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Review: Obama, Springsteen’s ‘Renegades’ is smart, beautiful

October 26, 2021 GMT
This cover image released by Crown shows "Renegades: Born in the USA" by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. (Crown via AP)
This cover image released by Crown shows "Renegades: Born in the USA" by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. (Crown via AP)
This cover image released by Crown shows "Renegades: Born in the USA" by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. (Crown via AP)

“Renegades: Born in the USA” by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen (Crown)

“Renegades: Born in the USA” is human, vulnerable, smart and passionate. This curated transcript of former President Barack Obama’s and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen’s conversations is accompanied by a thoughtful layout that underscores the dialogue within and brings the authors’ lives into focus.

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. While “Renegades” contains few words that the podcast of the same name doesn’t already have, its visual cornucopia rivals the brilliant audio engineering of the “Renegades” podcast it’s based on.

The “Renegades” podcast features songs and clips relevant to the topic at hand tucked under and around the conversation. Similarly, the book is interspersed with brilliant, full-color images. Song lyrics and pieces of paper scratched with notes show the thought that these two men put into their words before sharing them. The subtle but imperative changes made to their speeches and songs show as much character as the conversations Obama and Springsteen share. Even their handwriting reveals aspects of their personalities.

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A person could spend hours pouring over the words alone. One could spend just as much time ingesting the visual smorgasbord of albums, histories, places, and people discussed within. Whether you’re a fan of The Boss and the 44th President of the United States, or you’re just curious about two guys whose names carry clout, “Renegades” is worth experiencing firsthand.