A Long Walk Home: The Role of Class and the Military in the Springsteen Catalogue

Michael Neiberg and Robert Citino

Abstract


This article analyzes the themes of class and military service in the Springsteen canon. As a member of the baby boom generation who narrowly missed service in Vietnam, Springsteen’s reflection on these heretofore unappreciated themes should not be surprising. Springsteen’s emergence as a musician and American icon coincide with the end of conscription and the introduction of the All-Volunteer Force in 1973. He became an international superstar as Americans were debating the meaning of the post-Vietnam era and the patriotic resurgence of the Reagan era. Because of this context, Springsteen himself became involved in veterans issues and was a voice of protest against the 2003 Iraq War.

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