Read Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie Pete Seeger Online


First published in 1943, this autobiography is also a superb portrait of America's Depression years, by the folk singer, activist, and man who saw it all.Woody Guthrie was born in Oklahoma and traveled this whole country over—not by jet or motorcycle, but by boxcar, thumb, and foot. During the journey of discovery that was his life, he composed and sang words and music thaFirst published in 1943, this autobiography is also a superb portrait of America's Depression years, by the folk singer, activist, and man who saw it all.Woody Guthrie was born in Oklahoma and traveled this whole country over—not by jet or motorcycle, but by boxcar, thumb, and foot. During the journey of discovery that was his life, he composed and sang words and music that have become a national heritage. His songs, however, are but part of his legacy. Behind him Woody Guthrie left a remarkable autobiography that vividly brings to life both his vibrant personality and a vision of America we cannot afford to let die. “Even readers who never heard Woody or his songs will understand the current esteem in which he’s held after reading just a few pages… Always shockingly immediate and real, as if Woody were telling it out loud… A book to make novelists and sociologists jealous.”—The Nation...

Title : Bound for Glory
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780452264458
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bound for Glory Reviews

  • Paul
    2019-04-21 03:03

    This partial autobiography was written in 1943 and is an account of Guthrie's life and his reflections on America in the 1930s. The slang is colourful and takes a little getting used to. Parts of this book are brilliant, but there are a lot of gaps. The first part of the book is about Guthrie's childhood (apart from the first chapter set in the early 40s. It gives a good deal of family background and dynamics, with a mix of loss and tragedy. His mother's bouts of odd and self destructive behaviour are sad when one considers she had Huntington's Chorea, which remained undiagnosed. There are only so many boyhood high jinks one can take and at times it felt like "just william" for the rough and ready. Guthrie' descriptions are sharp and his observation of human nature excellent; he was also aware of what was going on around him. There is a fascinating conversation between a 9 (ish) year old Guthrie and a black woman to whom he was delivering butter: she explains why certain words are inappropriate and how she would prefer to be addressed. He also describes in detail the grinding poverty of the time and how the American poor lived and died. The second half of the book describes the dustbowl era and Woody on the move using his hands and learning to use the guitar. He again describes the characters he met and makes them come alive, they are so vivid, as are his descriptions of bumming a ride on the railways. The longer the book goes on the more the music takes over. However there are gaps and the book jumps from the age of 18 to about 24; there is no mention of his wife and three children at all. All the alluring stories of life on the road are set against the wife and kids at home. There is a romantic passage towards the end, which is rather touching, until you remember he is already married. I am not being judgmental because we all like to edit our own stories and we all have flaws. I just found it interesting that he omitted them from his story. There is an interesting paragraph towards the end when Guthrie talking about singing live with Cisco and he describes his audience; " stealers, dealers, sidewalk spielers; ... dopers, smokers, boiler stokers; ...saviours, saved and side street singers; ... money men, honey men, sad men, funny men; ramblers, gamblers, highway anklers" and so on. It reads, and more particularly speaks pure Bob Dylan.

  • Debbie Zapata
    2019-05-14 00:39

    I've known of Woody Guthrie all of my life; used to sing This Land Is Your Land around campfires and on hayrides. But until reading this book, I never knew aboutthe man at all. He had a rough life right from the git go, and this book tells us bit by bit about some of the tragedies that shaped the man he became.He was a working man who bummed around the country, singing songs about the life and the people he saw around him. This book tells about his childhood, his family, his years on the road, his philosophy of life. He would have been someone amazing to sit down and visit with. I love his poet's eye. Here he is describing his Grandma:'Grey hair commencing to make a stand that had come from hoeing and working a crop of worries for about fifty years.' And this, before a tornado: 'The walnut trees frisked their heads in the air and snorted at the wind getting harder.' Or this, during the tornado: 'Bales of hay splitting apart blew through the sky like pop-corn sacks.....Everything in the world was fighting against everything in the sky.'My favorite chapter tells about his boyhood gang: his group of friends, 7 or 8 years old like he was at the time. The biggest business for everyone was the buying and selling of stick horses...not to mention the training of them. Imagine a crowd of young cowboys gathered around holding down a wild stick horse until the tamer was ready and called 'Fan 'em!', then everyone stood back and the show was on. The rodeos that must have resulted while half a dozen boys were taming these stick horses all at the same time would have been such fun to see! All those boys out there trying to prove that their stick horse was the 'snuffiest in the whole history of the hill'. And of course the horse brought a better price if the tamer could gentle him down from crazy bucking to paying attention to all the cues and docilely demonstrating his gaits. Those pages were the best ever examples of boys being boys and having fun at it.He had a rough life and parts of it were not pretty. In fact some sections are disturbing for the cruelty involved and the idea that anyone lived through such scenes, especially a youngster. But he survived, and kept his spirit, and shared it with all of us. Thank you, Woody.

