Mountain Journal: Searching For The 'Other Bob' Behind Dylan

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 This updated version includes an interview with the author, previously unpublished photographs, and a new preface by Thompson.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 1968, Thompson set out on a quest to find a holy grail in contemporary culture. On somewhat of a lark, realizing little by way of epiphany had been revealed about the childhood circumstances that yielded Bob Dylan, Thompson went where few journalists had gone before—poking around the mining town of Hibbing, Minnesota.

There he confronted a question: how to reach the essence of a person who is, by his own design, inscrutable? Thompson was a young twenty something. His intent was not to interview Dylan the elusive phenomenon who at the dawn of the 1960s experienced a meteoric rise to become “the voice of a generation,” and then only a few years later broke his neck in in a motorcycle accident and retreated to upstate New York in semi-seclusion.
Thompson wasn’t interested in recapitulating the millions of words previously written about Dylan's persona.  Instead, he wanted to gain insight into how one of the greatest songwriters of all time, who would go on to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Nobel Prize for Literature, began as Robert Allen Zimmerman.

Interview with Toby Thompson at Mountain Journal. 

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