Bound for Glory, Paperback
5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


"Bound for Glory" is the autobiography of Woody Guthrie, the founder of modern American folk music.

It is a funny, cynical, earthy and tragic account of his life in an Oklahoma oil-boom town, of the Depression that followed, and of his subsequent travels in, on, and under trains, in stolen cars and on his feet, round an America going rotten from the top downwards.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Folk & traditional music
  • ISBN: 9780141187228



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

What a book! A folk legend tells all. Amazing.

Review by

In Bound for Glory Woody Guthrie, 'the father of American folk music', writes about the first thirty-odd years of his life. Born in 1912 he grew up in an Oklahoman oil town, a place of opportunity but also grinding poverty. He had a happy childhood despite the death of his sister and his mother's increasing mental ill-health. In his late teens he started to ride the box cars across American with hundreds of other men (he never mentions women using the trains) searching for work in one new place after another. This nomadic lifestyle, although sharpened by the Great Depression, suits Guthrie. When he has the chance to stay in a relative's grand house or try out for a show biz job, he jumps on the first train out of town to escape the shackles those opportunities would entail.Despite Guthrie writing about his own life, this book is, at heart, a biography of the American working class and under-classes at a time of economic and social desperation. Its obvious that he had a great love for the people he met and travelled with. His sense of equality and justice, to be found in so much of his music, comes through clearly.He also has a great way with words. There is a great passage in which he describes how, as a child, he watched bacteria through a microscope. He compares them to two men squaring up for a fight, in wonderful detail.

Review by

This is one of those books you almost don't want to review for fear of not being able to do it justice. I really have to say that this is now in my top 5 favourite books ever. It is strangely powerful and beautiful in a way only Guthrie could be expected to accomplish. The story is all at once heart-breaking, earthy and elegant. I genuinely cannot recommend it enough. I know it will not be long before I'm pouring over this one again!

Also by Woody Guthrie   |  View all

Also in the Penguin Modern Classics series   |  View all