  • Stacie
    2019-04-21 21:56

    For years, I’ve been a Bob Dylan fan and fascinated by Dylan’s biggest inspiration, Woody Guthrie. Dylan biographers, and Dylan himself, often reference Guthrie’s autobiography Bound for Glory. With great pleasure I realized my local library had a copy.I didn’t know what I was embarking on. The jacket of the book has a quote from the Springfield Republican that reads, “Reading Bound for Glory is an emotional experience far more stirring for some readers at least, than even the penetrating Grapes of Wrath.” Guthrie’s being compared to Steinbeck? Isn’t that sacrilegious? When I usually read obscure books like this, my expectations are low. Boy was I surprised – not only because this is a fantastic work, but also because this work is not more well known or celebrated among literary circles, music circles, or historical circles.Guthrie’s vivid descriptions transplant the reader back to a time when poverty, grit, hard work and traveling were the norm in this country. He makes the gruff, rough underbelly of America during the early 20th century human and real. Along the way, the reader also becomes endeared to Guthrie, through his experiences and his mild manner. This story transcends time: the struggle, the camaraderie, the human kindness, and the universal joy of music that makes this country great. It’s a part of our history worth remembering.

  • Erin
    2019-05-06 21:36

    I had no idea what to expect with this book. I wasn't really looking forward to reading it. Boy was I wrong. I loved it. It is not the usual boring biography, he is simply telling stories, in his own unique way. His stories made me think, what would I have done in the same situation. Could I have rode in the box car, waited to pick the apricots, saw my sister burned to death and kept going. Could I take a beating on the dead main street and still manage to keep going? Could I have suffered so much and still been able to see the country in all its beauty or would I become hard and mean. My knowledge of Woody was VERY limited to some songs and of course his son Arlo in "Alice's Restaurant". It shed a whole new light upon the man and I am happy for gaining a new perspective. I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it anyone simply looking to expand their world by shedding a little light into a life so very different from your own.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-23 01:55

    How can people really write like THIS when I can barely scratch out a little review here? Damn. There's not much music in here until the end, but his story itself reads as this jaw-dropping rambling epic earthy American folk ballad. The back of my crumbling 1970 mass market edition quotes the following review. I will just nod vigorously:"Even readers who never heard Woody or his songs will understand the current esteem in which he is held after reading just a few pages... always shockingly immediate and real, as if Woody were telling it out loud... A book to make novelists and sociologists jealous." - The Nation ---I'm two chapters in and he's got more wild stories about any old day of his life than I do about the whole thing. Lord!

  • Pete daPixie
    2019-05-04 23:02

    A folk song is what's wrong and how to fix it or it could be who's hungry and where their mouth is or who's out of work and where the job is or who's broke and where the money is or who's carrying a gun and where the peace is. - WG Anytime is a good time to read 'Bound for Glory'. First published back in 1943, Woody's biography remains one of the essential works in the poptastic genre. In 2012, Woody Guthrie's Centennial Year, B.F.G. is still a classic of twentieth century American folk music.If I have read this previously, it was decades ago. I already know the outline of Guthrie's life, yet the book is fresh and vivid. Described as 'one of the patron saints of American rebelliousness'Guthrie's life is lived in Steinbeck or Kerouac fiction. A biography that rattles along the tracks with freight train bums, migrant workers, tramps and dust bowl refugees. An iconic image that has cast a long shadow, from Woody to Dylan and extending on to the 'singer-songwriters' of today.

