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Positively Main Street

Bob Dylan’s Minnesota

2008
Author:

Toby Thompson

Positively Main Street

In the late sixties, Toby Thompson enthusiastically took off for Hibbing, Minnesota, in search of Bob Dylan’s roots. With unprecedented access to Dylan’s English and music teachers, his high school girlfriend Echo Helstrom, and countless neighbors and relatives, Thompson discovers the real person behind the mythology Dylan created. This updated version includes an interview with the author, previously unpublished photographs, and a new preface by Thompson.

In the late sixties, Toby Thompson enthusiastically took off for Hibbing, Minnesota, in search of Bob Dylan’s roots. With unprecedented access to Dylan’s English and music teachers, his high school girlfriend Echo Helstrom, and countless neighbors and relatives, Thompson discovers the real person behind the mythology Dylan created. This updated version includes an interview with the author, previously unpublished photographs, and a new preface by Thompson.

A very important book about a very important person.

Lillian Roxon, author of The Encyclopedia of Rock

In the late sixties, Toby Thompson enthusiastically took off for Hibbing, Minnesota, in search of Bob Dylan’s roots. Thompson grooves on the story of Dylan’s beginnings, meeting the locals who knew Bobby Zimmerman the loner, not Bob Dylan the legend. With unprecedented access to Dylan’s English and music teachers, his high school girlfriend Echo Helstrom, and countless neighbors and relatives, Thompson discovers the real person behind the mythology Dylan created.

This updated version includes an interview with the author, previously unpublished photographs, and a new preface by Thompson.

Positively Main Street

Toby Thompson is associate professor of creative writing at Penn State University and the author of Saloon and The ‘60s Report. He has also written for numerous magazines including Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Playboy, and Esquire.

Positively Main Street

A very important book about a very important person.

Lillian Roxon, author of The Encyclopedia of Rock

Dylan fans will not want to miss this book.

Sioux City Journal

Enough to satisfy any Dylan fan with all the gossip he’ll ever need.

Huntsville Times

Well worth the attention of anyone who has fallen under the spell of the boy from the North Country.

Los Angeles Times

It’s a must.

Ft. Worth Press

A fascinating study of Bobby Zimmerman (Bob Dylan). There are really some great stories.

Newport News Times-Herald

A first-rate novelistic account of Thompson’s own psyche as he uncovers the Dylan few people know. A new look at young Dylan done with kindness, enthusiasm and superb language.

William Kennedy, Look Magazine

Essential reading. Thompson, unprecedentedly, managed to interview not only Echo Helstrom, almost certainly the ‘Girl of the North Country,’ but Dylan’s mother and brother, his uncle, his friends.

Michael Gray’s Bob Dylan Encyclopedia

Toby Thompson was there first.

Greil Marcus

If you’re a Dylan fan or a ’60s buff, Positively Main Street is for you.

The Ely Summer Times

Positively Main Street is positively entertaining in a Hunter S. Thompson kind of way . . . Positively Main Street is a free-wheelin’, fun, and quick read that is surprisingly informative.

John Bream, Star Tribune

A must read for Dylan fans!

Duluth News-Tribune

Positively Main Street is, with the exception of Dylan’s autobiography, perhaps the most readable and necessary volume on the folk icon. The book’s enduring appeal is Thompson’s excited voice and willingness to test New Journalism’s early possibilities.

City Pages

Thompson has every reason to be satisfied with the book. It is indeed a remarkable achievement.

The Bridge

The energy of Positively Main Street will put a strong wind back in your sails, and a smile of affirmation on your face.

The Tapestry Magazine

Positively Main Street is a rare treat.

Research/Penn State

Hats off to the University of Minnesota Press for reissuing it, with updated material, described as a ‘bonus track.’

Rochester Post-Bulletin

Originally published in 1971, Thompson's wildly written narrative nonfiction book, Positively Main Street, is still considered by many to be the most illuminating, funnest-to-read ingress to the life of Bobby Zimmerman before he became “Bob Dylan.”

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