Renegades Born in the USA - book cover
  • Publisher : Crown; First Edition
  • Published : 26 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 0593236319
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593236314
  • Language : English

Renegades Born in the USA

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Two longtime friends share an intimate and urgent conversation about life, music, and their enduring love of America, with all its challenges and contradictions, in this stunningly produced expansion of their groundbreaking Higher Ground podcast, featuring more than 350 photographs, exclusive bonus content, and never-before-seen archival material.
Renegades: Born in the USA is a candid, revealing, and entertaining dialogue between President Barack Obama and legendary musician Bruce Springsteen that explores everything from their origin stories and career-defining moments to our country's polarized politics and the growing distance between the American Dream and the American reality. Filled with full-color photographs and rare archival material, it is a compelling and beautifully illustrated portrait of two outsiders-one Black and one white-looking for a way to connect their unconventional searches for meaning, identity, and community with the American story itself. It includes:

• Original introductions by President Obama and Bruce Springsteen
• Exclusive new material from the Renegades podcast recording sessions
• Obama's never-before-seen annotated speeches, including his "Remarks at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches"
• Springsteen's handwritten lyrics for songs spanning his 50-year-long career
• Rare and exclusive photographs from the authors' personal archives
• Historical photographs and documents that provide rich visual context for their conversation
In a recording studio stocked with dozens of guitars, and on at least one Corvette ride, Obama and Springsteen discuss marriage and fatherhood, race and masculinity, the lure of the open road and the call back to home. They also compare notes on their favorite protest songs, the most inspiring American heroes of all time, and more. Along the way, they reveal their passion for-and the occasional toll of-telling a bigger, truer story about America throughout their careers, and explore how our fractured country might begin to find its way back toward unity and global leadership.

Editorial Reviews

"Renegades: Born in the USA is human, vulnerable, smart, and passionate. . . . Obama and Springsteen admire their country while considering its shortcomings and still come out the other side with a sense of patriotism and hope that spills over the bounds of a book."-Associated Press
"A collection of intimate and thoughtful conversations between the president and the Boss."-Los Angeles Times
"Do you dream of scoring an invitation to Springsteen's Colts Neck compound? Maybe strumming on those guitars, riding horses, riffing on the American experiment in the recording studio? Unless you're an American president, you're going to have to get in line. But in between daydreams, pick up Renegades. It's the closest thing to being a fly on the wall of an incredible friendship."-Esquire
"A candid, revealing, and entertaining dialogue . . . poignant and honest, with a dash of good humor."-The Aquarian
"Fascinating and supremely entertaining."-Booklist
"A very personal, very intimate project."-NJArts

Readers Top Reviews

A voracious readerSH
Admittedly I have a very high regard for President Obama and Bruce Springsteen, but meanwhile this book is very special. It has MANY wonderful photos, including some old ones of their respective childhoods and also photos of some other special people in their lives. There are also extensive written "conversations" and other really interesting material. This book is a real treat!
Would give 10 stars if I could. It is just a beautiful volume loaded with great pictures of both Bruce and Barack from early days on. The candid conversations between the men are, to my mind, the heart of the American story which is essentially an idea of opportunity, inclusivity, and equality. Interspersing Bruce’s hand-scratched lyrics with President Obama’s penned-in revisions of some of his important speeches, and including the entire first inaugural address of President Lincoln gives a breadth and scope of what this country’s promise once was and still can yet be. I never look at info on cover/book designers but kudos to Christopher Brand, book and cover designer, and book designer Lizzie Allen and the others involved in getting this book together. It is an absolutely beautiful book cover to cover.
This book is incredible. I can't put it down. I only hope it comes out in audio format. The photographs, the dialogue, the intelligence, the friendship of these two men give me hope that our country can come back to being the great nation it once was. It's inspirational and gives me hope. Thank you Mr. President and Mr. Springsteen for sharing your friendship and your conversations with the rest of us.
C Poole
Obama and Springsteen delivered and did not disappoint! Sit back with your favorite beverage and a box of tissues when experiencing this epic piece of literature. Bravo!
This unique book is centered around a series of conversations between former president Barack Obama and legendary recording artist Bruce Springsteen. The book includes a transcript of their conversations, as well as hundreds of beautiful photos, and other supplemental content like handwritten notes, lyrics, and copies of speeches. The book is divided into eight main sections, with a total of about 297 pages in the digital version, not including the Notes/Acknowledgments/Index at the end. The book starts with an Introduction, with Obama and Springsteen each writing a few paragraphs; before getting into the transcript of the long conversations between the two men. In the first chapter, “Our Unlikely Friendship”, Obama first writes a few paragraphs describing the setting and the background behind the conversations he had with Springsteen. Then the transcript of the first conversation begins, with many pictures of the two men interspersed throughout the transcript. The two discuss many topics, including how they first met and their thoughts about Jay-Z, the influence of Christian values in Springsteen's music, a duet that they performed together at the White House, how their wives got along, lessons Obama learned from Springsteen about being a husband, their early childhood influences, and more. The transcript is supplemented with tons of pictures that are related to what the two men are talking about, as well as copies of speeches, and lyrics from Springsteen songs. The book continues with this format; with Obama writing a few short paragraphs at the start of a chapter, followed by the transcript of the conversation between the two, and a great deal of supplemental pictures, handwritten notes, lists, and lyrics included throughout the pages of the transcript. It really makes the book feel like a documentary, as it is more than just a podcast transcript, with all of the added content that is relevant to the conversation. The discussions cover many different topics and ideas, but the overall underlying theme that stood out the most to me, was that although they had very different backgrounds, and very different experiences in life, they both share many similar views. Both love their country, and share a desire to have people from all walks of life get along better, and focus on our commonalities instead of being divided as a nation. At the end of the book there is an Appendix, which includes more pictures, Obama's annotated eulogy for John Lewis, images of Springsteen's handwritten notes that he prepared for the conversation with Obama, and a discography of Springsteen's studio albums showing all of the album covers. Overall I really enjoyed this book. There is so much content here, and the way it is assembled really adds some additional depth to the conversations. You don't even have to be a big fan of eit...

