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Mapping Woody Guthrie

American Popular Music Series, Book 4
Narrated by: Peter Lerman
Length: 4 hrs and 19 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Guthrie kept moving throughout his life, making friends, soaking up influences, and writing about his experiences. Along the way, he produced more than 3,000 songs, as well as fiction, journalism, poetry, and visual art, that gave voice to the distressed and dispossessed. In this insightful audiobook, Will Kaufman examines the artist’s career through a unique perspective: the role of time and place in Guthrie’s artistic evolution. 

Guthrie disdained boundaries - whether of geography, class, race, or religion. Nevertheless, places were critical to Guthrie’s life, thought, and creativity. He referred to himself as a “compass-pointer man”, and after his sojourn in California, he headed up to the Pacific Northwest, on to New York, and crossed the Atlantic as a merchant marine. 

To map Guthrie’s movements across space and time, the author draws not only on the artist’s considerable recorded and published output but on a wealth of unpublished sources - including letters, essays, song lyrics, and notebooks. This trove of primary documents deepens Kaufman’s intriguing portrait of a unique American artist. 

This book is published by University of Oklahoma Press and University Press Audiobooks. 

"Our preeminent Woody Guthrie scholar delivers yet again." (Brian Hosmer, University of Tulsa) 

"The reader is in good hands as Will Kaufman guides us along Woody’s road and his path across the seas to explore the places and spaces that inspired America’s greatest balladeer." (Deana McCloud, Executive Director, Woody Guthrie Center)

©2019 University of Oklahoma Press (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A solid fan-produced bio that doesn't pull punches

If you ever wanted to learn who Woody Guthrie is, this book is a good place to start. I've been a fan of the man's music since singing some of his songs in school, so I was excited to dive in. I'm glad I did!

Who he was, who he wanted to be, and who he wanted to be viewed as, all of these W's are touched upon with intriguing insights. I appreciated that author Will Kaufman did not pull punches. Yes, he's clearly a fan of the man, but he can also step back and deliver criticism where it's due.

Mapping Woody Guthrie is short, because it's very specific. Kaufman's written other books about Guthrie. With this one he's narrowed down the topic to Guthrie's travelin'. It highlights the major locations across the country that influenced his writing, music and politics. Mostly chronological, the book takes us on a jog through his life, moving from place to place, and showing the evolution that took place. In a way this works well as a brief biography. But I'd only suggest it as a primer in that respect. As a thesis specific to the topics mentioned, it succeeds quite well.

Peter Lerman, whose solid narration of this audiobook suited the subject matter in tone and style. I don't know if it was a problem with my digital copy or the device I listened to it on, but there was some slight sibilance, a buzz in the ears if you will, when the volume was turned up to half or higher. Luckily, I was able to listen mostly on low.

To sum up, I'd highly recommend this for anyone interested enough to read this review all the way to the end!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining book about a great artist...

In "Mapping Woody Guthrie" Will Kaufman tells the story of Woody Guthrie's life from a very personal point of view and depicts why he - personally - has been interested in Guthrie's Songs for a long time.

The book was fun to listen to - I really like Peter Lerman's voice also - and I found out a lot about Guthrie's songs and background.

His war experience is also mentioned as well as his huntington's disease for instance. The book is quite an honest and straight forward account that gives a complete picture of Guthrie's songs and his story.


Guthrie's strong stance against fascism as well as his sense of justice become unmistakably clear.

The author directly quotes Guthrie's lyrics often - that made me feel close to him as reader / listener and it makes perfect sense as - according to Woody Guthrie "People remember songs not sermons".

Recommended.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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such a wonderful biography

I know it's not the first book and it's a series but I have to say that it's a standalone it's biography from part C two-part D and it's very well written... you understand the history the artist and it's a wonderful book... I enjoyed it a lot .... as a 28 years old woman that learned music in a Russian family I love those kind of books a lot....

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Stand Alone Reading.

I have followed the history of this era for quite some time. This book was excellent in filling in the gaps where much of what I have heard or read left off. If you wish to learn about the union and freedom movements of the 30's to 70's an excellent source is to follow the music of Woody Guthrie, Arlo, Seeger, The Weavers, Dylan, Baez etc. These folk singers were just not providing entertainment. They were carrying a message. This book highlighted just one of those messengers. The book was provided to me at no cost for an honest unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful