Once Upon a Time (Paperback)

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Half a century ago a youth appeared from the American hinterland and began a cultural revolution. The world is still coming to terms with what he did. How he did it - and why - has never fully been explored.In Once Upon a Time, award-winning writer Ian Bell draws together the tangled strands of the many lives of Bob Dylan in all their contradictory brilliance. For the first time, the laureate of modern America is set in his entire context: musical, historical, literary, political, and personal.Full of new insights into the legendary singer, his songs, his life and his era, this new biography reveals the artist who invented himself in order to reinvent America. Once Upon a Time is a study of a personality that has splintered and reformed, time after time, in a country forever struggling to understand itself. Dylan has become the mystery that illuminates. Here, in the first part of a major two-volume work, the mystery is explained.

About the Author

Born, raised and educated in Edinburgh, Ian Bell is a past holder of the George Orwell Prize for Political Journalism and the award-winning author of Dreams of Exile, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Formerly the editor of The Observer, he is a columnist with the Herald and the Sunday Herald.

Praise For…

A white-hot bullet of a book.


This is best described as a fully formed emotional biography, a fascinating read about an artist who, to this day, defends his right of artistic autonomy, refusing to be anyone but himself, whoever that may be. 

It’s an iconic American life, and Bell has written the most thorough, thoughtful, unblinded, skeptical but caring book that life has yet earned.

Bell writes beautifully, in rhythmic, incantatory, prose. An imagined reliving of an already imaginary life, and a book to sit alongside Richard Ellmann on Wilde, John Richardson on Picasso, and Peter Ackroyd on Dickens. This is the best Dylan biography yet.

Ambitious. Bell handles Dylan brilliantly.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781605986272
ISBN-10: 1605986275
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: October 15th, 2014
Pages: 592
Language: English