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Cover image for Woody Guthrie, American radical
Woody Guthrie, American radical
Kaufman, Will, author.

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Physical Description:
xxv, 270 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Music in American life

Music in American life.
Awakenings -- Hard-hitting songs for hard-hit people -- Almanac days -- Union war -- Lonesome radical soul -- Long road to Peekskill -- The last free place in America -- Conclusion: The miners and the mill.
Although Joe Klein's Woody Guthrie and Ed Cray's Ramblin' Man capture Woody Guthrie's freewheeling personality and his empathy for the poor and downtrodden, Kaufman is the first to portray in detail Guthrie's commitment to political radicalism, especially communism. Drawing on previously unseen letters, song lyrics, essays, and interviews with family and friends, Kaufman traces Guthrie's involvement in the workers' movement and his development of protest songs. He portrays Guthrie as a committed and flawed human immersed in political complexity and harrowing personal struggle. Since most of the stories in Kaufman's appreciative portrait will be familiar to readers interested in Guthrie, it is best for those who know little about the singer to read first his autobiography, Bound for Glory, or as a next read after American Radical.


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Book 0357384 ML410.G978 K38 2011 Central Campus Library

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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.

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