the powerful impact Springsteen s work has had both on the lives of his audience and on this country s literary tradition. Coles places Springsteen in the pantheon of American artists--Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Percy, among others--who understood and were inspired by their traveling companions in time, the ordinary people of their eras. With wisdom and a unique personal perspective, Coles explores Springsteen s words as contemporary American poetry, and offers firsthand accounts of how people interact with them: A trucker listens to Blinded by the Light during long, lonely nights and reminisces about his mother; a schoolteacher is astonished when a usually silent student offers a comparison between Nebraska and Conrad s Heart of Darkness; a policeman responds to American Skin (41 Shots), reflecting on his own role in his family and community. As these people, and others, candidly discuss the meaning Springsteen s words have in their lives, Coles listens and, with the special insight and compassion that are the trademarks of his art, sheds new light on The Boss, removing the legendary American rock musician from fan-filled stadiums and placing the poet in a greater social, cultural, and philosophical context. Coles sees Springsteen as a representative of a uniquely American documentary tradition--as a sing-ing and traveling poet who does not simply embody the culture of which he is a part but fully engages it, interacting with its people and creating a conversation that has helped to shape a distinct way of looking at, and living, American life today. From the Hardcover edition. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780812973006

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