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Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man Paperback – September 7, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425240053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425240052
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jane Fossgreen on July 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Martins account of his experience at San Quentin lets the reader see, smell and feel the painful living nightmare of the prisoners' existence. Young gang bangers that aspire to set their futures in San Quentin will learn from this book that there is no honor or glory to be had: only oppression and degradation. Mr. Martins perspective is intelligent, yet emotional, and lets the reader into a world few ever imagine. This is a MUST READ!
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Format: Paperback
Martin's insight into the life of inmates at San Quentin as seen through the eyes of a music teacher will keep you up at night. The language is raw, but the message is clear. This is a wake-up call and a must-read for all teenagers, especially those who may glorify the life of a gang.
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Format: Paperback
Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man is an interesting look at life inside San Quentin State Prison by author Buzzy Martin, who spent many, many hours inside the walls of the institution, trying to change lives through music. This work is honest and may help educate the reader regarding the reality of the danger and dispair inside San Quentin. This book is an "easy read" containing important insights.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that will appeal to everyone - anyone that's been touched by music, anyone that's been involved with the system, anyone that has in interest in societal concerns, and anyone who simply enjoys reading a book that you can't put down. Buzzy chronicles his experiences teaching music to inmates of San Quentin prison, and it's as harrowing as you can imagine - maybe more so. In blunt, plainspoken prose, he offers an outsider's insight into the violent madness of prison culture, and the pressures that drive offenders to find comfort in it. There is no escaping the darkness of the details, but he also illuminates the power of music to transcend even the most horrific of environments. Some of the most moving moments occur as the inmates, for a moment, can regain a semblance of humanity by playing guitar and singing for an hour or two. This account is driven, tense, and emotional. He offers no apologies for the inmates or their actions, but does shine a light on the need to seriously re-think our current penal system, and the road to it. And underscoring it all is the power of music to lift, move, humanize, and heal. As levees fail and the arts are increasingly removed from our public school systems, administrators (and voting taxpayers) would do well to read Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man and consider the long-range impact of their decisions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was AMAZING!!! It is a true story about a musician that volunteers at San Quentin Prison and journals many of the things that he observed. Buzzy Martin is a writer that conveys very clearly the things that he experienced in a very fairly unsafe environment. It is my understanding that there is going to be a movie made from this book. I will look forward to seeing how well they did at recreating it.
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Format: Paperback
Having worked in the legal system on various levels for over 18 years, including criminal defense and related juvenile matters, many books trying to capture what Buzzy has done have come and gone. Having been a musician at various levels for even longer, this book, while it should be required reading for juveniles (especailly at-risk juveniles) and juvenile system workers alike, this book is for EVERYONE. As Buzzy is recounting his 3 1/2 stint teaching music to the incarcerated at the famed San Quentin Prison, his style is almost conversational, as if you're sitting next to him in his truck during the jaunts to and from 'the Q'. While the details of the sounds, images and smells of San Quentin in this book are vivid, they are not overhyped and they cut straight to the point. Of the many points a reader should take home is that of many of our juveniles thinking prison is a 'rite of passage', where some cannot wait to become a part. Harrowing, at the very least...

This book is also another great example of the powers of music at its finest. It would appear that it DOES sooth the savage beast...

As I've already said, this book should be required reading for those in the juvenile system and the legal system generally. Many work in it or represent people possibly doomed to the prison system without really knowing what might lie ahead for their clients. This is quite the primer. (I'd also recommend searching YouTube for Buzzy's speeches to lawyers and judges as well.)

I am somewhat troubled by some of the commentary of Buzzy as a 'failed' or 'wannabe' musician; notwithstanding the fact that the man can play, if he's touching the lives of juveniles in a positive manner, he has succeeded far more than most, if not all, that have ever strapped on a guitar and made a joyful noise...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I just finished reading your book "Don't Shoot I'm the Guitar Man". Very insperational. I think every teenager or adolescent should read your book. It's short and down to the point. We were required to read your book per our Sargeant for an upcoming class that I am taking "CORE" Corrections Officers Recruitment Enforcement , in other words Corrections Academy. I wish and would like the other Officers to know how serious our jobs are. We watch the sick inmates that come to hospitals here in San Diego. I wish the Officers would get a grip on how serious watching these inmates really is........I had an older and wiser friend of mine about 10 years ago say something to me that has forever been encrusted in my soul she said. "anyone who can play an instrument is a gift from god". I do believe it, not everyone can play an instrument. Thank God, I got my daughter into playing the flute,my son.......no go. Again, you have touched my soul by your book.....it really takes a lot of guts to have been at the "Q" for over three years... God Bless you in all of your endevores........Lori
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