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This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and  Songs of Woody Guthrie
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This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Before Springsteen and before Dylan, there was Woody Guthrie. With "This Machine Kills Fascists," scrawled across his guitar in big black letters, Woody Guthrie brilliantly captured in song the experience of twentieth-century America. Whether he sang about union organizers, migrant workers, or war, Woody took his inspiration from the plight of the people around him as well ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by Viking Juvenile (first published January 28th 2002)
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Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: THIS LAND WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME: THE LIFE AND SONGS OF WOODY GUTHRIE by Elizabeth Partridge, Viking, 2002, 224p., ISBN: 978-0-670-03535-9

“Jesus Christ was a man that traveled through the land
A hard-working man and brave
He said to the rich ‘Give your goods to the poor.’
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.”
-- Woody Guthrie

“After more than a year in Los Angeles, the freedom of being on the road again was incredible. But when Woody stopped over in a squalid migrant camp, his lig
...more
Ms. Knapp
May 29, 2014 Ms. Knapp added it
Shelves: booklist
Before Springsteen and before Dylan, there was Woody Guthrie. With "This Machine Kills Fascists," scrawled across his guitar in big black letters, Woody Guthrie brilliantly captured in song the experience of twentieth-century America. Whether he sang about union organizers, migrant workers, or war, Woody took his inspiration from the plight of the people around him as well as from his own tragic childhood.

From the late 1920s to the 1950s, Guthrie wrote the words to more than three thousand songs
...more
Jess
Took me forever to read. Well written and all the jazz, but super depressing. Dude had a tough life from start to finish. Fires plagued him. Add to that the fact that he was a total junk husband and uninvolved father and hard to take friend, and you just feed bad for the situation. Oh, and eff you Huntington's.

But, man, I don't know that you can be on a side opposite Woody Guthrie.

He was a poet. He wrote more learnable, singable, folk songs than anybody else. He despised racism, intolerance, a
...more
Lisa
Recommended for anyone who has ever sung KumBaYah around the campfire... Found this one in the children's section while browsing the shelves during my kids' storytime at the library. I grew up listening to folk music and found this account of Woody Guthrie's life to be fascinating. Hey, Pete Seeger recommeded it so I just had to check it out. The chapters are divided up into time periods in Woody's life and it is full of historic photographs, Woody's drawings, and a copy of the original words fo ...more
Erin
This Land Was Made for You and Me tells the story of the short, but very memorable life of the great American folksinger Woody Guthrie. From Guthrie’s hard and troubled childhood, his years crisscrossing the country, his up and down relationships with family, friends, and his children, and his denial and struggles with the terrible disease that plagued his mother, Woody wrote more than three thousand songs based on his experiences. Through listening to old interview tapes of Woody’s friends and ...more
Mary
I knew next to nothing about Woody Guthrie before I picked up this book. Wow, what a life!So many tragedies packed into one life. He is a national treasure and I wish I had been taught about him in school. I don't want to give things away if you don't know about his life, but I strongly recommend reading a biography of his life. He was so gifted and such a strong voice for the down and out. One thing I didn't know was that he was the writer of the song Deportees. And that he wrote it because the ...more
Laura
"Wherever little children are hungry and cry, Wherever people ain't free, Wherever men are fightin' for their rights, That's where I'm a-gonna be, Ma, That's where I'm a-gonna be."

Truthful biography of troubadour Woody Guthrie, from his childhood in Okemah, Oklahoma to his institutionalization for Huntington's Disease in his 40s. I read Woody's autobiography Bound For Glory last summer, and was left wondering about specific details of his life-- he didn't mention being married, having kids, and
...more
Josephine
I just finished Elizabeth Patridge's biography of Woody Guthrie: This Land Was Made for You and Me. The book is geared for kids ages 12 and up, but there is enough detail and depth there to hold the attention of any adult interested in Woody Guthrie's music. Pete Seeger calls it "The best book about Woody ever written!"

In my "Stories behind the Songs" post about This Land Is Your Land, I wrote that Woody wrote over 1400 songs in his lifetime. Elizabeth Patridge says the number is over 3000, whic
...more
Denise Elerick
If you like to read biographies about substantive characters in this world , do read this book. He was of course a very talented artist and songwriter. He was somehow able to hone his craft in the of the dust bowl era of fortunes found and lost, poverty , alcohol abuse, neglect , mental illness and the cloak of a horrendous hereditary disease. Such eloquent and heart felt lyrics in the face of adversity . He was true patriot and lover of humanity particularly those without a voice and a man not ...more
Carm
This book kicks butt. It's a nonfiction book aimed at juvenile readers. I guess. It was in that section of the library and yet I believe it's appealing to any age. Full of pictures and easy to read text the book informs about the life and times of Woody Guthrie and it doesn't hold back in sharing the dark side of the man either. I find Guthrie to be a fascinating man who left a big mark on our country. He was a tortured soul, remarkable and gifted, a bit of a bastard to his family, and a real ra ...more
Susan
When I picked up this book, I thought I was more interested in the "songs" part than the "life" part. In fact, none of Woody's songs are printed in their entirety, only snippets. But that's ok, because the biography is terrific. I had a rather vague impression of the man, mostly from the kinds of songs he sang. But the author has done an amazing amount of research and makes the reader feel like she really knows Woody, from his early life on. The pathos and heroism of his life, in spite of his so ...more
Amy Carr
I really enjoy the biographies written by this author. They are very well-researched and written. But I am a little perplexed by the people she chooses to write about. The books are definitely written for a young adult audience (NOT children) but even then, there are situations, language, experiences, etc. that I don't know I'd even encourage my young adult to read about. This book had a mother that burned down the family house and set her daughter on fire, a man who abandons his wife and childr ...more
Amar Pai


