Published in 1999 (just following Bruce Springsteen's reunion with his E Street bandmates), Eric Alterman's It Ain't No Sin to Be Glad You're Alive offers the usual biographical details of Springsteen's personal life, professional dealings, and musical output. Longtime fans, surely familiar with Springsteen's background, may find scant novelty, but, as a rock bio, it's as good a place to begin as Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce for the uninitiated. Where Alterman's book shines brightest is in his situating of Bruce's music and lyrics within their social context and cultural milieu. When Alterman applies reasoned analysis and critical thought (benefiting from decades elapsed) to the success of Bruce's songwriting and global fandom, his perspective brings great depth and understanding. As much a love letter to Springsteen as it is a proper bio or critique, It Ain't No Sin to Be Glad You're Alive is a strong entry in the canon of literature venerating, who may well be, the finest American songwriter of the past half-century. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Why does Bruce Springsteen mean so much to so many people? Apart from Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, no contemporary popular musician has had the cultural impact that Bruce Springsteen has on America. Since he was appointed in the late 1970s as "the future of rock and roll" and appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, he has redefined the image of the rock star. Political journalist Eric Alterman examines the unique phenomenon that is The Boss and how he has come to reflect and interpret a turbulent quarter-century of American history.
"Part biography, part lyrical deconstruction, and part fan letter, Alterman's book locates Springsteen's strength in his ability to connect the small struggles of the comman man with the broad political and social forces that engulf us, and to do so with a human touch." David E. Thigpen, Time
"It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive celebrates Springsteen's enduring legacy and reaffirms his position as a recording artist and performer who personifies America in the same way that Woody Guthrie, Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, and Bob Dylan have in their work." Robert Santelli, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Much more than gossipy patter. For the Springsteen fan, It Ain't No Sin To Be Glad You're Alive is an insightful, fuel-injected ride on a runaway American dream." Miriam Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constition
This highly praised celebration of Springsteen's artistry and influence is the most perceptive portrait yet of the remarkably gifted musician who, since the media anointed him the future of rock 'n' roll in the mid-1970s, has redefined the image of the rock star and emerged an authentic American hero a man to whom millions of loyal fans look as a voice for their yearnings, hopes, fears, and dreams.
Bruce Springsteen, The Boos, is an authentic American hero. Eric Alterman investigates the man, his music and his audience.
About the Author
Eric Alterman is a political and cultural columnist for the Nation, MSNBC.com, and IntellectualCapital.com and is a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute. He is the author of Sound and Fury and Who Speaks for America?