“Bruce Springsteen: The Stories Behind The Songs,” Brian Hiatt, Abrams Books.

The concept alone sounds daunting: breaking down Bruce Springsteen’s entire recorded catalog song by song, and telling the story of how each track came to pass, putting them in historical and critical context as you do. I got tired just typing that.

But even if “The Stories Behind The Songs” may have been exhausting for Rolling Stone senior writer Brian Hiatt to write -- and I suspect it must have been, given the archival research and extensive new interviews that went into it -- it’s nothing but a pleasure to read, chock full of interesting insights and no small number of behind-the-scenes nuggets even the most devoted fans haven’t heard.

In fact, its assiduous attention to detail and breezy style put you there in the studio with Springsteen in such an effective way that a certain stripe of Bruce fan -- we know who we are -- will have difficulty resisting the temptation to take in the whole 288 pages in one sitting.

Hiatt, of course, is something of an unapologetic Bruce homer -- he took no small amount of heat for his five-star review of 2009’s lesser Springsteen effort “Working on a Dream,” a rating even he admits was “perhaps overenthusiastic-in-retrospect.” (Ya think?) But his clear fascination with, and respect for, Springsteen’s creative process makes for fascinating reading -- particularly during the early chapters, when you get a real sense of history unfolding as Bruce assembles the tracks for his career-defining classics.

Of course, the type of dedicated fans who are the audience for “The Stories Behind The Songs” will already know a lot of the tales Hiatt lays out about those early years, like the Herculean effort that went into recording “Born to Run” (the song). But there are enough interesting asides to hold your attention, even if you’ve heard the main stories before -- for instance, did you know that two different Springsteen ex-girlfriends claim to be the inspiration for “Candy’s Room”? (“I’ll never tell!” Bruce said to Hiatt in a 2010 interview.)

And then, as the book gets into the far-less-documented post-2000 material, anyone who appreciates that new work is bound to be mesmerized by Hiatt’s accounts of its inception. “The Rising” and “Wrecking Ball” may not be “Born to Run”-level classics, but the insight Hiatt offers into Springsteen’s process during those sessions, and how it had developed since his younger years, make those sections just as compelling as the earlier chapters.

Unfortunately, there are a few instances where the book approaches being too much of a good thing -- it’s impressive that Hiatt included every subsequently released album outtake in his rundown, but at a certain point you start to wonder if we really need to know the story behind every song on disc 4 of “Tracks.” I’d also have liked to have seen the credits accompany the 180 stellar (if often familiar) photographs, rather than relegated to a page in the back, but that’s just a quibble.

And while there’s a fine introduction by Hiatt, it would have been nice to also see a conclusion summing up Springsteen’s work in a broader way -- if only to have kept the book from ending with the lackluster EP “American Beauty,” and particularly with the phrase “a naked man on a leash.” (Now there’s a closing image for you.)

Of course, if these Springsteen tracks have made up the soundtrack of your life, you no doubt have your own ideas of what they mean to you -- and “The Stories Behind The Songs” will only enhance your appreciation of how they came to be.

-- Pete Chianca (pchianca@wickedlocal.com) is news director for Wicked Local North of Boston and author of “Glory Days: Springsteen’s Greatest Albums.” Follow him on Twitter at @pchianca.