Short Excerpt Teaser

President Obama: As it did for many people, the year 2020 stirred up a whole lot of emotions in me. For three years, I'd witnessed a country that seemed to be getting angrier and more divided with each passing day. Then came a historic pandemic, along with a slipshod government response that rained hardship and loss on millions and forced all of us to consider what's really important in life. How did we get here? How could we find our way back to a more unifying American story?

That topic came to dominate so many of my conversations last year-with Michelle, with my daughters, and with friends. And one of the friends was Mr. Bruce Springsteen. On the surface, Bruce and I don't have a lot in common. He's a white guy from a small town in Jersey. I'm a Black guy of mixed race born in Hawaii with a childhood that took me around the world. He's a rock 'n' roll icon. I'm . . . not as cool. And, as I like to remind Bruce every chance I get, he's more than a decade older than me. Though he looks damn good. But over the years, what we've found is that we've got a shared sensibility. About work, about family, and about America. In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that's given us both so much. Trying to chronicle the stories of its people. Looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning and truth and community with the larger story of America.

And what we discovered during these conversations was that we still share a fundamental belief in the American ideal. Not as an airbrushed, cheap fiction or as an act of nostalgia that ignores all the ways that we've fallen short of that ideal, but as a compass for the hard work that lies before each of us as citizens to make this place and the world more equal, more just, and more free. Plus, Bruce just had some great stories. So we added a participant to our conversations: a microphone. And over the course of a few days at the converted farmhouse and property that Bruce shares with his amazing wife, Patti, along with a few horses, a whole bunch of dogs, and a thousand guitars-all just a few miles from where he grew up-we talked.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's good to see you, my friend. What brings us here today are conversations we've had over the years. Both of us had to be storytellers. We had to tell our own stories, and they became a part of a larger American narrative. The story we told resonated. I was trying to remember the first time we actually met, and it probably was in 2008. During the campaign.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: You came to do a concert with us in Ohio. Your family was with you and I remember thinking, "He's very low-key, even maybe a little bit shy." And I liked that in you. So I thought, "I hope I get a chance to talk to him at some point." But because it was in the middle of the campaign, we were rushing around. So, you know, we had a nice chat, but it wasn't like we had a deep conversation.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: There was also the time in New York when you and Billy Joel got up onstage and you guys did a whole concert. That was the first time I saw how much you were working out in the middle of your shows. You were jumping up and down on a piano. You were drenched, man. You were soaked. And I thought, "That man, he might hurt himself out there." But I had been a fan from afar for a long time. And we had started playing some of your music at our rallies. And then we just reached out and said, "Hey, would you be willing to do something?"

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: I had wonderful experiences playing those rallies and those appearances with you. Because you gave me something that I've never been able to give myself. And that was the diversity that was in the audience. I was playing to white faces and Black faces, old people and young people. And that's the audience that I always dreamed of for my band. One of the nicest events I had ever performed at was when Jay-Z and I played in Columbus. I think I played "Promised Land." It was a fabulous audience. All kinds of people-working-class people, old folks, and young folks. A lot of folks who didn't know me from the man in the moon, probably hearing me maybe for the first time.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But the same was true for Jay-Z. I guarantee there were a bunch of elderly white folks in that crowd who had not heard a Jay-Z song in their lives. And I had to tell him, "Change a few lyrics here, brother." We need the family version of some of his stuff.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: It was the first time I met him . . . great guy. I only played three or four songs, but it was a deeply thrilling performance. This is the audience of my dreams, the audience I imagined playing for. P...