Marybeth Hamilton is a professor of American history at Birkbeck College, University of London. The author of When I'm Bad, I'm Better, she is also a writer and presenter of features for BBC radio. She lives in London.
In Search of the Bluesby Marybeth Hamilton
In this extraordinary reconstruction of the origins of the blues, historian Marybeth Hamilton demonstrates that the story as we know it is largely a myth. Following the trail of characters like Howard Odum, who combed Mississippi's back roads with a cylinder phonograph to record vagrants, John and Alan Lomax, who prowled Southern penitentiaries and unearthed the rough, melancholy vocals of Leadbelly, and James McKune, a recluse whose record collection came to define the primal sounds of the Delta blues, Hamilton reveals this musical form to be the culmination of a longstanding white fascination with the exotic mysteries of black music.
By excavating the history of the Delta blues, Hamilton reveals the extent to which American culture has been shaped by white fantasies of racial difference.
- Basic Books
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I was deeply disturbed by how the author thinks the "innocent negro in the south" invented the blues. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The so-called author of this book comes across as being emotionally disturbed, and having a severely distorted view of reality. To attack it based on its factual errors would require a book in itelf. Like many people who claim to use critical thinking, Hamilton is instead deeply irrational and, in the end, to be pitied for her arrogance and ignorance.
The "author" of this odd(odd in a bad way) book ignores or outright lies about the evidence for the reality of the music in question. In making her claims of a white manufacturing of what we think of as the music, she succumbs to a subtle and one hopes an unconscious distain for rural black folk, which is masked by an all to common pseudointellectualism.
Finally a book that reveals the long hidden truth about the Delta Blues, and how it is not an African American invention, but something created, mysticized, and nurtured by European Americans with fantasies of racial difference. (White people fetishizing all things Black) Contributing to many in the African American Community being labeled as the so-called 'Soul Man' or 'Ghetto' acting, who has to behave a certain way to be considered Black, in order to have their own racial identity.