  • Suzanne Moore
    2019-04-21 21:58

    Bob Dylan's music turned me on to Woody Guthrie. When I heard about Dylan's love of Bound For Glory, I had to read the book for myself. In fact I read anything that may have inspired Dylan, since he is my inspiration. I remember singing “This Land is Your Land” in grade school, not knowing anything then about Woody. His story begins as a young boy and his years at home with his mother. Then he takes the reader on his adventures riding the rails and singing his songs. It is tragic how his sister dies of burns and later when his mother burns the house down. It's like fire tragedy followed him throughout his life. I've read another book, Seeds of Man, about one of Woody's adventures which includes information about another “accidental” fire that leaves his father suffering from extensive burns. In Ramblin' Man The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie, more details of Woody's life tell of his daughter's death due to fire. His songs are reflections of America and the common man. His stories are heartfelt and entertaining. I can see why Dylan admires him so much. In Bob Dylan's poem, Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie, he says, “And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin' …. You can either go to the church of your choice, or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital. You'll find God in the church of your choice. You'll find Woody Guthrie in Brooklyn State Hospital.” It might be assumed that Bob is comparing Woody to God … but I believe in Woody there was always hope. Hope that even though life comes with hardships, there is beauty from ashes.

  • Bondama
    2019-05-12 00:40

    I first read this book when I was in my last year of high school, many years ago. Woody Guthrie was my hero then, and he still is. This book is a great road book, but that is perhaps 1/100th of why the man is my hero. Woody spoke for the people, the real people, - disenfranchised, broken up, busted down - the man/woman who has no idea where his next meal is coming from, let alone where in the hell he's going to sleep that night.

  • Fionnuala
    2019-05-06 02:38

    Loved this - the stories were like so many songs I know and the drawings were exellent.

  • Whitney
    2019-05-03 22:36

    This book was quite different from anything I usually read. (It was assigned for school - otherwise, I would never have read it.) What I liked:1. It successfully captures the Great Depression/Dust Bowl era of America and how tough life was for people back then.2. It seemed honest and frank, not put on or embellished (beyond what his memory could provide, of course).What I did not like:1. The timeline jumped forward without much warning, which confused me because I couldn't keep track of his age or what year it was. Also, he never even mentioned how or why he decided to pick up the guitar and start playing and singing. 2. THE SCENE WITH THE CATS. Seriously, why was this included in the book?? To make me suffer? To make me cry? It was gruesome and cruel af. I did NOT need to read such an effed up scene - so I skipped it. Very heartbreaking and disgusting. 3. The dialogue was beyond grueling; I had such a difficult time interpreting the backwoods-style Oklahoman dialect/accent that it significantly slowed my reading pace down.4. The story never really seemed to go anywhere; it was just his recollection of events and conversations mashed into one book. There was little point to the whole thing, in my opinion.5. The ending wasn't very satisfying. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting, but it wasn't that - very abrupt. As you can see, the dislikes far outweigh the likes...Food for thought: Is it me, or was his mother a pyromaniac?

  • Tim Weakley
    2019-04-18 20:00

    I came across the name of this book in the Dylan book I had been reading earlier in the year. When I went to a local book store to buy it the clerk in the music section was surprised firstly that it was still in publication having been written in the forties, and secondly that given that…that they did not have it in stock! She ordered two copies. When I got my hands on it I was taken right away by the picture of Guthrie on the cover. It kind of reminds me of an old painting of a martyr from some Russian icon. the book starts with him as a hobo stealing a ride on a train along with a bunch of other travellers. It’s interesting and kind of frightening at the same time. His language is very deliberately “Okie”. It took a while to get used to but once I did the flow was very good. Another early life full of tragedy and the constant symbolism of fire. His mother, who it’s thought likely had the same medical issues that plagued Guthrie in later life, set fire to their house at least twice. He lost his sister to fire at one point as well. The family dynamic with which he grows up is explored in almost an accidental way in his telling of the story. For all of that it is one of the best parts of the whole book I think. You see where he began to take his inspiration from when you see how his mother affects him in the early years. His lack of a father in his formative years leads to a wandering lifestyle to make ends meet. This allowed him to become the storyteller of the American “Everyman” during the depression. He saw the places and lived the life that he sang. When he sings “this land is your land…this land is my land” it’s not an abstract that he sings about. He was trying to tell people about what he had seen when he made his way from east to west. While not one I would have chosen to read off of the shelf without the mention in the Dylan bio, this became a book that I was very happy that I had read. For 20th century history buffs, and music lovers of the folk time period this book is essential.

