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Download Guitar: An American Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Guitar: An American Life, by Tim Brookes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (100 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tim Brookes Narrator: Tim Brookes Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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How did a small, humble folk instrument become an American icon? How did the guitar come to represent freedom, the open road, protest and rebellion, the blues, youth, lost love, and sexuality? In this intensely personal memoir and informative history, Tim Brookes recounts his quest to build the perfect guitar. Pairing up with a master artisan from the Green Mountains of Vermont, Brookes sees how a rare piece of cherry wood is hued, sawn, dovetailed, and worked with rasps and files. As his prized instrument takes shape, he narrates the long and winding history of the guitar in the United States. Arriving with conquistadors and the colonists, the guitar has found itself in an extraordinary variety of hands: miners and society ladies, lumberjacks and presidents’ wives. In time, the guitar became America’s vehicle of self-expression—its modern soundtrack.

Guitar is a rare glimpse of one man’s search for music. It is sure to resonate with musicians and non-musicians alike.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Tim Brookes has written a book that combines memoir and history in a most engaging manner…The heart and soul of the book is Brookes’ love of music and the instruments that make it.”


  • “[Brookes] contrasts the story of a guitar being built from a few simple (yet carefully chosen) pieces of cherry wood with alternating chapters on the history of the instrument...readers share in his joy as well as in the feeling of continuing a long tradition of music history.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Brookes is the perfect reader for his own material—passionate, knowledgeable, and funny…Brookes has a musician’s ear for storytelling, a dry sense of humor, and some terrific turns of phrase.”


  • “[Brookes has] a storyteller’s—and a guitarist’s—sense of pitch and timing…An intelligent work with the quality of a sonorous voice drifting from the radio.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ahbritton | 12/11/2013

    " An interesting description of the history of the guitar in the United States, along with some insights in the journey of a guitar's construction. Somewhat baby-boomer-centric, and over simplifies a couple of small points but all-in-all I found it informative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Spook Harrison | 6/20/2013

    " Informative and insightful, a well illustrated (literally and figuratively) history/biography of the guitar, I really enjoyed this book. Folks who think that learning while being entertained is just fine by them will also adore this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Andrea | 6/18/2013

    " Well-written history of the instrument that includes lots of anecdotes and arcane information, but also a look at the guitar's place in American music and social history. Fun and a good gift for a music lover "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dave | 1/29/2013

    " This romantic look at guitar building and playing will make you want to learn how to play and move to rural Vermont. "

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About the Author

Tim Brookes, a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s Sunday Weekend Edition, has also had his work appear in National Geographic, Outside, American History, and Vintage Guitar.