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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - Having grown up in New Jersey, it's not too much of a stretch to say that Bruce Springsteen was something of a spiritual force. His voice is synonymous with a powerful sense of place, and it bears a rugged, scrappy idealism that can make you feel patriotic and subversive at the same time. That's what makes this autobiography, written and performed by The Boss himself, nothing less than magical. It's not simply a story of his path to success or a philosophy of greatness but a marathon concert tell-all wherein he confronts demons of mental illness, poverty, and familial strife. It is nostalgic for a simpler time but urgent in its display of discipline and individuality. Ultimately, Bruce delivers with this audiobook what he has done for nearly five decades with his music: a celebration of the commonplace and the struggles of American life with candor, imagination, and purpose. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

"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 audio 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 this audio 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.

Author bio: Bruce Springsteen has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He lives in New Jersey with his family.

©2016 Bruce Springsteen (P)2016 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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The Boss demonstrates his strong work ethic and dedication to excellence as he tells his story.

I appreciated hearing Bruce tell his story on Audible. He shared deep personal details about his life and the creative process he used to entertain his fans throughout his career. I am a bigger fan now having heard him tell his story. I will listen to his music with fresh insights about the story being told and about Bruce and his band. Reading this book made me want to be a better father. I appreciated Bruce telling us about the positive impact mental healthcare and medicines had in the journey of his family. As a medicinal chemist that pours his heart into his craft to design best in class molecule with a purpose this made me smile. Bruce is the kind of friend I would enjoy sitting around with talking and having a beer. I hope he comes back to Indiana soon. We have a beautiful venue in Carmel called the Palladium and I know there are many that would enjoy an intimate evening with this Mega Rock Star!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Me Springsteen's book moved me beyond words...

I hung on every single word of this well told story, and finished up with tears streaming down my cheeks.
I foolishly never delved into Bruce's songs, (never mind took the time to decipher the complex lyrics), even as he was of my time. Sure I boogied to Born to Run & Tunnel of Love, but I feel like I missed the whole party. Until now, that is.
I'm so thankful that a man like this one exists in the world. Someone willing to go deep, do the hard work required in the development of an authentic self, and in this case, share his experience, and the resulting treasure, with the world. A determined soul, driven to make sense of his imperfect past, then face with courage the painful work of sorting it out for the betterment of his tribe. I want to send this book to every young male I know, in the hopes that it might inform their concept of what it is to be masculine - to be a man.
And FYI Mr Springsteen, your 'long and noisy prayer', has, indeed, rocked my very soul.
Forever grateful for your beautifully told story. You are a national treasure!

39 of 44 people found this review helpful

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Such a relief that this was so good!

I have to begin by saying I'm a long time Springsteen fan - - I mean since Born to Run first came out - - and I was worried that the person I've listened to for so long would turn out to be a prima dona rock star. What a relief to find that this Jersey boy is still the blue collar poet, over-thinking, heart on his sleeve, gravel voiced, smart man that he is in the very best of his music. I was much more interested in what inspired his music and I wasn't disappointed. This is a great story of a regular guy who worked harder than most to achieve stardom. Good for the Jersey boy.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent writing and reading

Even if you are not a huge Springsteen fan, this book is so rich and filled with musical history as well as his own development as a professional that it should be read. The writing is as powerful as his music and the challenges he overcame to reach his level of professionalism is impressive. Read this book. Learn about music history and Springsteen's odyssey as a musician.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Reflective Celebration..

One of the most satisfying audiobooks I've listened to. You will feel like you're having this intimate, long, endearing, happy, sad and inspired campfire story with Bruce; he pulls no punches along the journey and delivers with heart pounding passion..

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely amazing

What a guy, what a story he has to tell – and how he tells it! With humble admiration for earlier and contemporary legends, Bruce gives you his life story with surprising self-disclosure. Being a long time fan of his music I was certain to listen to his book. Especially since it narrated by himself. Having heard it I can absolutely recommend it to anyone irrespective of musical preferences. This is a story of total devotion, hard work and sacrifices in order to fulfill a dream taking shape in a young boy. I lift my hat and salute him, previous and current members of the E Street Band, there music, The Boss himself and this amazing audio book. No back to the beginning for one more go: One-two-three-four!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Copper Beech Trees

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book to anyone. My own family has suffered through generations of serious mental illness and the self medicating addictions that often result. The course of Bruce's life exposed the contrasts of both his God given talent and his genetically inherited affliction. Fortunately for him, he was able to pour his experiences into his work and create something that was timely for many reasons. He was wise to develop relationships that were constructive to his limitations. His choices for bandmates and Patti helped to create the trust and brought him the self confidence to push him through his rough spots. Revealing such a challenging mental illness is a difficult thing. Choosing to seek professional help, and being vulnerable enough to share that with his fans, I hope will teach others to do the same. Love on top of all of this can keep the beech tree soul alive.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Born to Run?

His descriptions of growing up in an Irish/Catholic family surrounded by the church and its influences. The fact that he had a good mother in his life was especially fortunate for him. Too many have 2 parents that are unavailable and they slip away unguided and unable to survive on their own.