  • Stacey
    2019-05-14 02:58

    I have an old paperback version of this book. It has some of Woody's drawings in it. The words in the book seem to be ghostwritten at some points, I don't know for sure if they are or are not, but the drawings really make Woody seem tangible while you read his autobiography. It is, of course, not Woody's complete story, but it is a good story that he told. (There is no mention of him leaving his wife and children behind to go on all those adventures). Mostly, his story focuses on the earlier part of his life--when his sister, Clara, died in the fire and his mother was institutionalized, and culminates with the farm worker protests era. I don't think it goes into his Grand Coulee Dam time frame--but it has been awhile since I read it. It certainly doesn't go into any of the time when Woody started to get sick with Huntington's disease. The book was made into a movie starring David Carradine, which is pretty good, but not great. A great story told by a great man.

  • Brad
    2019-05-06 21:58

    There was clear and strong movement in the plot. Woody is of course a good wordsmith and his descriptions are crisp and interesting. The historical aspect of the yarn and also the language used added interest. The use of language and some of the hobo slang picked up may have been one of my favorite aspects. He is writing in the style of Steinbeck, Sarayon, Twain and others and makes similar social commentaries by revealing to an equal degree that the characters could be blammed and fate can play a role. He keeps the characters somewhat honest but tends, rather unusually, to lean on the postive side. But I suppose that these are things that Woody has always been known for being the humanitarian that he is. I have always thought of Woody as a legit hobo.

  • Nate Jordon
    2019-05-14 21:45

    For thesis research...Here ol' Guthrie hits the rails and highways - a vagabond and his guitar. But you don't get to those adventures until midway through the book - half the damn book is about his childhood adventures and once someone's told you two stories about barnyard shenanigans involving slingshots and spiders, well, you've heard them all. He never mentions how he decides to pick up the guitar, nor how he learned to play it; it just magically appears in his hands and the songs pour forth. Guthrie maintains a distance from the reader - by the end of the book, you feel like you know the hobos and drifters better than you know Guthrie. Though that's a bit disappointing, I think Guthrie did it with intent.

  • Ellie
    2019-05-06 20:33

    Oh please: I grew up on Woody (from my parents) and then Arlo (my time). This book was in the house I grew up in (actually, apartment but you know what I mean). I used it to build home for my dolls before I was old enough to read it; I read it before I was old enough to understand it (8? 9? years old-in those days, we couldn't afford that many books and I read whatever I could). I always loved it-my father had a story about when he met Woody, in the kitchen of some activist or another and I guess I'll always love it. How can I review it? Just, read it, ok? It's a document of our country, our history, our heritage, and our lives.

  • Wickovski Steve
    2019-05-03 21:56

    This is probably one of the most inspiring books by a musician I've ever read. Woody lived a hard travelling life during the great depression, writing songs that reflected the life he was living and the plight of his people.They were the poor migrating farm workers from all the Dust Bowl states that moved west following the terrible ecological disaster that hit the region during the 1930's. Steinbeck would have loved to have invented Woody Guthrie, only Woody got there first. Woody was real American folk hero and the book is brim full of his great enduring spirit.

  • Chelsea Cruse
    2019-05-13 21:44

    Finished reading this treasure right before starting our Dirty Thirties unit in American History. I have always adored Woody Guthrie, but this sent my love for him through the roof. You can hear his lyrics through his writing. His figurative language dances off the pages. He truly makes one of the hardest times in American history shine with beauty through his words and love for life and his fellow man. What an incredible national treasure Woody Guthrie and this piece of work are.

