House of Earth
Publication Date: February 2013
List Price: $25.99*
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Finished in 1947 and lost to readers until now, House of Earth is Woody Guthrie's only fully realized novel--a powerful portrait of Dust Bowl America, filled with the homespun lyricism and authenticity that have made his songs a part of our national consciousness. It is the story of an ordinary couple's dreams of a better life and their search for love and meaning in a corrupt world.
Tike and Ella May Hamlin struggle to plant roots in the arid land of the Texas Panhandle. The husband and wife live in a precarious wooden farm shack, but Tike yearns for a sturdy house that will protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a five-cent government pamphlet, Tike has the know-how to build a simple adobe dwelling, a structure made from the land itself--fireproof, windproof, Dust Bowl-proof. A house of earth.
Though they are one with the farm and with each other, the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs. Due to larger forces beyond their control--including ranching conglomerates and banks--their adobe house remains painfully out of reach.
A story of rural realism and progressive activism, and in many ways a companion piece to Guthrie's folk anthem "This Land Is Your Land," House of Earth is a searing portrait of hardship and hope set against a ravaged landscape. Combining the moral urgency and narrative drive of John Steinbeck with the erotic frankness of D. H. Lawrence, here is a powerful tale of America from one of our greatest artists.
Douglas Brinkley is currently a Professor of History at Rice University and a Fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy. He has published several New York Times bestselling titles: The Wilderness Warrior (2009), The Reagan Diaries (2007), The Great Deluge (2006), The Boys of Pointe du Hoc (2005), Tour of Duty (2004), and Voices of Valor (2004, with Ronald J. Drez). The Great Deluge, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Dr. Brinkley has also taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, Princeton University, Tulane University (where he was also Director of the Roosevelt Center), and other institutions across the country. He is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and American Heritage, as well as a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Atlantic. He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas.