Book Review: The Dylanologists

dylan

I found the book The Dylanologists to be very interesting.  A lot of the “obsessive” Bob Dylan followers reminded me a lot of some of the Hanson fans. And yes, I’ll admit it, there are a couple in the book that remind me a bit of myself. (Though I’m not sure I’d call myself “obsessive”, I’m sure there are others that would!)  It is always nice to see that this love of music brings everyone together – no matter who the artist.  There was one woman who was talking about camping out for front row for Dylan shows and honestly everything she was saying I have heard other Hanson fans say or have heard myself.  Sam shit, different band.

It was also interesting on how this book told the story of Bob Dylan and his career, but moreso from the fan’s perspective.  How the fans are looking for unreleased recordings or collect really obscure things that have some sort of a connection to Dylan.  The other interesting part is how Dylan doesn’t really want to be known – the book starts out with a fan saying to him “You don’t know who I am, but I know who you are” and Dylan responded “Let’s keep it that way.”  The more Dylan tried to be unfound the more it seemed his fans wanted to find him.

This was certainly an interesting approach to a book but one that I am very glad that I read as I found it to be quite fascinating.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Kinney enters into the world of obsessive Bob Dylan followers (aka the “Dylanologists”) to deliver an immersive work on the artist’s singular impact on American culture.

Bob Dylan was the most influential songwriter of his time. Half a century later, he continues to be a touchstone, a fascination, and an enigma. From the very beginning, he attracted an intensely fanatical cult following, and inThe Dylanologists, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist David Kinney ventures deep into this eccentric subculture to answer the question: What can Dylan’s grip on his most enthusiastic listeners tell us about his towering place in American culture?

In exuberant prose, Kinney introduces us to a vibrant underground: diggers searching for unheard tapes and lost manuscripts, researchers obsessing over the facts of Dylan’s life and career, writers working to decode the unyieldingly mysterious songs, collectors snapping up prized artifacts for posterity, travelers caravanning from concert to concert. It’s an affectionate mania, but as far as Dylan is concerned, a mania nonetheless. Over the years, he has been frightened, annoyed, and perplexed by fans who try to peel back his layers. Intensely private and fiercely combative, Dylan makes one thing plain: He does not wish to be known.

Intelligent, entertaining, and insightful, The Dylanologists is a richly detailed work of narrative journalism in the tradition of Confederates in the Attic and an absorbing story about the tension between zealous fans and their beloved idol.

Category: Book Review
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