  • Cheri
    2019-04-22 19:57

    I've quite enjoyed this book. I now own a copy, which will allow me to GASP! write in it when I reread it and to enjoy the last part a bit more (I had it on a library loan that was not nearly long enough to read it and not feel rushed). I think everyone should read it, and I feel that way about very few books. I think much of what's written about in the book is still/again relevant to the average Joe/Jane. Here are a few sections I liked especially, that are also short enough to type out quickly:I looked down at the ground and said, "Well sir, men, I ain't no fortune teller. No more than you are. But I'll tell ya what I see in my own head. Then ya can call it any name ya like."Everybody stood as still as a bunch of mice."We gotta all git together an' find out some way ta build this country up. Make all of this here dust quit blowin'. We gotta find a job an' put ever' single livin' one of us ta work. Better houses 'stead of these here little sickly shacks. Better carbon-black plants. Better oil refineries. Gotta build up more big oil fields. Pipe lines runnin' from here on ever' single inch of this whole country and see to it that none of Hitler's Goddam stooges don't lay a hand on it.""How we gonna do all of this? Just walk to John D. an' tell 'm we're ready to go to work?" THe whole bunch laughed and started milling around again."You ain't no prophet!" one big boy yelled. "Hell, any of us coulda say that same thing! You're a dam fake!" "An you're a Goddam fool!" I hollered out at him. "I told ya I didn't claim ta be nothin' fancy! Yer own dam head's jist as good as mine! Hell, yes!"...."Men! Hey! Listen! I Know we all see this same thing -- like news reels in our mind. Alla th' work that needs ta be done - better highways, better buildin's, better houses. Ever'thing needs ta be fixed up better! But, Goddamit, I ain't no mastermind! All I know is we gotta git together an' stick together! THis country won't ever git much better as long as it's dog eat dog, ever' man fer his own self, an' ta hell with th' rest of th' world. We gotta all git together, dam it all, an' make somebody give us a job somewhere doin' somethin'!189-190----------------You've seen a million people like this already. Maybe you saw them down on the crowded side of your big city; the back side, that's jammed and packed; the hard section to drive through. Maybe you wondered where so many of them come from, how they eat, stay alive, what good they do, what makes them live like this? These people have had a house and a home just about like your own, settled down and had a job of work just about like you. Then something hit them and they lost all of that. They've been pushed out into the high lonesome highway,and they've gone down it, from coast to coast, from Canada to Mexico, looking for that home again. Now they're looking, for a little while, in your town. Ain't much difference between you and them. If you was to walk out into this big tangled jungle camp and stand there with the other two thousand, somebody would just walk up and shake hands with you and ask you, What kind of work do you do, pardner?249

  • Andrea
    2019-05-17 00:43

    One of the best books I've read in ages, don't know since when. Words the way no one could write them now, words to be spoken in box cars on a long cold and hungry trip to anywhere. Words that rip you up and make you laugh, that open up a whole world of childhood and poverty and madness, boom towns and dying towns and dead towns, immense kindness and violence and desperation. And yeah I noticed that he was married twice and mentioned neither of those wives or 5 kids neither in this book, but I guess I won't hold that against him. Hard to choose my favourite parts, but thought it best to let his words speak themselves a bit..."One day my curiosity licked me. I said that I was going to taste a bottle of that Jack for myself. Man ought to be interested. I drawed up about half a mug of root beer. It was cold and nice, and I popped the little stopper out of one of the Jake bottles, and poured the Jake into the root beer. When that Jake hit the beer, it commenced to cook it, and there was seven civil wars and two revolutions broke out inside of that mug. The beer was trying to tame the Jake down and the Jake was trying to eat the beer up. They sizzled and boiled and sounded about like bacon frying. The Jake was chasing the little bubbles and the little bubbles was chasing the Jake, and the beer spun like a whirlpool in a big swift river. It went around and around so fast that it made a little funnel right in the middle. I waited about twenty minutes for it to settle down. Finally it was about the color of a new tan saddle, and about as quiet as it would get. So I bent over it and stuck my ear down over the mug. It was spewing and crackling like a machine gun, but I thought I'd best to drink it down before it turned into a waterspout or a dust storm. I took it up and I took it down, and it was hot and dry and gingery and spicy, and cloudy, and smooth, and windy and cold, and threatening rain or snow. I took another big swallow and my shirt came unbuttoned and my insides burnt like I was pouring myself full of home-made soapy dishwater. I drank it all down, and when I woke up I was out of a job." "His voice was sandy and broken up in little pieces. Lots of things went through your mind when he talked--wheat stems and empty cotton stalks, burnt corn, and eroded farm land. The sound was as quiet as a change in the weather, and yet, it was as strong as he needed.""There is a stage of hard luck that turns into fun, and a stage of poverty that turns into pride, and a place in laughing that turns into fight.""Thank the good lord, everybody, everything ain't all slicked up, and starched, and imitation. Thank God, everybody ain't afraid. Afraid in the skyscrapers, and afraid in the red tape offices, and afraid in the tick of the little machine that never explodes, stock market tickers, that scare how many to death, ticking off deaths, marriages and divorces, friends and enemies; tickers connected and plugged in like juke boxes, playing the false and corny lies that are sung in the wild canyons of Wall Street; songs wept by the families that lose, songs jingled on the silver spurs of the men that win."

