Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226923000 Published September 2019
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780226922997 Published September 2019
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226923017 Published September 2019 Also Available From
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I’d Fight the World

A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music

Peter La Chapelle

I’d Fight the World

Peter La Chapelle

336 pages | 20 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226923000 Published September 2019
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780226922997 Published September 2019
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226923017 Published September 2019
Long before the United States had presidents from the world of movies and reality TV, we had scores of politicians with connections to country music. In I’d Fight the World, Peter La Chapelle traces the deep bonds between country music and politics, from the nineteenth-century rise of fiddler-politicians to more recent figures like Pappy O’Daniel, Roy Acuff, and Rob Quist. These performers and politicians both rode and resisted cultural waves: some advocated for the poor and dispossessed, and others voiced religious and racial anger, but they all walked the line between exploiting their celebrity and righteously taking on the world. La Chapelle vividly shows how country music campaigners have profoundly influenced the American political landscape.
Contents
Introduction: The Ghost of Tom Watson

Part I: Fire on the Mountain: The Initial Surge of Old-Time and Hillbilly Music Campaigns

Chapter 1: “Like Orpheus”: The Nineteenth Century Encounters the Twentieth
Chapter 2: Antisemitism and Henry Ford’s Old-Time Music Revival
Chapter 3: Sound Trucks and Radio Stars: The Arrival of the Nonperformers
Chapter 4: Pensions and Poll Taxes: Identifying a Style of Hillbilly Music Politics
Chapter 5: Utopian Buckaroo: Senator Glen Taylor and Country Music’s Left Tradition

Part II: Dixie-Bent and White House–Bound: Regional Culture, National Aspirations

Chapter 6: A Fiery but Fickle Faith: The Vanderbilt Agrarians, Southern Politics, and the Country Music Memoir
Chapter 7: The Nonperformers Take Over: Big Jim, the Little Judge, and the Nationalization of Country Music Politics
Chapter 8: Still Not Ready to Make Nice: The Legacies of the Country Music Campaign
 
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Review Quotes
Harry Reid, former Senate majority leader
I’d Fight the World provides unique insights into the iconic, American-made musical genres of old-time, hillbilly, and country and western. La Chapelle’s book is educational, interesting, and very easy to read. I recommend it without question.”
Kinky Friedman, independent gubernatorial candidate and author of Heroes of a Texas Childhood
“In I’d Fight the World, La Chapelle explores the turbulent and tawdry connections between country music and politics. Country music, at its best, can be described as the music of the people. My definition of ‘politics’ never changes: poli- means more than one and tics are bloodsucking parasites. La Chapelle takes us on a lively ride through it all.”
Library Journal
“Lively and informative. . . This book will surprise those who have preconceived notions about country music and Southern politicians, and their longstanding connection.”
Times Literary Supplement
“A deeply researched examination of the ways that country and old-time music have been coopted into political life. . . La Chapelle traces the not especially healthy relationship between country music and populism . . . La Chapelle’s exhaustive examination of his subject uncovers many untold stories and raises interesting questions about whether country music has yet truly reckoned with its political past.”
Jocelyn Neal, author of Country Music: A Cultural and Stylistic History
“Thoroughly researched and insightful, I’d Fight the World exposes the political themes embedded in country music of all stripes, as well as the sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, always shrewd employment of this music by politicians. La Chapelle reveals a political legacy in country music that today’s audiences have an obligation to confront.”
David Gilbert, author of The Product of Our Souls
“In this well-written and expansive book, La Chapelle narrates a national history of politics and country music, from nineteenth-century populism to post–World War II conservatism. I’d Fight the World demonstrates how both political and cultural history can shine light upon each other, creating a rich tapestry of scholarship.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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