The father of American folk music, Woody Guthrie influenced generations of musicians and fans with his witty journalism and landmark songs, such as “This Land Is Your Land.”
Much has been written about Guthrie, yet nothing communicates who he was so well as the ideas that he set to paper with his own hand. This new biography is accompanied by a significant Guthrie family collection of rare Woody creations, many of which have never been seen before by the public.
These letters to family, photos, drawings, and lyrics reveal Woody’s budding personality as he grew from a young boy into a man of remarkable strength and character, becoming America’s most publicly visible political activist and the legendary musician who influenced Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ani Di Franco, and so many others.
Few people realize that Woody’s sister, Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, is alive and well to this day. She and Guthrie authority Guy Logsdon shed light on Woody’s early life and what formed his remarkably strong personality, as seen in his many poignant and impassioned letters, such as those reporting the death of his daughter in a New York fire. The considerable influence on Woody’s personality of his father Charlie Guthrie can now be traced in private letters and testimonials as Woody moves from his Texas years to roaming the USA, to military service, and to New York, where his national career bloomed as he became an accomplished spokesman.
Beyond the plain folksy wit of Woody the journalist and performer, we discover here the intensely intelligent and articulate man whose brilliance for the written word was perhaps overshadowed by his artistry in drawings, paintings, and musical performance.
"I and so many of my musician friends are indebted to Woody for his lifelong commitment to social change and to the common man. These letters that Mary Jo has saved provide a new and open window to Woody’s early years and to the love he had for his family. It’s a rare and fascinating collection!"
—Graham Nash, Artist
"Many of the documents included will appeal to fans and researchers. The letters Guthrie wrote to his family after the death of his child and letters about his success in the music business bring insight into Guthrie's personality and relationships... recommended for readers interested in the iconic musician."
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