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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jumpin' and kickin' and swearin' of the American Imagination
Bound for Glory expresses the heart of a man, a life and a people. Told in true storteller fashion, one which twists and turns language into something alive and personal, Woodie Guthrie recounts his life, from Oklahoma to all around this great big old country. And by the books end, you feel you've rambled the whole way with him and seen what he had. This is an American...
Published on 10 Jun 1998

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jumpin' and kickin' and swearin' of the American Imagination, 10 Jun 1998
By A Customer
Bound for Glory expresses the heart of a man, a life and a people. Told in true storteller fashion, one which twists and turns language into something alive and personal, Woodie Guthrie recounts his life, from Oklahoma to all around this great big old country. And by the books end, you feel you've rambled the whole way with him and seen what he had. This is an American classic on par with the Autobiography of Mark Twain. No American history book or teacher or what have you can give you a tenth of what this book can---i.e., the ethos of the American people who suffered many trials and tribulations, depravations and hardship, and yet managed to still be beautiful. So forget your Beatnicks and your New England Transcendentialists, and pick up a book worthy of being called an example of the American Bardic Tradition. You most certainly won't be an inch disappointed.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book still beats on against the current. Truly the best, 27 Jun 2001
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Hardcover)
No matter whether you know of Guthrie and his musical legacy, whether you care that the young Bob Dylan read this book and it changed his life forever, or that you like American folk music at all. This autobiographical novel is one of the greatest American poems of all time, a Whitmanesque folk song that engulfs the glory of the human spirit embodied in Guthries journey from Okemah to New York. This book was made for you and me and it demands to be read. An epic of dustbowl, oilboom, freight train, cyclone, wanderings that takes Guthrie all the way to the big apple, haunted by the plethora of American dreams he's seen sprout flourish and die along the way, this book contains one of the most awe inspiring passages in all American literature. When Guthrie walks out the Rainbow Lounge in New York, unable to sell out on the show biz circuit, and wanders playing his guitar into the streets of New York, it'll bring just about anyone to tears of joy. A triumph of the human spirit, this book was made for you and me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American gem, 15 Jan 2004
By 
J. Kirkland "jennyk" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Hardcover)
This is a great book Woody Guthrie captures the heart of America & the south. A great read & a very gifted writer. Top marks & well worth the buy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd Like You To Read This., 18 Oct 2009
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
It takes a while for your ear to get accustomed to Woody's use of English but his vernacular lends authenticity to the story. There was certainly a goodly element of bad luck in the life of the young Guthrie
The events are described in such detail almost minute by minute, it's like he's got an amazing power of recall. I only heard of Bound For Glory from Bob Dylan's Autobiography but you don't need to know anything about folk music to appreciate this evocation of the dust bowl era of the 30's as Woody tells it like it is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than I expected, 28 Oct 2010
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read this purely because I was interested in Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie's influence on him. I was overwhelmed by the actual experience of reading it. Guthrie's prose is superb: exciting, funny, compelling - I was hooked from the first page and by the last I just wished he'd written more. A book to make you laugh out loud and cry.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of a Hero, 16 April 1999
By A Customer
I grew up with the music of Woody, sung to me by my father as lullabies, party songs, and Sunday-afternoon entertainment. If you appreciate the strong honest emotion of the songs, you will love this book, in which Gutherie recounts his earliest years which influenced the politics, poetry and drawing to come.
Essential reading for all Gutherie - and, of course, Dylan - lovers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great American story, 29 Jun 2011
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I have just finished reading this boo and cant recommend it highly enough. It is a story of Woody's upbringing in a family with his mother suffering from mental illness and the social injustice of 1920's and 30's America. The book also gives a great insight into the problems facing families and individuals in their tough search for work, where families have lost everything and have to travel in the hope of finding a job. It also shows the coming of the oil industry to rural America, where short term booms were replaced by squalid housing and the struggle to gain a secure job and virtually no generation in wealth from the local oil fields. The book also tackles racism, prejudice and gives a colourful view of the thousands of people that travelled in the same way as Woody in their search for a better life. Enjoy the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Our Book, 22 Mar 2008
This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
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'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Published when he was in his early thirties, Guthrie’s autobiography is a vivid portrait of one man’s life and the society and times in which he lived. Nearly half the book is taken up with Guthrie’s childhood in small-town Oklahoma, a Tom Sawyer-like tale of gangs and sling-shots, house fires, tornadoes and family misfortune. Guthrie grows up amidst the oil boom in Oklahoma and later Texas, but quits the Dust Bowl in the late 1930s and, hitching and riding boxcars, he journeys to the promised land of California (the strongest part of the book to my mind). Here he becomes part of the world of migrant labourers, people with next to nothing in a land of plenty, and performs his songs to scrape together enough for his next meal. Additional episodes see Guthrie in LA amidst an anti-Japanese riot, auditioning for a high-society gig in New York, and riding a freight train to Chicago.

The book recounts Guthrie’s experiences, told in an engaging, lyrical style, heavy with conversations in the vernacular language of those he meets along the way: bums and hobos, construction workers and fruit-pickers, cops and sailors. All of this makes gripping reading, but one is left unnerved by the silences, those aspects of Guthrie’s life at the time that remain unrecorded. Despite his involvement in left-wing circles, and the famous saying he sported on his guitar (‘this machine kills fascists’), there is no discussion of politics or the tumultuous economic times he is living through, that of the Depression and the era of the New Deal. Given that Guthrie’s fame largely rests on his music, it is also odd that this takes up little space in the book: musical influences, playing the guitar and song-writing are never discussed, and Guthrie’s life as a wandering troubadour only takes up the last sixth of the book. Equally strange is the treatment of family: while we get a clear picture of some family members, most of these just drop out of sight, and his first marriage and three children never get a mention. One is left with an incomplete picture of Guthrie’s early years, but one that nevertheless paints a vivid picture of a fascinating life and time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Woody's book, 26 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I loved the rough and tumble journey this book takes you on. The writing is artful and you're with Woody all the way, hitching rides on freight trains and starving in bad-towns, and surviving rock fights as a kid.
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Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics)
Bound for Glory (Penguin Modern Classics) by Woody Guthrie (Paperback - 24 Jun 2004)
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