Have you listened to any of Bruce Springsteen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet. I certainly plan on doing so. I am also very glad that he did this audiobook himself. It takes on a different life when done by the author that a narrator could never grasp. I appreciate that effort very much.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Of course, when his father came to see him before the birth of his first child. That was an incredible gift he gave to Bruce. So incredible that he could find it within himself to give that to Bruce. So many are not capable to give that to themselves much less to those they love.<br/>The second moment that I laughed until I snorted was the fishing trip he went on with his father. His description of his fathers outfit was so hilarious I could picture my own dad in the same thing. Thank you for that.

Any additional comments?

I know it took Bruce 7 years to write this book. Every single day was worth it. It is not easy to expose yourself down to bedrock as he did. Brian Wilson said that music saved him and it is clear that music and the love of people close to him is saving Bruce. Every day is a gift. I hope he enjoys each one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Soulful, touching, intimate life story.

I am so moved by this touching, intimate revealing biography of Bruce Springsteen. Bruce's lyrical telling of his boyhood and present day life is equal parts poetry , hard work , family trama, and mental disease. I have learned more about myself, by learning more about the Boss.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Soul baring

A soul baring autobiography; probing ambition, music, the demons in your head and love conquering all. A beautiful poetic read that is hard to put down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Bruuuuuce!

So beautifully written! I've been serenaded through the stories he has chosen to share. I've always felt that Springsteen has worn his heart on his sleeve, and I've known him through his music. Now I've been updated. Heart still on his sleeve, he continues to touch my soul.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 02-07-17

Wonderful book by superb performer

Narrated by Bruce Springsteen and covering his childhood to 2015, this story is totally engaging.

The book is full of interesting insights and anecdotes - about the music industry and the difficulties of breaking in and getting a fair deal; the challenges of selecting the right people and keeping a band together; the absolute commitment, self-confidence and persistence required to achieve anything substantial. He talks about early pop-rock inspirations - amongst them Elvis, The Beatles, and Dylan.

Springsteen relates lots of personal details concerning his parents and family their working class origins, and the tensions with his father. He describes his initial fear of serious relationships and more so of settling down, until he found the right partner with whom to start a family. He details his struggle to control his tendency to depression, and the value of therapy and medication where indicated. He talks about melding a band into a single unit while also requiring leadership (his) - and of the clashes with some of the performers, managers, and industry representatives with whom he worked.

He shares insights into why the E Street Band has been such a success and details the world-class talents in the Band and the key players with whom he still performs - Steven van Zandt (guitar), Nils Lofgren (guitar), Max Weinberg (Drums), Clarence Clemons (deceased) and more latterly Jake Clemons (sax) and more. It's fascinating to learn about the origin of key albums songs, and even on the choice of album cover images.His songs of working class people and the struggles they face, the post-9/11 period and his efforts to recognise and promote diversity, all receive attention.

Downsides aren't many - it is a little on the long side (19 hrs on audio) and there is some repetition (perhaps by design)... but overall my recommendation is overwhelmingly positive.

I hope he adds a post-script to bring the book up to date in the Trump and post-truth era and the popular protests and opposition that have emerged. The role of singer songwriters, a key theme in this story, is once again driven home.

This book is full of humanity, humour and wisdom and provided the ideal backdrop to re-listening to his music... Having since seen The Boss (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) perform live in Sydney - all I can say is ... Wow!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackie
  • 12-14-16

Unexpectedly engaging...honest and enlightening

Where does Born to Run rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

among the best of musician memoirs

Any additional comments?

...a long ago aspiring songwriter, i wondered why i never 'connected'...but in revealing the many sides of his personality....from the dysfunction and insecurities to his honest belief that he knew he was special and the stoic confidence that came with it, he opened my eyes to the true dynamics of the really few great success stories of the amazing music makers of the 1950's, 60's. 70's and 80's and understanding that unmatched era in time was built by people who found they were gifted with the ability to take the feelings they gained from an early age and fight as hard as necessary to output what they held so strongly inside. <br/><br/>Bruce was able to explain that undeniable connection to focused music self-confidence and never stop pushing forward until the hard work paid off, slowly but surely. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story being told by Bruce and found myself a little surprised by the eagerness i felt to continue listening...since my interests were always musicians who came before him. It will inspire me to also go back and listen to more of his music.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • JudiH
  • 12-17-16

Fantastic heartfelt and eloquently told

Not a natural fan of Bruce Springsteen I was recommended this by Amazon so I listened to the free extract - from that moment I was hooked. I purchased the audio book and continued to listen to this fascinating story of Springsteen's life, family, loves, mishaps and incredible journey through the rock n roll years up to the present day. I loved it.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • jacqueline bain
  • 12-16-16

Inspirational, flawed human with so much humanity and humility and an ego!

I'm a long time fan and have read a lot about my hero,but this book showed what the others couldn't....the man.
It helped me realise similarities in my childhood.
No, I don't think I'm like him. I am me, but maybe a Celtic gene is shared the unspoken causes so much damage.
Thank you Bruce for doing this. You didn't have to.
You could have closed yourself off, but you shared.
You celebrated and you cried and helped me do the same.
Thank you for the music, the lyrics and the band.
Thank you for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • My
  • 12-13-16

Not a fan? You soon will be! A poetic masterpiece from the boss!

