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‘Boss’ Book: SUNY Potsdam Professor Emeritus John Massaro Publishes Book on Music of Bruce Springsteen

July 16, 2021

SUNY Potsdam Professor Emeritus Dr. John Massaro Releases ‘Shades of Springsteen: Politics, Love, Sports, & Masculinity’ 

During his time as a politics faculty member at SUNY Potsdam, Dr. John Massaro became known for his unconventional college courses—even drawing national attention for his semester-long class exploring political themes in the music of Bruce Springsteen.  

Now in retirement, the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor hasn’t slowed down. He just released a new book expounding on that theme, titled “Shades of Springsteen: Politics, Love, Sports, and Masculinity.” Published by Rutgers University Press, the book is now available for sale at major retailers. 

Dr. John Massaro

In this unique blend of memoir and musical analysis, Massaro reflects on his experiences as a lifelong fan of “The Boss” and as one of the first professors to design a college course on Springsteen’s work. Focusing on five of the New Jersey rocker’s main themes—love, masculinity, sports, politics, and the power of music—he shows how they are represented in Springsteen’s lyrics and shares stories from his own life that powerfully resonate with those lyrics. 

The book clearly builds upon the Springsteen course I offered from 2001 to 2009 at SUNY Potsdam. Indeed, Essays 1 and 7 focus on that course and the significant role that the members of the SUNY Potsdam community played in revitalizing my life in welcoming my family and me so openly and wonderfully to the community in 1986. I will never forget that,” Massaro said. 

Massaro writes about politics and popular culture. A SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, he is currently retired and living in Wells, Maine. His previous books include “Supremely Political: The Role of Ideology and Presidential Management in Unsuccessful Supreme Court Nominations,” and “Deflated Dreams: Politics and Basketball.”  

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “Dr. Massaro was a longtime professor of political science at SUNY Potsdam. He was one of the truly remarkable faculty members in the entire SUNY system and I am thankful that I had the chance to take several of his classes while I attended the college. I’m a better political scientist because of Dr. Massaro. Most importantly, not only is he brilliant, he is a tremendously caring and decent person. Congrats to him on this fine new work.” 

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Politics aims to teach, energize, support and inspire students. SUNY Potsdam students pursue the study of political science or international studies to prepare for careers in law, government, foreign service, public policy, social action, teaching, business and more. For more information, visit 

About SUNY Potsdam:  

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 


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