American Folk Music And Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957 / Edition 328

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The 1930s and 1940s represented an era in United States history when large groups of citizens took political action in response to their social and economic circumstances. The vision, attitudes, beliefs and purposes of participants before, during, and after this time period played an important part of American cultural history. Richard and JoAnne Reuss expertly capture the personality of this era and the fascinating chronology of events in American Folk Music and Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957, a historical analysis of singers, writers, union members and organizers and their connection to left-wing politics and folk music during this revolutionary time period. While scholarship on folk music, history, and politics is not unique in and of itself, Reuss' approach is noteworthy for its folklorist perspective and its long, encompassing assessment of a broad cross-section of participants and their interactions. An innovative and informative look into one of the most evocative and challenging eras in American history, American Folk Music and Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957 stands as a historic milestone in this period's scholarship and evolution.

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Editorial Reviews

Dirty Linen
It's a solid dissertation, impeccably researched...
At long last Richard Reuss's seminal study of this important era in folk music is available in book form. The book is a goldmine of names, places, songs, and events surrounding the various protest movements in the US from the late 1920s through the end of the '50s...An excellent bibliography and index add to the immense value of this work...Recommended for all collections.
...the strength of the work lies in the abundance of interviews that Reuss conducted with American musicians and political activists, many of whom have since died. Furthermore, the question posed in the work about the relationship between folk music and left-wing politics has a resonance in today's "culture wars" and in issues of who controls the media and popular culture. It should appeal to historians interested in music, folklore, or the interplay between culture and invaluable work.
Western Folklore
Reuss's book gives a clear and objective view of the revivalist movement, valuing its contribution to the American musical scene while conceding the limitations of its political vision...The book is readable and appropriately witty in handling the Lomax artists' sometimes muddled politics and personal foibles.
Greenman Review
This book will appeal to readers with a love of history, and fans of North American traditional music. It should also interest anyone with an interest in the relationship between the commercial enterprise of music and living or revived folk traditions...well researched.
At long last Richard Reuss's seminal study of this important era in folk music is available in book form. The book is a goldmine of names, places, songs, and events surrounding the various protest movements in the US from the late 1920s through the end of the '50s...An excellent bibliography and index add to the immense value of this work...Recommended for all collections.
Considered something of a folk classic from its first appearance as a PhD dissertation in 1971 until its present incarnation (revised and updated by the now-deceased original author's wife), this lively, fair-minded, scholarly cultural history describes the connections between the politics, folklore, and music of the period, providing a mostly chronological account of the movement and the musicians, political activists, and folklorists involved. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810836846
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Series: American Folk Music and Musicians Series, #4
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 328
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Reuss came to folklore studies by way of his interest in music. He led a folksinging group while a counselor at summer camp and as an undergraduate student at Ohio Wesleyan University. He earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1971. He taught at Wayne State University in Detroit, broadening his studies to labor lore and music. Joanne C. Reuss studied folklore with Ellen Stekert as an undergraduate at Wayne State University. She is currently a Research Administrator at the University of Michigan and a freelance writer.

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