  • Benito
    2019-04-30 03:53

    Woody rides the rails and takes us along for the journey. It’s growing up with a smirk and a knowing smile and seeing your country for all it is – the good, the bad, the ugly – and finding a way to put it all in song, in a way that feels special and pure to you. It makes you want to pick up an old nylon string and hit the road yourself. Sure, there’s probably a little poetic license in some of Woody remembrances, but that’s art – like Kafka said; it should be larger than reality, while still reflecting it. From a dust-bowl boyhood with a mentally ill mother and financially struggling old man to falling in love with an apricot picking young girl whose family wait out the depression while Woody’s stream-of-consciousness singing keeps them alive. Woody sees the inherent unfairness in the failed lassaix-faire Free Market Capitalism of his time, much as we are seeing now, but like another gangly man with a good voice that we are hearing today, he never gives up hope in the actual people he encounters and their ability to survive, mend and learn from their predicament. Particularly poignant in this time of recession reading of whole groups of men going from door to door begging for work, (before Keynes pointed out that social security was a right and need and not a privilege) as Woody himself does before realising he can live by peddling his songs to sailors, dipsomaniacs and insomniacs in late night bars and taverns. Telling how those men are often turned away by those who can help most (nuns, priests and the middles classes) while those with barely enough to feed themselves will wrap something sweet in some oil paper without hesitation, and the only string attached being some recycled cooking twine. I love the scene’s Guthrie vividly paints of his boyhood gang (The Boomtown Rats) fighting in hot dirt, then a young man discovering the magic and music of people and travel, and finally, when offered the chance to sell-out and become an Idol-like crooner in a fancy big show for The Rockefellers, he instead escapes to stroll as a proletarian pied piper through the streets of New York, a trail of children dancing behind him, before sailing into the unknown with bad whiskey on his breath on a stray barge...

  • Ian Wood
    2019-04-19 19:36

    I first heard of Woody Guthrie through the Bob Dylan tracks ‘Song for Woody’ and ‘Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie but he drifted out of my consciousness until Brue Springsteen recorded his ‘Tom Jaod’ album but again this didn’t particularly hold my attention until Billy Bragg recorded the ‘Mermaid Avenue’ albums when I suddenly found I had two LP’s of fantastic songs by a singer-songwriter of whom I’d never heard. To right this obvious wrong a bought a Woody Guthrie compilation and fell in love with such songs as ‘Do Re Mi’, ‘Blowin’ Down this Road’ and lots of songs concerning Dust and Talking.Everything I could find written about Woody seemed very reverential or very dismissive and he had clearly being canonised by the American left whilst being vilified by the American right. On deciding the one person who could give me some objectivity would be Woody himself I bought ‘Bound for Glory’ to read as the autobiography of a modern icon.Written in Woody own talkin’ style with a element of stream of consciousness I didn’t think it the most immediate book to read but the story’s from his youth soon began to grip me as he describes with heartfelt passion his mothers decent into madness which was in fact the Huntingdon’s syndrome which would eventually kill not only her but Woody himself. His sister’s accident and the death of his uncle are again very moving as indeed is his fathers failing fortunes and the families decent into poverty.As the depression hits and Woody leaves the formally oil rich town of Okemah (coining the expression and band name ‘Boomtown Rats’ along the way) on a train brake beam we can see how the myth of Woody is born as he and the working man he championed are indeed ‘Bound for Glory’.

