The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie
Guthrie's songs — such as "This Land Is Your Land," "Pretty Boy Floyd," or "Roll on Columbia" — are still known and sung by many Americans, while the story of his life has taken on a mythic cast — the modern troubadour, the hobo balladeer and union supporter, the wandering folk singer who heard and wrote in the voice of the people. Guthrie's influence is felt not only whenever someone sings one of his songs, but any time a modern folk group or rocker sings a protest song or joins a social or political cause.
In this book, Guthrie's family and friends offer personal and often poignant recollections of his life. Noted writers such as Dave Marsh, David Shumway, and Robert Cantwell shed new light on the Guthrie legacy, including an expanded appreciation of his impact on rock and roll, through such figures as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. They also assess Guthrie's place in the political and social movements of his time, especially his support for unions and for the communist party; his attitudes toward race; and the little-studied topic of his visual art, the often very personal drawings, doodles, sketches, and paintings that he produced throughout his life. The book concludes with a valuable biblio/discography.
About the Authors
"Woody had faults, but he was also an extraordinarily thoughtful and original talent. He had the genius of simplicity. When I first heard 'This Land Is Your Land' I didn't perceieve how famous it would become. I thought to myself, 'That song is just too simple.' I actually believed it was one of Woody's lesser efforts. Shows you how wrong you can be . . . My guess is that if Woody stayed healthy, over the years he would have made up maybe twenty versions of 'So Long' because of its great chorus. He might have had a Dustbowl version, a Joe McCarthy version, a Civil Rights version, a Vietnam version. He might even have had a Romald Reagan or a Bill Clinton version. Who knows?"—Pete Seeger
"This book is further evidence that Woody Guthrie's words and spirit endure and thrive as a major American cultural force."—Joe Klein, Newsweek and author of Woody Guthrie: A Life
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