Archives For Woody Guthrie


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0062248391″ locale=”us” height=”333” src=”” width=”222″ alt=”Woody Guthrie” ]Guthrie’s Ghost

A Review of

House of Earth: A Novel

Woody Guthrie

Edited by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp
Hardback: Harper, 2013.
Buy now: [ [easyazon-link asin=”0062248391″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ] [ [easyazon-link asin=”B008QY1JC0″ locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]


Reviewed by Brett Beasley.


On January 29, 1961 a 19-year-old aspiring folk singer travelled from Minnesota to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey to meet the man he most admired who was suffering from the neurodegenerative disorder known as Huntington’s disease. After their meeting the older man sent his young admirer a card. It read, simply, “I ain’t dead yet.” Whether it was meant as a sly joke or a heroic declaration, this statement proved to be strangely prophetic. The following year the young man released his debut self-titled album, Bob Dylan, which included “A Song to Woody”. Dylan’s subsequent career—like those of Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy, and countless others—would go on to cement Guthrie’s place in America’s national consciousness.


Guthrie’s body of work even continues to live a life of its own as Guthrie’s friends, fans, and family members discover new additions to his vast treasure trove of unpublished writings and unrecorded songs. A notable example is the three-volume set by Billy Bragg and Wilco entitled Mermaid Avenue,which set scores of previously unheard Guthrie lyrics to music. But the biggest surprise of all came last year at the time of Guthrie’s centennial when the scholar Douglas Brinkley and the actor Johnny Depp announced that they were editing Guthrie’s long lost novel House of Earth for publication.


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The Wake Up CallThe Wake Up Call –
6 February 2013


Like the smell of strong coffee wafting down the hall, we offer a few book-related thoughts and stories to jumpstart your day…

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NT Wright’s book SIMPLY CHRISTIAN: WHY CHRISTIANITY MAKES SENSE is now only $3.99 for Kindle!!! (Price good through Feb 19)


Poem of the Day: “After the Fire” by James Merrill, who died on this day in 1995…


“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”  – Historian Barbara Tuchman, who died on this day in 1989
*** [easyazon-link keywords=”
Barbara Tuchman” locale=”us”]Books by Barbara Tuchman [/easyazon-link]


Book News:


Here are a few new book releases from last week and this week that are worth checking out:

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”1555976352″ locale=”us”] Read the starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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Woody Guthrie Centennial! In honor of the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth, here are two of my favorite Jesus-themed songs of his…

ALSO, see my recent review of Will Kaufman’s WOODY GUTHRIE, AMERICAN RADICAL.

Christ for President: Recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco

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Whose Justice, Which Radicalism?

A Brief Review of

Woody Guthrie, American Radical.
Will Kaufman.
Hardback: U. of Illinois Press, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

I’ve long been a fan of folk music, in its literal sense of being the music of the people, and in this regard, Woody Guthrie was the quintessential folk singer.  In some ways, simply being a folk musician is itself a radical act, but the new book Woody Guthrie, American Radical by Will Kaufman explores in great detail the radical aspects of Woody Guthrie’s life and songwriting. I’ve read other biographies of Guthrie, but probably still harbored some false conceptions about him that were deflated over the course of reading Kaufman’s book.  It’s easy, I suppose, to misconstrue the folk singer who is renowned for writing such songs as “This land is your land,” as the peace-loving hippy sort of radical who wants little more than for everyone to get along and to live in harmony with each other and with nature.  Granted, many of the next generation of folk singers after Guthrie, who interpreted and popularized many of his songs were indeed this kind of radical.

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