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Bruce Springsteen and Barack Obama to release Renegades: Born in the USA book


Following on their podcast series earlier this year, former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen will release a book titled Renegades: Born in the USA via Higher Ground and Penguin Random House on October 26 in the US.

The book is described as “a collection of candid, intimate, and entertaining conversations between the two,” building on the Spotify podcast series by adding new stories as well as more than 350 photographs and illustrations, including exclusive images and archival materials from the authors’ personal collections, among them Springsteen’s handwritten song lyrics and annotated drafts of Obama’s acclaimed ‘Selma’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ speeches.

The news was announced by Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, who acquired world rights from Deneen Howell of Williams & Connolly LLP.

In the book’s opening pages, Obama writes of the pair’s conversations, “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.”

The conversations took place in Springsteen’s home recording studio — where Variety interviewed and photographed the singer in 2017 — and over “at least one Corvette ride,” covering “marriage and fatherhood, race and masculinity, the lure of the open road and the call back to home, some of the most inspiring American heroes of all time, and music. . . . They talk a lot about music.”

Bruce Springsteen, left, appears with former President Barack Obama during their podcast of conversations recorded at Springsteen's home studio in New Jersey. The eight-episode series covers their upbringings, racism, fatherhood and even recall a White House singalong around a piano.
Bruce Springsteen, left, appears with former President Barack Obama during their podcast of conversations recorded at Springsteen’s home studio in New Jersey. The eight-episode series covers their upbringings, racism, fatherhood and even recall a White House singalong around a piano. (Spotify)

Springsteen writes, “There were serious conversations about the fate of the country, the fortune of its citizens, and the destructive, ugly, corrupt forces at play that would like to take it all down. This is a time of vigilance when who we are is being seriously tested. Hard conversations about who we are and who we want to become can perhaps serve as a small guiding map for some of our fellow citizens. . . . This is a time for serious consideration of who we want to be and what kind of country we will leave our children. Will we let slip through our hands the best of us or will we turn united to face the fire? Within this book you won’t find the answers to those questions, but you will find a couple of seekers doing their best to get us to ask better questions.”

And as President Obama writes, “the conversations Bruce and I had in 2020 feel as urgent today as they did back then. They represent our ongoing effort to figure out how it is that we got here, and how we can tell a more unifying story that starts to close the gap between America’s ideals and its reality.”

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