Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel--a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world.
Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. The husband and wife live in a precarious wooden farm shack, but Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a five-cent government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself--fireproof, windproof, Dust Bowl-proof. A house of earth.
Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Due to larger forces beyond their control--including ranching conglomerates and banks--their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.
A story of rural realism and progressive activism, and in many ways a companion piece to Guthrie's folk anthem "This Land Is Your Land," House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape. Combining the moral urgency and narrative drive of John Steinbeck with the erotic frankness of D. H. Lawrence, here is a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.
|Publish Date:||Feb 2013|
|Number of Pages:||234|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||1.12|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||6.25 x 9.5 x 1.25|
Douglas Brinkley was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 14, 1960. He received a B.A. from Ohio State University in 1982 and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 1989. He was a professor at Tulane University, Princeton University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Hofstra University, and the University of New Orleans. In 2007, he became a professor at Rice University and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. He is a commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair.
His first book, Jean Monnet: The Path to European Unity, was published in 1992. His other works include Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House, Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress, The Boys of Pointe Cu Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, and Cronkite.
He also wrote three books with historian Stephen E. Ambrose: The Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938, Witness to History, and The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: From the Louisiana Purchase to Today. He has won several awards including the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize for Driven Patriot and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Guthrie (1912-67), America's iconic folksinger, completed a novel in 1947 that languished on a Hollywood shelf for decades, now published for the first time. Edited and introduced by its editors, historian Douglas Brinkley and actor Johnny Depp, this is a paean to Dust bowl farmers and the concept of adobe-brick house building. Incantatory in style, the novel is filled with dialog between husband and wife Tike and Ella May Hamlin as they struggle to make a go of tenant farming in the Texas Panhandle.
Tike dreams of buying some acreage and building an adobe house. The wooden shack they live in is under constant invasion from dust and termites. Though the couple lack for money, their love is strong, and their lovemaking frequent, depicted with earthy gusto. When Ella May gets pregnant, their need to create a better life becomes paramount.
Verdict: Almost more a prose poem than a novel, this is an impassioned tirade against agribusiness and capitalism. Much like Guthrie's songs, the novel presents many concerns of the Everyman. Although some may see this as a literary artifact, readers who appreciate John Steinbeck and Erskine Caldwell, as well as fans of Guthrie's music, will want to reach for this folksy novel.
[This is the inaugural title in Depp's Infinitum Nihil imprint.-Ed.] - Keddy Ann Outlaw, Houston, TX
(c). Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Featuring the song, "House of Earth" performed by Lucinda Williams.
Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel, a powerful portrait of dust bowl America. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world.
Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. Living in a wooden shack, Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. He has the know-how to build a structure made from the land itself—a house of earth. Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Thanks to larger forces, their adobe house remains painfully out of reach. House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape, a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.
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