I was was somewhat sceptical about reading this book (as a fan of 'the boss') as I've always been transfixed in his songwriting,stage performances and many more other characteristics that make Bruce Springsteen 'the boss'. I didn't want to come across something in the book that would draw me away from the image I have built of him throughout my life. That being said I wasn't disappointed, I now feel like a truly know the boss and sympathised in his struggles.

A wonderful read/listen that will leave you happy,sad and most of all entertained!

If not a fan already.......you soon will be!!

Pc

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-17

Great stuff

Brilliantly honest. Really enjoyed it. Up beside Keith Richards ‘Life’ in the best music autobiographies.

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  • j mcgivern
  • 11-16-17

BOSS

Fabulous story about the Legend who is Bruce Springsteen
The ups and the downs of A superstar
just BOSS

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  • Sheila Blackmore
  • 11-07-17

AUTHENTIC. This rocked my soul!

I read the book and then listened to Audiobook such was the impact of his words. Heartfelt, heart-warming, honest, raw and like his music, it touches somewhere deep inside you. His music has mapped my life and now listening to his book felt like I'd been with a very dear old friend. Thank you Bruce:))

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-03-17

The real truth from the boss

A great listen and a bonus being read by the man himself talking about the life that lead him to where we are today. Very interesting and fun.

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  • MR B J BRACKNER
  • 11-01-17

Fantastic true and honest account

Fantastic, truthful, honest account. Would highly recommend and great it is read by the author

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  • Lori
  • 03-20-17

Not just for fans

I listened to this as a lover of rock music, not really a fan purely because the music is before my time. However I do appreciate good music and a good artist. Anyway, this book is well written, and very well narrated. He tells you his whole life story from start to present, and an interesting story it is. I highly recommend this book to anyone - Fan or not, it is a great story.

PS - because of this book I have bought 3 albums :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • donna
  • 02-26-17

loved it

I loved this. and having Bruce springsteen himself read you his words made it so much more than just a great read. he is very open and honest. not holding back his most vulnerable moments. 17 hours long. wasn't long enough. thank you bruce.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 12-28-16

Swept Away

I cannot imagine anyone else narrating this story of Bruce.
His distinctive gravel tone lending an authenticity to a classic rags to riches and everything in between story that feels more like, at times, you are sitting with him crossing vast open landscapes in a battered Cadillac on a back country road..
I've a ticket to see him play in Australia in a few weeks, at hanging rock.
Having listened to this wonderful biography these past days the experience will resonate even more deeply. Thanks Bruce. You've taken me somewhere I've never been and I'm a little bit changed for it.
Honesty, authenticity and sharing our humanity, the good, the bad and the ugly, does that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • 12-05-17

Loved it.

Never understood his music until now. Now that I've heard his story I enjoy listening so much more. had to speed the recording up to 1.5x as his beautiful beautiful voice is a little bit slow.

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  • Martin Castilla
  • 10-11-17

Enthralling even for non-groupies

I’m aware I’m in the minority when I state I’m not a Springsteen fan. I don’t know his music apart from the big hits, and yet of course I know who the man is: a Star and legend. Having said that, I was recommended to read Born To Run. Given #Audible is my go-to app, I heard it instead. And I loved the book. Found it totally enthralling, fascinating, captivating, and whatever the sonic equivalent of “unputdownable”. Was sad to get to be end of it. Springsteen writes eloquently, he’s a natural storyteller, even though he describes he learned to write. I loved this book and particularly his reading it. Much enjoyed.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-17

A story of a man caught in a life struggle and his strength to climb out of the sorrow.

A story of a man caught in a life struggle and his strength to climb out of the sorrow.
A true story of rags to riches but with an voice of an angle in these time of voice simulators and fake stardom.
I have always admired the man but assumed he came from money and took the poor mans story. How wrong I was, only a man who has lived a life of hardship can truely sing of its virtues. All I can say is this is the safes the strongest and the most inspiring read I have ever heard. Bruce the legend grows with every decade of his life. Thanks mate great story great life all round inspirational.
The River is the fist Hac of my life, the second half is so much better. The River made it easier. Cheers Bruce,
Vince Pezzaniti

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  • Shane
  • 09-11-17

Satiated.

I only caught the Springsteen train briefly around Born in the USA and then later via Lucky Town & Human Touch. I have never seen the E-Street Band live but through this book know I now need to start the journey back through time to accompany the story that is Born To Run.

Time to start running....

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  • Deborah Brokate
  • 09-05-17

Fantastic

I loved the honesty and the love Bruce has for his whole family is clearly evident. Recommend it to everyone, whether a "Boss" fan or not.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-17

killer all the way

Never read such an unpretentious and heartfelt autobio. What a wonderful, caring man. I wish him well.

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  • Tara
  • 08-09-17

No-one could tell Bruce's story like himself.

Bruce Springsteen is a story teller of the highest order. Even if you don't love his music, you will love this book. His ability to embrace you in his life is profound. You live it with him, it's an amazing journey.