By David Browne
Updated July 24, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

There’s surely a book waiting to be written about the making and marketing of Bruce Springsteen. Down Thunder Road isn’t it. A slapdash account of Springsteen’s early years, it climaxes with the mid-’70s lawsuit against his first manager, Mike Appel (and Appel’s countersuit), that temporarily derailed the rocker’s career. Appel was a major source for the book, and the result is little more than a one-sided defense of his actions. The book’s most revealing moments are in its deposition transcripts, which depict the young Springsteen as shockingly naive and inarticulate — in essence, a New Jersey kid who still had much to learn about the music business. C-