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A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears Hardcover – October 13, 2009


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Hardcover, October 13, 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568584075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568584072
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,404,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Johnny Western, musician and longtime emcee of The Johnny Cash Show
“Antonino D'Ambrosio has really done his homework like no one ever before. I performed with Cash for 40 years and have read every book written about him yet D'Ambrosio astonishingly reveals another side of Cash framed around perhaps his most important work, Bitter Tears. A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a rare and extraordinary work thanks to D'Ambrosio's exceptional and masterful storytelling. This book must be read, not just by Cash fans, but everyone who loves music and believes in its power and spirit. D’Ambrosio’s work, like Cash himself, is highly original and a force to be reckoned with.

Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker
“This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices. It has since been locked away in the ‘denial drawer’ (aren't First Nations people just an extinct species, systematically exterminated by European ‘progress’?), but D'Ambrosio admirably shines his investigative lantern into every darkened corner, finally offering some greatly appreciated illumination.”

Howard Zinn
"Antonino D'Ambrosio's book on the making of Johnny Cash's album "Bitter Tears" is much more than the story behind those extraordinary songs. It is a rich history, not only of Johnny Cash's life, but of the Indian struggle for justice, which inspired Peter La Farge to write the song ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’ and Cash to sing it. The book is full of fascinating character sketches of the great folk singers of the Sixties, and their part in the social movements of that exciting era. I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time."

About the Author

Antonino D'Ambrosio is the author of Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Politics of Joe Strummer; the film version directed by D'Ambrosio will be released in 2010. His most recent film is No Free Lunch, starring comedian Lewis Black. His writing appears in The Progressive, The Believer, The Nation, among many others. D’Ambrosio is the founder/executive director of La Lutta NMC. D’Ambrosio is currently the artist-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, NM where he launched the multimedia film project La Terra Promessa.

More About the Author

Antonino D'Ambrosio is the author Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Politics of Joe Strummer; the film version directed by D'Ambrosio will be released in 2010. His most recent film is No Free Lunch, starring comedian Lewis Black. His writing appears in The Progressive, The Believer, The Nation, among many others. D'Ambrosio is the founder/executive director of La Lutta NMC. His website is http://www.lalutta.org/. D'Ambrosio is currently the artist-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, NM where he launched the multimedia film project La Terra Promessa.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Cohen on October 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Antonino D'Ambrosio's A HEARTBEAT AND A GUITAR is a fascinating, complex story, ostensibly about Johnny Cash's BITTER TEARS album, but in fact it covers so much more. Indeed, it is a dual biographyof the famous, Cash, and the basically unknown, Peter LaFarge, an advocate for Native American rights while composing a number of riveting songs. D'Ambrosio weaves together many fascinating strands, including the stories of various performers, the politics of the 1950s and after, Native American protest history, American foreign policy, and so much more. The author demonstrates that analyzing the songs of one album can lead to so much understanding of cultural, musical, and political history. The discussions of Native American music and protest movements are particuarly refreshing, with the intriguing and complex LaFarge remaining as the story's centerpiece. Must reading for all music lovers, as well as political activists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By w j abramson on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is the most interesting and inspiring book i have read in 5 years. Johnny Cash's road is followed in -sometimes alarming- detail. This book is not just a vivid history of Johnny Cash, but also explores the histories of the ameridan indian movement, government expoloitation, political manipulatons,and the rise of the folk-music revolution. It includes fascinating biographies of significant players such as Peter LaFarge, and the impact of Johnny Western and Pete Seeger.
The entire story is told as the background of Cash's determination to make a record celebrating the music and plight of the American Indian, despite the strong resistance of the record label.
An indication of my appreciation of this book is the fact that i have already purchased 6 or 7 copies to give to fellow 'folkies', historians, and fans of Johnny Cash. The incredibly low price on amazon is almost painful, as this book deserves to be bought and read by all fans of music and american history. Buy it and share it!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Hytten on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this book is titled with Johnny Cash's name there is really very little about him. It does tell a lot about the 1960's folk scene with background on a number of different artists . All in all an interesting read if you are a fan of folk music.
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By gloria brewster on October 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
fascinating and intertwined history of making of a classic album. Recommend to history and folk and classic country music fans.
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By Jorunn on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting book on an album made by a great artist.It has interesting info about Ira Hayes,the Native American who was one of soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima.I enjoyed reading about a special time in American history (it gives a good insight into it)and about an important album that I actually have.
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