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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Sean Penn reading Bob Dylan's memoirs. It doesn't get any better than this. Dylan mixes his life with his music, his thoughts with his lyrics, and Sean Penn puts us right inside his head. Dylan and Penn are a perfect combination, spanning two generations of celebrity, making us feel the weight and breadth of life for Dylan and the people who have hung on his every word and note. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One explores the critical junctions in his life and career. Through Dylan's eyes and open mind, we see Greenwich Village, circa 1961, when he first arrives in Manhattan. Dylan's New York is a magical city of possibilities: smoky, nightlong parties; literary awakenings; transient loves and unbreakable friendships. Elegiac observations are punctuated by jabs of memories, penetrating and tough. With side trips to New Orleans, Woodstock, Minnesota and points west, Chronicles: Volume One is an intimate and intensely personal recollection of extraordinary times.

Revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful, and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles: Volume One into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.

©2004 Bob Dylan; (P)2004 Simon & Schuster Inc. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Biography/Memoir, 2005
  • 2005 Quill Award Nominee
  • Grammy Award Nominee, Best Spoken Word Album, 2005

"Volume 1 of Dylan's memoirs was pretty cool to begin with. But to have it read by Sean Penn on audio takes it to a new level: the most talented songwriter of all time as performed by the most talented actor of his generation. Mr. Penn clearly has a blast inhabiting the role and navigating Dylan's jagged, impressionistic prose." (The New York Times)

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  • Overall
  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 01-09-08

OK, but poor prose

I thought the book provided some good insights into Dylan and the creative process, but I expected better prose from a poet, even in a draft. Perhaps he wrote the book for some of the same reasons he claims to have made some of his mediocre albums - to make a living or get others off his back.

I liked Penn's monotone. Perhaps Dylan's choice of detail would make more sense in the unabridged version in some cases.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lawrence
  • Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
  • 10-17-05

Information good Narration Horrible

Well if your looking for just the information than this may be the book for you. However, If your like me I wanted the information presented in a palatabel manner. Sean Pen's reading of Chronicles is as bland and monotone as I have ever heard. At some points I had to just turn it off to keep from falling asleep at the wheel. I am not sure if his monotone delivery was intentional or not but it does not go over well at all. If you listen to audio books while commuting as I suspect most of us do then steer clear of this one in terms of keeping you engaged and awake

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Marius
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • 02-03-05


Chill guys. Aint read it yet, but I love it already. Its not a book, its not a story, its a 5 star audio leopardskin pillbox hat. If you follow that, you dig. If you dont, have a try. Pity its abridged, but I suppose the vandals took the handles.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Justin
  • Harrisburg, IL, USA
  • 10-09-08

Abridgement ruins it

Maybe an unabridged version would have been better, but this version skips around a bit. Takes too much thinking to figure out where in his life the current narration is happening.
I also thought Dylan should have given song titles when he was describing how some of his songs came about.
All in all, it was an enjoyable short listening experience.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful