An epic look at the man and his music.

A painstakingly traced chronicle of the remarkable career of powerhouse proletarian rocker Bruce Springsteen.

If you want to understand the magic and majesty that is The Boss, the best way is though his music. However, Carlin (Paul McCartney: A Life, 2009, etc.) successfully fills in some of the gaps Springsteen has left behind in his lifelong journey—at least the gaps New Jersey’s favorite son now appears willing to address. As one of the most celebrated lyricists in the history of popular music, Springsteen remains a man of few words. In fact, many of the quotes attributed to him have already been published elsewhere. Like a lyric sheet, they often don’t say much absent the spark of music. Carlin’s own expressiveness, however, is another story and will no doubt have readers reaching for their favorite electronic music delivery system in an attempt to immediately corroborate his take on specific Springsteen tracks and performances. The author presents his subject as a supremely gifted musician and truly heroic figure, albeit one with a lot on his troubled mind. That darkness, attributed to bad genes and a childhood spent in the shadow of his parents’ gloom following a tragic death in the family, at times reduces the working-class icon to a moody, self-centered and callous taskmaster. Surprisingly, none of these observations—taken in part or as a whole—is particularly damning. On the contrary, they might even serve to ground the ubiquitous superstar, allowing him to become more human and, ultimately, more understandable.

An epic look at the man and his music.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9182-8

Page Count: 480

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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