“Brookes takes us on a riveting autobiographical odyssey through a charged, emotional world atremble with soulful yearnings, suspense and evolving American musical styles. . . . Makes you want to grab a guitar and crank out a few bars of the Stones’ “Satisfaction”. . . . His loving blend of lore and craft makes this book a must for guitarists.” Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
An American Life
978-0-8021-4258-0 • $17.00 • Paperback • Sep. 2006
“Part history, part love song, Guitar strikes just the right chords.” Andrew Abrahams, People
How did a small, humble folk instrument become an American icon? How did the guitar come to represent freedom, the open road, protest and rebellion, the blues, youth, lost love, and sexuality?
In this intensely personal memoir and informative history, National Public Radio commentator and essayist Tim Brookes recounts his quest to build the perfect guitar. Pairing up with a master artisan from the Green Mountains of Vermont, Brookes sees how a rare piece of cherry wood is hued, dovetailed, and worked on with saws, rasps, and files.
Brookes narrates the long and winding history of the guitar in the United States. Arriving with conquistadors and the colonists, the guitar has found itself in an extraordinary variety of hands: miners and society ladies, lumberjacks and presidents’ wives. Nearly every immigrant group has appropriated the guitar to tell their individual story. In time, the guitar became America’s vehicle of selfexpression, its modern soundtrack.
Guitar is a rare glimpse of one man’s search for music and has been hailed as a “love letter to the guitar, from a guitar-lover extraordinaire” (David Spelman, founder and director of the New York Guitar Festival). It is sure to resonate with musicians and nonmusicians alike.