Fascinating look back to the time of the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, WWII, anti-Communist fervor, folk singers actually mattering. Guthrie's life was tragic in the extreme. Mythic, too, though. Really interesting character.

Still can't get into the music though. The revolutionary mantle passed to rap.
Zoe
It's surprising that I found this biography of Woody Guthrie in the children's section of the library. It's definitely for teens and older, and I will talk to the librarians. I had no idea that Guthrie's life had so much inexplicable tragedy, much of it linked to Huntington's disease, nor that he was a sort of poetic genius. I'm going to look up more of his song lyrics, and his autobiography.
Adriel
Such a sad, troubled life Woody Guthrie had. despite this his songs are full of hope, beauty and the demand that we strive for something better. This biography written for youth 12 and up is written simply without being patronizing. It does not shy away from the harsh tragedies in Woody's life, but tries to create an honest story to bring some understanding of this remarkable folk hero.
Sarah Apgar
I really enjoyed this biography. Woody Guthrie had a very tough, and disappointing life, and he obviously faced many different challenges in it. This biography gave a good insight into his life, and included many interesting photographs and drawings of Woody. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the folk music genre, or just Woody Guthrie in general.
Andrew
Enjoyed it. One thing I learned is that at least I'm a better husband and father than Guthrie. Talk about a man with a ramblin' mind. I'm taking my daughter to a music class at a place called "Hootenanny House," that term started with Guthrie, the Almanacs and all that. It's sad seeing somebody slowly lose control of themselves, in his case through Huntington's disease.
Patricia
When i started reading this book i thought it was going to be really boring but it wasnt. During his life Woodie Gurthrie had terrible he things happen to him and his family but he never gave up. he never had a real job he just traveled around the country playing music. Woodie Gurthries life story was really inspirational, and i want to learn more about him.
Jane
What a tragic story. This well constructed and informative biography of Woody Guthrie does a few things: tells of Guthrie's life, teaches of depression era/labor issues through his work and songs, and educates about complications involved with Huntington's Disease. All of those sound like total downers but it's an engaging and interesting story!
TeacherMrLoria
While not the most advanced literary work of the century, it is a very good biography of Woody Gutherie. He is an amazing, complex, and often misunderstood figure whose music was very influential. Furthermore, he lived a life worth studying, as he looked out for others, questioned everything, and kept his chin up in the face of extreme adversary.
Barb
Wow! What a hard childhood Woody had and to learn that he was plagued with Huntington's disease. Could it be that mental illness can result in the most creative innovative artists? This is listed as a Young Adult book, but is good reading for both young, and not so young, adults.
Dani
Dec 25, 2007 Dani rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: music fans
This is an amazing biography. I keep returning to it - the writing is so powerful and I felt so close to Woody Guthrie while I read it.

I cried like Britney on Diane Sawyer, this was so good.
Debbie Hoskins
Wonderful work of art. Woody Guthrie is another creative, flawed artist that makes for fascinating reading. Elizabeth writes well and finds pictures that are perfect to explain her story.
Savannah
After crying over this book, I went out and bought a copy of Woody's autobiography and a couple of his albums. Have been listening to them ever since, if that tells you anything.
Joe
Aug 12, 2007 Joe rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Musicians, Travelers, Biography Junkies
This is not a kids book. A lot of tought things happened in Woody's life, and I wouldn't let a child read it without the guidance of an adult. Very interesting and insightful.
marie
A well-written, fascinating book about a fascinating man - though I think it was much more about the life than about the songs.
Kelly
3.5

What I liked most was that Partridge didn't shy away from writing Guthrie as a jerk because he kind of was a jerk.

Kari
A fantastic telling of the life of Woody Guthrie; his struggles, mistakes, tragedies, and successes. Hard to put down.
Cicely
Woody Guthrie's life story here is so compelling! The graphics and layout of the book is very attractive.
Julie
good bio for older reluctant/lower level readers. Detailed and accurate but not tabloid-y.
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