Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

78%

35 Critic Reviews

...like his multiple trips across the country, the one through his life story is one you’ll want to take again, just for the high of being on the road with him.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

“Writing about yourself is a funny business…But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise, to show the reader his mind. In these pages, I’ve tried to do this.” —Bruce Springsteen, from the pages of Born to Run

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.

He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.

Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.

Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A.,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.
 

About Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen’s recording career spans more than forty years, beginning with 1973’s Columbia Records release Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ. He has released eighteen studio albums, garnered twenty Grammy Awards, won an Oscar, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was a 2009 recipient of Kennedy Center Honors, and was named 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year by the Recording Academy. Springsteen’s newest album, High Hopes (Columbia), was released on January 14, 2014. Frank Caruso is a cartoonist and Vice President of Creative Services for King Features, where he has upheld the mantle of Popeye, Betty Boop, and other classic comic properties. Caruso has contributed as a writer/cartoonist to various humor magazines and created the graphic novel Heart Transplant with Andrew Vachss covering the topic of bullying. He won two Emmys for his work on the children’s safety show SeeMore’s Playhouse. Caruso is a member of New York’s Society of Illustrators.
 
Published September 27, 2016 by Simon & Schuster. 528 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 16 2016
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Critic reviews for Born to Run
All: 35 | Positive: 31 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
on Sep 26 2016

Springsteen is gentle with those who treated him poorly—and one imagines those “rah-rahs” of the Jersey Shore writhing in shame each day at the memory—but generous with love for friends and listeners alike. A superb memoir by any standard, but one of the best to have been written by a rock star.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Oct 23 2016

Most insightful, he reveals his ongoing battles with depression—"shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn't experienced"—and his eventual ability to live with this condition. Springsteen writes with the same powerful lyrical quality of his music.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Sep 20 2016

Much of the writing in “Born to Run” is this fresh — the sound of a writer who could have phoned his book in but did not. There are dollops of pretension and word-goo in “Born to Run.”

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Will Hermes on Sep 27 2016

That one of the world's biggest rock stars writes about it so nakedly makes this memoir important. And that's one reason why this book isn't just for Springsteen's super fans.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara J. King on Sep 22 2016

That Springsteen can write, we knew; he has spent the past 40 years telling intricate tales of human joy and suffering through his music. Family, home, faith and redemption, work and identity are familiar Springsteen themes, but Born to Run drives into new territor...

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Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin P. McVicker on Nov 08 2016

“Born to Run” will please the most hardcore Bruce Springsteen fan. It is also critical to understanding one of rock’s most introspective figures. Experiencing Mr. Springsteen’s life in “Born to Run” is a road trip and a concert in one.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Randy Lewis on Sep 24 2016

Bruce Springsteen proves that he has taken on life fully engaged both in living and examining it, and in doing so, he’s delivered a story as profoundly inspiring as his best music.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Alex McCown-Levy on Oct 10 2016

There are surely stories left to tell, but Springsteen, in his endless quest to craft the perfect setlist, has selected those that best fit his narrative.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Clark Collis on Sep 26 2016

While tales of his subsequent professional life can be less vibrant than those depicting his early struggles, Springsteen’s prose comes alive whenever he writes about his relationships with loved ones...

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by David Pollock on Sep 30 2016

The singer has had a life like no other, but his is a story that – like his music – speaks to us all.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by June Sawyers on Sep 26 2016

Through the magic of his songs, and now the wizardry of his prose, Springsteen has healed many a heart by reimagining moments from his own life. “I’m a repairman,” he writes. “That’s part of my job.” Touching and full of light and shadows, Born to Run will bring tears and laughter to even the most cursory of Springsteen fans.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Jim Kelly on Oct 16 2016

Bruce’s autobiography, like the best of his songs, is borne of his commitment to connect with his audience. As a fan, I would welcome more people to the show.

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Open Letters Monthly

Good
Reviewed by Steve Danziger on Jan 01 2017

...it’s recounting the latter that brings out the uniqueness of his singular life and poetic sensibilities, and gives the Born to Run reader an often moving, resonant glimpse into the burdens of that rarest sort of American artist, the genuinely decent man whose constructed image is both armor and hair shirt.

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20Something Reads

Good
Reviewed by Rob Bentlyewski on Sep 30 2016

BORN TO RUN is honest and extraordinarily humble for a rock star’s memoir, and it reaffirms the authenticity that makes Springsteen beloved by millions around the world.

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Matt Damsker on Sep 26 2016

Reading his intimate look back on a remarkable yet troubled life, it’s safe to say that Bruce’s aesthetic wouldn’t be complete without this long-form Song of Springsteen. It’s the lyric he was born to write.

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Denver Post

Good
Reviewed by Joe Heim on Oct 02 2016

“I haven’t told you ‘all’ about myself,” Springsteen writes near the end of the book. “Discretion and the feelings of others don’t allow it. But in a project like this, the writer has made one promise: to show the reader his mind. In these pages I’ve tried to do that.” It turns out Springsteen fans did need an autobiography after all.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Sep 27 2016

Born to Run, Springsteen's new autobiography, reads like a greatest-hits collection of them. The book is an affirmation that, along with his musical brilliance and matchless performance skills, the man is a terrific storyteller and writer.

