Oscar Rickett

Songs of the Earth

Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads

By

Jonathan Cape 272pp £20 order from our bookshop

‘Property is theft’, declared Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1840. ‘This land is your land/This land is my land’, wrote Woody Guthrie one hundred years later. Guthrie’s song, stripped of some of its more worryingly communist-sounding verses, has since become a surrogate national anthem in America, unironically celebrated by the same people who think Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’ translates as ‘I was born in the greatest country on earth’. 

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