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Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition
Bruce Springsteen's status as a pop icon is indisputable, but, as Born in the U.S.A. demonstrates trenchantly and convincingly, Springsteen is a potent cultural icon as well. With an inventiveness and rigor worthy of Garry Wills, Jim Cullen establishes Springsteen as a symbol of what's right in America and as an heir to Whitman, Lincoln, Steinbeck, King,...
Bruce Springsteen's status as a pop icon is indisputable, but, as Born in the U.S.A. demonstrates trenchantly and convincingly, Springsteen is a potent cultural icon as well. With an inventiveness and rigor worthy of Garry Wills, Jim Cullen establishes Springsteen as a symbol of what's right in America and as an heir to Whitman, Lincoln, Steinbeck, King, and other key influences on our national consciousness. Cullen is as much a fan as he is a scholar, and this book hums with a devotee's visceral appreciation, gracefully expressed through accounts of the Boss in unguarded moments and of Cullen's most memorable encounters with Springsteen's music (he has never met his subject). What sets Born in the U.S.A. apart from any other book on Springsteen--and from almost any other book on popular culture--is Cullen's assertion that Springsteen is as influential a figure for our time as Thoreau, Whitman, and Steinbeck were for theirs. As a chronicler of his society and as a catalyst for social change, Springsteen is every bit the equal of his illustrious antecedents. Like them, Springsteen is a "good conservative" who preserves the traditional values of hard work, family, and compassion for the less fortunate--ideas long co-opted or corrupted by disingenuous politicians and corporate barons. Through cogent examinations of Springsteen's work and personal life, Cullen further explores how Springsteen shapes the ideals of good conservatism to best fit our uncertain times. As his life and lyrics repeatedly reveal, there are ways to retain our dignity and ethics in a world where our very foundations--family, religion, job security, gender roles--quake beneath our feet.Born in the U.S.A. is an ambitious, myth-shattering appraisal of one of America's great musicians and thinkers by one of America's most incisive, broadminded cultural critics.
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