Top critical review
Thorough but a bit too scholarly.
on 7 May 2015
This is a well-researched and thorough book. However, if you are expecting an in-depth biography of Mississippi John Hurt, with a focus on his music, then you are going to be disappointed. There is a huge amount of "background" information presented which tends to dominate large parts of the book. If you are into facts, figures and statistics and explanations of social, cultural and race issues then you'll be satisfied. A certain amount of this is necessary to set John's story in context but I feel that it goes a bit too far. I think that anyone wanting to buy this book will do so to find out about the man and his music. The latter part of the book is much more reader friendly in terms of learning about his music after his re-discovery in the 1960's but the earlier part of the book is a very "academic" read and will certainly put-off many readers. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the book and it was informative but it was hard work and I had to be disciplined to prevent myself from skipping pages of text to get to the sections dealing with John's music. Overall, I think this book is excellent but a bit too scholarly in it's approach.