It was released in bookstores “House of earth”, a novel written by Woody Guthrie in 1947 but remained unpublished until now. His most famous story is “This land is your land” – which is also the title of his best-known song – in which converge autobiography and fiction. It was released in the U.S. in 1943 and was written by Guthrie at the suggestion of Alan Lomax, after the recording sessions which saw them engaged in Washington in March of 1940. These are cataloged in the archives of the Library of Congress as the first recordings of the musician of Okemah, which include many traditional songs, three of the most well-known Guthrie songs (“So Long It’s Been Good To Know You”, “Talking Dust Bowl Blues” and “Do-Re- Me”) and a few conversations with Lomax about childhood in Oklahoma, the life of a vagabond and the Great Depression. If “This land is your land” appears in the first (from a dry and powerfully rhythmic writing) the life of Guthrie, “House of earth” explores – although within a framework of obvious connections to his biography – the dynamics of a peasant family in Texas, fighting against the government and policies of agricultural industries and – in an exhausting and endless vortex of violence – against raging dust storms (gone down in history as the “Dust Bowl”), which are attack their fields, decimating crops, drying up the land forever and compromising their work and their lives. The “Dust Bowl” is still considered one of the major disasters that struck the “breadbasket of the United States”, the area of the plains of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. The storms – that beat with more violence between 1930 and 1936 – forced hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their lands and their homes, creating a veritable exodus to California. “House of earth” was published in Italy by Mondadori and is introduced by a long note by actor Johnny Depp, who was involved in the publication of the manuscript in the United States.
This article is available also in: Italian