As a student in (and of) the 1960's I rejected it's politics (see post below) but I loved and love it's music. Last weekend while at Barnes & Noble here in Medford I picked up the book "The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan 2" on the bargain counter for $5.99 and it's the best book I have found on Dylan. I have read 4 or 5 biography's on the man, own 50 + of his Cd's, own several other books on him, and have dozens of Dylan web sites "bookmarked" on my computer;but,this book is the best overall reference guide available. I can not put it down.
This is what Amazon.com writes about the book.
In his seventh decade and still going strong, Bob Dylan is the ultimate singer-songwriter - hugely revered, baffingly idiosyncratic, an enigma and a music legend responsible for a staggering number of classic songs. Now in it''s second edition, the Rough Guide clarifies the mysteries surrounding the man and the music, looking at the lyrics, the influences, the legends and the musicians he worked with. Features include: The Life - from Minnesota to Manchester, from the Albert Hall to the Never Ending Tour, The Music - 50 essential Dylan songs and the stories behind them and Dylanology - the movies, the sayings, books and websites.
The book gives a critical analysis of each of his 54 official albums from his first, "Bob Dylan", recorded and released in 1962 through "Christmas in the Heart" released in 2009. There is also a section with analysis on the"bootleg" albums available (official and unofficial) and gives websites for more information.
The book contains the best mini biography available and brings together the conflicting biography's of the past. I love the section analysing the 50 "essential" Dylan songs including their meaning and genesis.
Click on the title above to order the book from Amazon.com or go to Barnes & Noble where it is a real bargain.
In the acknowledgement section of the book the author thanks his wife for her help even though she is not a Dylan fan. I can identify with that because my wife can not stand Dylan's music.
Another very good book on Dylan is Any Gill's "Classic Bob Dylan, 1962-69: My Back Pages" This book only covers 8 years of Dylan's career; but, in my opinion he produced the best music of his career in those 8 year. Since 1969 he has made some very good songs but also some very bad ones. I am much more a fan of the "acoustic" Bob Dylan than I am of the "electric" Bob Dylan. The book covers each song and album during that period from 1962's "Bob Dylan" through 1969's "Nashville Skyline."
This is what Barnes & Noble writes about the book:
In this book, Andy Gill assesses the circumstances behind Dylan's most famous songs, tracing the artist’s progress from young folkie to acclaimed protest singer, and through the subsequent changes which saw him invent folk-rock and transform rock’n’roll with symbolist poetry, before experimenting with country-rock just as his followers were beginning to tune in to the explosion of psychedelia in the late sixties.
I bought this book last fall in a book store in Old Pasadena, California while I was there for the University of Oregon football game with UCLA and I am constantly referring to it and have read it from cover to cover.I have also indexed it with "tabs" so I can easily find information on each of the 9 albums covered.