In this tour de force of storytelling, Daniel Wolff braids together three disparate strands-Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and a labor strike in northern Michigan-to create a devastating revisionist history of twentieth-century America.
At thirteen, when he first heard Dylan's “Like a Rolling Stone,” Wolff recognized the sound of grown-up anger. When he later discovered “Song for Woody,” Dylan's tribute to Guthrie, Wolff fixed on it as a clue to a distinctive mix of rage and compassion. That clue led back to Guthrie's “1913 Massacre”-a memorial song about the horrific conclusion to a union Christmas party in Calumet, Michigan.
Following the trail from Dylan to Guthrie to a tragedy that claimed seventy-four lives, Wolff found himself tracing a century-long history of anger. From America's early industrialized days up to the present, the battle over economic justice keeps resurfacing: on a freight car in California, on a joyride through New Orleans, in a snowy field in Michigan. At the stunning conclusion-as the mysteries of Dylan, Guthrie, and the 1913 tragedy connect-the reader discovers a larger story, purposely distorted and buried in time.
Daniel Wolf's Grown-Up Anger chronicles the struggles between the haves and the have-nots, the battle to organize American workers, and the way two musicians used their fury to illuminate injustice and spark hope.
"A masterful tale of music, social, and economic history.... Wolff's elegantly intertwined historical drama is consistently revelatory. A dazzling, richly researched story impeccably told." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"In this book-so soberly inflamed that the pages seem to turn of their own accord-the history of the American twentieth century is made of lodestars that don't figure in conventional accounts... It is at precisely this moment that its story will be most fully heard." -- Greil Marcus
"In Grown-Up Anger, Daniel Wolff assembles an American triad to raise the ghosts of greed and misery. Through memory, music, and a clear insight into the emotional process of protest, Wolff reminds us of how it did, and how it does, ultimately feel." -- Patti Smith
"The path leading from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan has been well traveled, but Daniel Wolff has gone off-road and forged bold new connections between the two cultural titans... The result is an imaginative tour de force that sheds new light on...the heartbreaking history that created them both." -- Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor, Rolling Stone
"No matter how much you think you know about Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, you're wrong... This is the best sense anyone has ever made about the connection between them, and the best reappraisal either has had in a couple of decades." -- Dave Marsh
"...Wolff provides a primer on the complicated history of anger, political and personal, in American music, one that's never been more needed than it is today. There aren't many cultural histories that read like they've been written for activists and fans. Grown-Up Anger moves to the head of that list." -- Craig Werner, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Afro-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of A Change Is Gonna Come
"...an exciting romp across labor union history through the lens of American music. Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie's protest and solidarity songs represent the disaffection of those marginalized by industrialization, war, and later globalization. If you're not sure why we need unions... consider Daniel Wolff's Grown-Up Anger a must read." -- Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, local 1 of the American Federation of Teachers
"...Wolff provides a primer on the complicated history of anger, political and personal, in American music, one that's never been more needed than it is today. There aren't many cultural histories that read like they've been written for activists and fans. Grown-Up Anger moves to the head of that list." -- Timothy B. Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmett Till