Once Upon a Time by Ian Bell
The Lives of Bob Dylan

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A middling book. Greil Marcus is better on Dylan’s place in the context of the “old, weird America,” though Bell ventures some useful observations from afar.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Half a century ago, a youth appeared from the American hinterland and began a cultural revolution. The world is still coming to terms with what Bob Dylan accomplished in his artistic explosion upon popular culture.
In Once Upon A Time, award-winning author Ian Bell draws together the tangled strands of the many lives of Bob Dylan in all their contradictory brilliance. For the first time, the laureate of modern America is set in his entire context: musical, historical, literary, political, and personal.
Full of new insights into the legendary singer, his songs, his life, and his era, the artist who invented himself in order to reinvent America is discovered anew. Once Upon A Time is a lively investigation of a mysterious personality that has splintered and reformed, time after time, in a country forever trying to understand itself. Now that mystery is explained.
 

About Ian Bell

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Born, raised and educated in Edinburgh, Ian Bell is a past holder of the George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism and the award-winning author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Formerly the editor of The Observer, he is a columnist with the Herald and the Sunday Herald.
 
Published October 1, 2013 by Pegasus Books. 592 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Once Upon a Time
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Aug 15 2013

A middling book. Greil Marcus is better on Dylan’s place in the context of the “old, weird America,” though Bell ventures some useful observations from afar.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by WB Gooderham on Jun 14 2013

The strength of Once Upon a Time is that it draws on all the existing texts in order to if not exactly get to the truth of the matters...The result is a work that is as knotty, beguiling, contrary, infuriating and ambitious as its subject.

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85%

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