Bob Dylan in America
From carrier of the folk torch to electric rebel, lyrical genius to literary thief, white-faced minstrel to born-again Christian-Jewish singer of Christmas carols, Bob Dylan is an enigmatic giant of American popular music. In Bob Dylan in America (Doubleday, 2010), historian Sean Wilentz presents Dylan as an artist deeply rooted in the music of America’s past (Copland, Sinatra, Crosby, McTell) while constantly reimagining and remaking its songs to tell fresh stories about its history. Wilentz chooses moments in Dylan’s career that highlight the poignant ways that he borrows from and creates anew the American story: a 1964 concert at New York’s Philharmonic Hall, the making of “Blonde on Blonde”, 1975’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, 2001’s “Love and Theft”, and Dylan’s 2004 memoire Chronicles are a few of the stops on Wilentz’s tour.
Wilentz, Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton University, has written critically acclaimed books on Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan, and the rise of democracy in nineteenth century America. He is also the historian-in-residence at www.bobdylan.com and was nominated for a Grammy for his liner notes to “Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964–Concert at Philharmonic Hall.” In Bob Dylan in America he applies his considerable analytic skills to understanding Dylan as an artist, and Dylan’s art as deeply embedded in the American experience.