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This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song

Overview


"This Land Is Your Land" is the most iconic folk song in American history, and is the masterwork of one of America's greatest artists, Woody Guthrie. Written in 1940 and first recorded in 1944, the song became an instant hit, and then a point of controversy, and finally a cross-generation anthem. It's been co-opted and rewritten in many other countries. Praised for its heartfelt lyrics and accompanying pride and spirit, no folk song has made such a lasting impression on American culture—or stirred as much ...
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This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song

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Overview


"This Land Is Your Land" is the most iconic folk song in American history, and is the masterwork of one of America's greatest artists, Woody Guthrie. Written in 1940 and first recorded in 1944, the song became an instant hit, and then a point of controversy, and finally a cross-generation anthem. It's been co-opted and rewritten in many other countries. Praised for its heartfelt lyrics and accompanying pride and spirit, no folk song has made such a lasting impression on American culture—or stirred as much controversy.

The book will publish to coincide with "Woody at 100"— a partnership between the Grammy Museum and the Guthrie Archives to stage numerous celebratory events throughout 2012 nationwide and beyond.

This Land Is Your Land is a remarkably detailed account of the journey of America's most celebrated folk song. It also details Guthrie's legendary journey from Oklahoma across the Heartland to New York City, where he wrote many of his works including "This Land Is Your Land."

With more than forty rare black-and-white photographs from the Woody Guthrie archives, a removable poster, plus original interviews with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, John Mellencamp, and more, This Land Is Your Land delivers a revealing portrait of an American treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Timed to coincide with the "Woody at 100" birthday celebration hosted by the Guthrie Archives and the Grammy Museum (of which Santelli is Executive Director), this in-depth look at Woody Guthrie's iconic folksong digs into the song's history and mythology, seeking to explain its persistent appeal. Santelli (The Big Book of Blues) is quick to point out that there's much more to the tune (originally titled "God Blessed America") than the patriotic platitudes many Americans associate with it; it's a song by turns poetic and inspiring, but also highly critical of the distribution of wealth and opportunities in the U.S., an aspect of the number that frequently leads to abridged versions that suit the player's need. Indeed, extended versions of the lyrics suggest that Guthrie was concerned with "why, where, and for whom the song was being sung," a notion that only emphasizes the folksinger's reputation as being a man of and for the people. While Santelli does cover the evolution of the American folk movement as well as a basic biography of Guthrie, all roads lead to "This Land is Your Land." Those interested in Americana and the folk movement will likely get the most out of Santelli's attention to detail, with specifics on recording dates, the specter of Senator Joseph McCarthy, and Guthrie's tremendous influence on Bob Dylan—but it's the song, known to millions, that sings throughout this compelling story. Photos. (Mar. 13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762443284
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert Santelli is Executive Director of the Grammy Museum, and Co-Chairman of "Woody at 100"— a partnership between the Grammy Museum and the Woody Guthrie Archives producing numerous events celebrating Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday throughout 2012 across America and internationally. He lives in Los Angles, California. Please visit the "Woody at 100" website at woody100.com.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2012

    Good Blessed America

    The tale of America is rich and full of the lives of individuals who have given it character and legacy that encompass community. No matter who you are, the land is sprinkled with hope and opportunity.
    The song This Land is Your Land lyrics capture a certain essence of the magic and hope of America. Written as a counter to God Bless America, this song original title was God Blessed America. These folksy lyrics are well known today, but few know the back story. Who wrote them, what was their inspiration?
    Now in This Land is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of American Folksong, author Robert Santelli has written a rich bold book to fill in the details. It chronicles not only the life of Woody Guthrie, it also touches on a period of American history.
    Santelli has taken an odyssey to chronicle Woody Guthrie’s life, he is currently the executive director of the Grammy Museum, and co-Chairman of “Woody at 100”.
    As we enter the centennial celebration of Woody Guthrie, this book delves back to that fateful day in February 23, 1940, when Guthrie in a fleabag hotel on 43rd Street in New York City wrote this song.
    Guthrie was not an extraordinary individual, he was just a man who was full of hope and optimism and did what he loved, chronicled his life in verse.
    I was surprised by the many unrelated facts of folk music. How it was considered subversive and Guthrie was marked as a community. How this song has influenced so many artist, singers, and even presidents. Even after so many years this song is relevant and President Obama used the song to kick off his historic inauguration.
    The book is beautifully done, looks more like a coffee table book than a traditional biography and is a fitting addition to any library.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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