Woody Guthrie, American Radical
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Woody Guthrie, American Radical

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Woody Guthrie, American Radical reclaims the politically radical profile of America's greatest balladeer. Although he achieved a host of national honors and adorns U.S. postage stamps, and although his song "This Land Is Your Land" is often considered the nation's second national anthem, Woody Guthrie committed his life to the radical struggle. Will Kaufman traces Guthrie's political awakening and activism throughout the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Civil Rights struggle, and the poison of McCarthyism. He examines Guthrie's role in the development of a workers' culture in the context of radical activism spearheaded by the Communist Party of the USA, the Popular Front, and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Kaufman also establishes Guthrie's significance in the perpetuation of cultural front objectives into the era of the "New Left" and beyond, particularly through his influence on the American and international protest song movement. Utilizing a wealth of previously unseen archival materials such as letters, song lyrics, essays, personal reflections, photos, and other manuscripts, Woody Guthrie, American Radical introduces a heretofore unknown Woody Guthrie: the canny political strategist, fitful thinker, and cultural front activist practically buried in the general public's romantic celebration of the "Dust Bowl Troubadour." A portion of the royalties from the sales of this book will be donated to the Woody Guthrie Foundation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 142.24 x 218.44 x 22.86mm | 476.27g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252077989
  • 9780252077982
  • 914,423

Review quote

"A fresh, challenging look at Woody Guthrie's political life and musical contributions. Drawing on a rich, wide array of songs and other works that have so far been overlooked, Will Kaufman presents an unvarnished Guthrie, whose writings are incredibly stimulating."--Ronald D. Cohen, author of Work and Sing: A History of Occupational and Labor Union Songs in the United States"A much needed and extremely valuable book on Woody Guthrie. Examining Guthrie in this broader historical and cultural framework yields new insights into both Guthrie and radicalism."--Bucky Halker, musician-historian and author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95 "Overdue rediscovery of folk music's great agitator."--Kirkus Reviews"America, where the gap between the haves and the have-nots grow increasingly wide, Woody Guthrie, warts and all, seems more important than ever."--Nashville Scene "A much needed and extremely valuable book on Woody Guthrie. Examining Guthrie in this broader historical and cultural framework yields new insights into both Guthrie and radicalism."--Bucky Halker, musician-historian and author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-95 "A fresh, challenging look at Woody Guthrie's political life and musical contributions. Drawing on a rich, wide array of songs and other works that have so far been overlooked, Will Kaufman presents an unvarnished Guthrie, whose writings are incredibly stimulating."--Ronald D. Cohen, author of Work and Sing: A History of Occupational and Labor Union Songs in the United Statesshow more

About Will Kaufman

Will Kaufman is a professor of American literature and culture at the University of Central Lancashire, England. He is the author of three previous books, most recently American Culture in the 1970s . Also a professional folksinger and multi-instrumentalist, he has performed hundreds of musical presentations on Woody Guthrie at universities, music festivals, and folk clubs throughout Europe and the United States.show more

Rating details

40 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 32% (13)
4 32% (13)
3 28% (11)
2 8% (3)
1 0% (0)
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