cover image RACING IN THE STREETS: The Bruce Springsteen Reader

RACING IN THE STREETS: The Bruce Springsteen Reader

, , foreword by Martin Scorsese. . Penguin, $16 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-14-200354-1

Thirty years after Springsteen's first album, numerous books have been published about his rise from Bob Dylan–style acoustic folkie to the raging rocker of Born in the U.S.A. and the working-class hero of The Ghost of Tom Joad . But hardcore Springsteen fans—this volume's clear target audience—can't seem to read enough about their hero, and this collection's many fascinating observations should deeply satisfy them. Sawyers (Celtic Music: A Complete Guide ) collects a wide range of articles about Springsteen from all stages of his career to show "his enormous facility for growth." Some of the best of these are groundbreaking essays from the 1970s by Peter Knobler of Crawdaddy and the late Lester Bangs of Creem , as well as Time and Newsweek 's simultaneous 1975 cover stories after the release of Springsteen's Born to Run . What these articles offer are specific musical descriptions of Springsteen's ability, as noted by Dave Marsh of Rolling Stone , to encapsulate "20 years of rock & roll tradition." However, the bulk of the essays are solely concerned with Springsteen's progression in his lyrics from early descriptions of characters of the "street and boardwalk subcultures" in his native New Jersey to later looks at those characters' lost hopes and dreams. As Sawyers notes in her engaging introduction, Springsteen undertakes "an ongoing exploration, via popular song, of the very heart of the American psyche." (Feb.)