  • Virginia Baker
    2019-05-14 23:35

    A gritty American tale of life in the early 20th century. Woody narrates life out on the Oklahoma plain, from a simple, easy childhood that ended too quickly when the Dust Bowl came around and his parents left town and he was out trying to fend for himself at the age of 14. A true tale of strength and an inspiration for everyone to create art and work hard, this book is filled with insights into the true spirit of humans; the need to look out for each other and come together in times of struggle. Though initially drawn by the story Woody was telling, I found myself blown away by how he tells the story, his way of writing. He switches tenses, addresses the reader, throws us into the role, goes from scene to summary to strictly dialogue to strictly description and philosophizing. This is a brilliant piece of work. Sure to make any memoirist jealous and any fiction writer just as envious. Great read."A picture - you buy it once and it bothers you for forty years; but with a song, you sing it out, and it soaks in people's ear and they all jump up and down and it with you, and then when you quit singing it, it's gone and you get a job singing it again.""I believe that when ya pray, you're tryin ta get yer thinkin' straight, tryin ta see what's wrong with the' world, an' who's ta blame fer it.""I feel like half of me's stayin' an' half of me's goin"

  • Lark Benobi
    2019-05-01 22:03

    Startling, fresh, and also quite alien--something from a completely different era, particularly when compared with most memoirs written today. Guthrie lost a sister in a fire in which his family also lost all of their possessions, his father left home when he was twelve, he was raised by a brother after his mother was institutionalized for mental problems, and after all this, Guthrie still writes compassionately about them all. Part of the weird alien nature of this book is how family members disappear casually from Guthrie's life. All of these events are narrated as if family disappearing is a matter of course, and maybe it was, for people who had lost everything, even their will to love one another, and who needed to move to wherever they could find sustenance and shelter. I listened to the book as narrated by Arlo Guthrie, and this added to my experience--the words on the page were extremely difficult to parse for me, given the dialect it is written in, and I never would have made my way through it except by listening to the audiobook.

  • Emily
    2019-04-28 02:49

    Woody Guthrie published two autobiographies that are wildly different. This is the better of the two. It's a very valuable piece of American folklore and reveals a lot about Guthrie's own philosophy. It's a folksyGrapes of Wrath . I think it is a very dear, wonderful, and important book. This is what Guthrie says about hearing "Worried Man Blues" in a Dust Bowl camp, "It was so clear and honest sounding, no Hollywood put-on, no fake wiggling...And, instead of getting you all riled up mentally, morally, or sexually-- no it done something a whole lot better, something that's harder to do, something you need ten times more. It cleared your head up, that's what it done, caused you to fall back and let your doggy bones rest and your muscles go limber like a cats." Guthrie then jumps out of a tree and joins in the chorus. If that level of corny-ness doesn't crack you up then this book is not for you.

  • Genesis Hansen
    2019-04-30 02:56

    I don't often read memoirs or biographies, but I was inspired to pick this up because of Guthrie's centennial birthday celebration. As a life history it's very incomplete, but as a series of vignettes that give you insight into Guthrie's formative years it's very effective. He certainly had the ability to paint a picture with his words! I was also impressed with how he maintained his compassion and a general sweetness of character in spite of (or perhaps because of?) a great deal of tragedy and hardship in his life. A very enjoyable departure from my typical reading.

  • Todd Wendover
    2019-04-30 00:43

    There's a reason Bound for Glory left more of an impression on Bob Dylan than even On The Road. It gives what may be the best portrait of America ever in literature.After pouring over the thousand songs that Guthrie wrote in his lifetime, Billy Bragg stated that he believes Guthrie is America's greatest poet, right up there with Whitman.Read this book and find out the true nature of America, or reestablish it.

  • nobody
    2019-04-29 20:54

    One of the few memoirs I've read and was pleasantly surprised. Found the book a delightful insight to the man. The fact that his writing was edited as little as possible made a nice change, I felt as if I was sat in an old bar with a good whiskey, listening to a reluctant legend. This book is probably a very good document to American social history too, without looking through the proverbial rose tinteds.

  • Kate
    2019-05-15 03:33

    I recommend every American and music lover to read this book. Woody Guthrie had a fantastic way of telling his life story, using the language with which he grew up hearing and speaking himself. Think uneducated southern dialect. I became so invested and interested in his stories that it bothered me to put the book down.

  • Brandon
    2019-05-16 22:44

    Guthrie's autobiography. I've wanted to read it for years just never got to it. Finally I did and I wasn't dissapointed. First non-fiction I'd read in a while so I had to prepare my mind for that. Great to ride on the trains, steal cars, and hitchick along with Guthrie.

  • Susan
    2019-04-19 21:42

    There are lies, damn lies and statistics. This book is the second one but I love a tall tale and it is an engaging story. I know this is supposed to be an autobiography but he seems to have liberally borrowed from the lives of others...and I am ok with that.