Bob Dylan: Chronicles of a Life

Review: Bob Dylan’s new book is revealing, misogynistic and a special kind of bonkers


Bob Dylan has always liked to shock his fans. Indeed, he makes for good entertainment when it comes to that, but he always holds things in check.

His music has been described as “shock to the system” and he can often be accused of preaching to the choir, but in 2014 Dylan has made a book out of it. The new Bob Dylan: Chronicles of a Life not only makes the claim that rock is dead, but also that it’s a man’s world that can only be saved by turning it over to women.

It’s an open secret that Dylan has been a feminist since the early 1980s, but his book suggests that the feminist movements that have rocked throughout the world have not yet transformed men’s attitudes towards women.

A recent survey found that only 30 per cent of women accept that sexual harassment and discrimination are a problem for women, suggesting that the majority still view sexism as a thing of the past, that it’s what we deal with as grown-ups. “I’ve been a feminist since the age of 15,” he told an interviewer in 2011, “I’ve never changed my mind. And I’m not ashamed of it, either. I’m also a strong supporter of the idea of equal rights of women to men – and men to lesbians.” When asked why he had decided to write his autobiography, Dylan said: “I don’t think I could have done it as well as I did without having some really radical ideas about women being really powerful and equal.” This is a line that the US president, Barack Obama, has taken before him. It’s also why Dylan has had some trouble keeping women fans happy at his concerts.

In the book, he criticises both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, calling them the ‘Nasty Woman’ of the female political spectrum, and says Obama “gazed at Palin, but not Hillary Clinton…”

“I could have written about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I could have written about George Bush and John McCain, but I just didn’t have the energy

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