A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears (Hardcover)

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The untold story of the making of Johnny Cash’s most controversial album, Bitter Tears

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.

Praise For…

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."

Product Details
ISBN: 9781568584072
Publisher: Nation Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2009
Pages: 296