Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes

Down the Highway is a biography of Bob Dylan, which spans his early life, through to the beginning of his career to music, and his subsequent rise to his current status, which it is no exaggeration to say, is probably that of legend.  

The book has obviously been meticulously researched, and is crammed with facts and figures.  It pulls no punches in describing the low times in Dylan’s career, as well as the highlights.

I am not generally a fan of biographies, but this one was a fascinating read.  Although, as stated earlier, it is stuffed full with facts, the writing is not ‘dry’, and the story of Dylan’s life unfolds at a satisfying pace.

What I found particularly interesting is that Dylan himself doesn’t really come out of this biography very well!  He appears at best a mass of contradictions, but prior knowledge of him suggests that that is no fault of the author – it’s just representative of what Dylan is like.  It is refreshing to read a biography that is not constantly gushing about it’s subject.

Sounes interviewed fellow musicians, past lovers and family members for the book (although, not surprisingly, there is no contribution from Dylan himself).  As with any biography, the book will be more interesting to fans, but even for someone with just a passing interest in Dylan’s music, this is an interesting read.

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