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Slate

Below average
Reviewed by Carl Wilson on Sep 27 2016

For all that Bruuuuce is a holdover from an age gone by, I suspect Springsteen himself might be a resource to which seekers yet to come will keep returning. To the extent this book deepens that well, it’s worth every overwrought and self-serious syllable.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Sep 27 2016

Springsteen writes that he’s never thought much of his singing voice. As good a guitar player as he is, others were better. It was his songs, he realized early, that would have to put him over the top. If this book has one curious blind spot, it’s that we never quite understand how those words came into being.

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NJ.com

Good
Reviewed by Bobby Olivier on Oct 06 2016

Bruce's more than 500-page life story is written with terrific candor and emotive recollection, and details his every step...

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Chicago Tribune

Good
Reviewed by KILEY ARMSTRONG on Sep 26 2016

Springsteen, who scrawled his story in longhand over seven years, begins with an exquisitely detailed child's-eye view of his 1950s working-class neighborhood. He weaves an American Land tapestry populated with his colorful Irish-Italian family.

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Irish Times

Above average
Reviewed by Roddy Doyle on Sep 27 2016

There’s a great book inside this book, and it isn’t hiding. It’s there to be read and it’s wonderful. When he writes about his music, playing it, recording it, composing it, the book is terrific.

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DNA

Good
Reviewed by AMRITA MADHUKALYA on Nov 02 2016

...he writes: “I fought my whole life, studied, played, worked, because I wanted to hear and know the whole story … understand it to free myself of its most damaging influences…to celebrate and honor its beauty.” That’s exactly what he’s done with Born To Run.

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North Jersey

Good
Reviewed by CHRIS JORDAN on Sep 26 2016

Springsteen expertly paints his world in “Born to Run,” which is our world here at the Jersey Shore. It’s often not pretty, and you have to keep your elbows up, but if you’re talented, and you try hard and you have something to say, you can make it. And then write a book about it.

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Herald Scotland

Good
Reviewed by Brian Morton on Oct 07 2016

In unselfconscious candour, warmth and total absence of the eighth deadly sin (false modesty), it puts to eternal shame most of the current run of celebrity memoirs...

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Spectrum Culture

Good
Reviewed by PETER TABAKIS on Nov 14 2016

“I’ve learned you’ve got to pull up the things that mean something to you in order for them to mean anything to your audience. That’s where the proof is. That’s how they know you’re not kidding.” By these terms, the author has delivered a smashing success. He kids you not.

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Star-Telegram

Good
Reviewed by DAVID MARTINDALE on Oct 05 2016

He writes so vividly about his hometown of Freehold, N.J., and about people in his life, from family to members of his famous E Street Band, that they practically burst off the page and take three-dimensional form.

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Literary Kicks

Above average
Reviewed by Marc Eliot Stein on Mar 16 2017

Bruce's book ends powerfully with two stunning psychological developments: Bruce's confrontation with severe depression, and Bruce's father's descent into an even more isolating mental illness.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Jim Fusilli on Sep 23 2016

“Born to Run” has a compelling narrative and an organized structure worthy of a Catholic schoolboy of the 1950s. Here and there, though, the book flags...But Mr. Springsteen writes fluidly about subjects light, dark and darker.

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CBC News

Good
Reviewed by KILEY ARMSTRONG on Sep 27 2016

Readers may need to buckle up for parts of this 508-page spin. He contemplates some deeply personal topics as a way of providing context for his art.

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National Review

Good
Reviewed by ROBERT DEAN LURIE on Dec 31 2016

At the close of the book, as at the end of one of those four-hour concerts, most of the audience will likely have found its rewards worth the time invested.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Victor Ferreira on Oct 04 2016

...like his multiple trips across the country, the one through his life story is one you’ll want to take again, just for the high of being on the road with him.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney on Sep 30 2016

The story ends happily with marriage to his backing singer Patti Scialfa and fatherhood. But a sense of unresolved emotional complexities persists...Rock’s premier action hero has written a brave and engrossing memoir.

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http://ew.com

Good
Reviewed by Clark Collis on Sep 26 2016

The result is both an entertaining account of Springsteen’s marathon race to the top and a reminder that the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself.

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https://www.lrb.co.uk

Above average
Reviewed by John Lahr on Feb 02 2017

Of course, on one level, Born to Run is a ‘me-moir’; but there’s much more to it than a rolling of credits. If I could hail him now up there on the stage, ex-Rah-Rah to ex-Greaser, two old guys full of gratitude, I’d say: ‘Rock on!’

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Reader Rating for Born to Run
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mike 25 Oct 2016

it's a good book

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zhang heng 1 Nov 2016

Added the book to want to read list

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