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In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Timothy Egan

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong - Terry Teachout A thorough examination of the life of a music legend and American cultural icon. This is the story of how one man overcame an enormous amount of personal challenges and societal obstacles, to become who he was meant to be: one of the most original, inspiring entertainers of a generation.A music history education in one life, Louis Armstrong defined a new style of music in his own likeness. By sticking to what he enjoyed doing most, playing and singing music from the core of who he was, he set a standard that inspired innumerable musicians and listeners alike.There were many critics along the way during Armstrong's decades' long career. In the end, however, there is no other jazz musician who has achieved the level of admiration and respect for his dedication to his craft. Equally, no other musician has ever left behind a collection of letters, recordings, and documents detailing life in the recording studio, on the road, in the movies, and on TV, as he.Author Terry Teachout says in the afterword, " . . . this is surprisingly, the first fully sourced biography of Armstrong to be written by an author who is also a trained musician." It is a narrative biography, not scholarly, but interpretive of a life well documented by academic scholars. Additionally, Teachout had access to a wealth of archival material previously unavailable to biographers.Poet Philip Larkin said of Armstrong, "It is already accepted -- or if it isn't, it soon will be -- that Louis Armstrong was an enormously important cultural figure in our century, more important than Picasso in my opinion, but certainly quite comparable," and further, "an artist of Flaubertian purity, and a character of exceptional warmth and goodness."For music lovers, those interested in American culture and general entertainment, Teachout's biography of Louis Armstrong will be the standard bearer for years to come.