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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
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on 6 July 2014
I am a great fan of the "Mammoth book" series, although I know that they are not to everyone's taste. What I like about them is that you get a comprehensive chronological selection of both contemporary and retrospective articles and essays about the artist and their work, and each of these books is literally packed with information and facts.

This book is no exception and whilst many of the stories contained within it will be familiar to long-term Bob Dylan fans, there will I feel sure, be enough new items to even satisfy the oldest fan. I particularly like the author's own reviews of othe albums in this series and once again he has not let me down in his review of Dylan's albums over the years.

Considering the price of this book, I think it represents fantastic value for money and a great read.
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on 17 August 2012
"The blues is boring" states Mr. Egan in his review of "Blonde On Blonde"
This exact same sentence appears in his woeful look at Hendrix's output. One would have thought that some 10 years later he would have garnered some appreciation for the true musical form of the 20th century, but alas no.
Anyone who can make this absurd assertion in regard to these two giants is clearly tin-eared. Neither Hendrix or Dylan would have been the artists they were without the blues, and to dismiss this music as boring because it "repeats the same 12 bar pattern and the same 3 chords" (I paraphrase) should hand in their (undeserved) record reviewers badge.
Egan's prejudice is obviously geared toward white, middle-class art-rock. That's why he targets the same three LPs that every other bog standard rock crit does as Dylan's greatest. ("Bringing It All Back Home", "Highway 61" and "Blonde On Blonde") and even then he dismisses the more obviosly blues influenced tracks. His lack of musical insight shines like a beacon when he fobs "Pledging My Time" off as a standard 12 bar blues, when it plainly is an eight bar blues, and sorry Sean, not boring at all.
Beside all that, his biggest blunder is to decry possibly Dylan's greatest song of all, "Boots Of Spanish Leather" as "dull"
One would hope that Egan avoids music he can't understand in future. (God only knows what that would leave...Oasis?)
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on 2 June 2011
It's a big book, undeniably, but it's a bit overloaded with the editor's albums reviews. This is probably because there are so many albums!. I thought that there was too much space given to them, though I enjoyed reading them. There was simply not enough material from other writers, as another reviewer has indicated. I don't think it's a patch on Sean's similar book on The Beatles, which is an excellent and much wider collection (with far fewer album reviews to fill it up). However, it is
a reasonable read at a very good price, so I don't want to be too disparaging.
3/5 I think is fair.
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on 14 August 2012
I bought this to add to my already over burdened book shelves devoted to Dylan as there are comparatively few books which find room to deal with his work since the "golden" era of the 60's and 70's, and I hoped to be rewarded by insightful commentary, cogent analysis or at least some hitherto unpublished background material concerning the work since. Sadly I found none of the above.

As the other reviews have pointed out The Mammoth Book of Bob Dylan claims the status of an anthology but Egan's own increasingly dismissive and perfunctory reviews comprise by far the majority of material herein. Egan is a curiously unsympathetic curator and guide to the wildly uneven trajectory of Dylan's work since the last consistently agreed upon - by most, Dylan will always be a magnet for the maverick opinion - high-water mark of the Rolling Thunder years, and although there is no disputing that he has put out some appalling dross fully deserving of critical drubbing there are also plentiful moments that continue to beguile and astound. Egan seems reluctant to locate and discuss these.

Those entries which are worth reading are invariably provided by the other contributors but sadly there is no compensatory treasure trove on offer; Andy Gill is always engaging and perceptive and there are nods to the ever reliable John Bauldie, but aside from Michael Gray's piece on Masked & Anonymous (like many of the contributions lifted wholesale from an already available work)where are the big boys of Dylanology? Whatever your opinion of them neither Greil Marcus, Paul Williams nor Clinton Heylin get a look in, a situation I would like to think arose from copyright issues rather than editorial decision.

On the meagre plus side the Mammoth Book offers the Dylan novice a comprehensive and for the most part accurate overview of the whole career and is to be applauded for devoting space to some other aspects of Dylan's work such as the films, Chronicles and Theme Time Radio hour, but there are better anthologies out there (Benjamin Hedin's "Studio A" is worth seeking out) and if you're not a novice but are after a deeper level of critical engagement then Sean Wilentz's Bob Dylan In America remains the definitive work of recent years.
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on 23 September 2012
This could have been a very interesting review of Dylan's albums. However, Sean Egan's criticisms and jabs just destroy it. I knew very little about Dylan, but I found it very hard to read due to the relentless opinions of the editor interspersed throughout. I am glad I borrowed from library and did not buy.
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on 3 January 2013
I usually enjoy books about my musical heroes and when I received this book as a Christmas present I was pleased. However, when I began to read it I was disappointed by the author's negative and bitchy reviews of Dylan's albums. The contributions of the other authors kept this book reasonably interesting.

After a couple of days of reading I decided to skip Egan's reviews as not worth bothering with and will just read the articles by the other contributors.

I'm sorry that my son wasted his money.
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2011
Bob Dylan wrote recently that "there's a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I'm encouraging anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them". Well, this isn't exactly a "great" book but it isn't just another cynical attempt to cash in on Dylan's upcoming 70th birthday either. Most of it is written by Sean Egan,who writes engaging - if sometimes wrong-headed - summaries of each of Dylan's releases interspersed with a mix of original and reprinted essays,articles and interviews by others. It is a very enjoyable book to dip in and out of, and it is good to have so many hard to find pieces collected together in one place. My only criticism is that there is nothing on Dylan's recent art exhibitions. Recommended for those new to Dylan and fans and followers.
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on 15 August 2011
As others have mentioned, this book doesn't deliver on its promise. It's not an 'anthology', and nor is it anything like 'a selection of the best writing on Dylan'. There are some interesting snippets here and there, but most of it is simply album reviews and comments by Sean Egan himself. These may be thorough on background facts but they're not inspiring or enlightening. Egan seems to be more interested in collecting information and voicing his own (often ill-founded) opinions than in understanding or appreciating his subject. Sometimes I wondered why he bothered to write about Dylan if he thinks so little of him!
This book is Ok for flicking through on the toilet, or as I did, on a couple of short flights, but I don't think I'll be referring to it again.
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on 29 August 2014
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on 16 November 2016
loved it
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