Category Archives: autobiography

March Trilogy

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2016)
Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis. March is the award-winning, #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is co-author of the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy March, written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions including the Lincoln Medal, the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NAACP Spingarn Medal, among many others. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, culture, history, politics

ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman

By Laurie Pepper (2014)
Art Pepper told his sexy, sordid, and exciting true adventure stories to his lover, Laurie, who put them in a book. She quizzed him (and those who knew him) unrelentingly over seven years, editing and structuring a narrative to which she dedicated all her energy. Straight Life by Art and Laurie Pepper was published in 1979. It was a critical success and remains a classic of its kind, the subject of college literary and music studies. Laurie went on to marry Art and manage his resurgent career, touring the world with his band. ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman describes her marriage to the deeply troubled, drug-addicted, madly gifted artist. “That marriage was the making of me,” says Laurie. “Some people go to grad school or join the Marines. I married a genius who valued and inspired me and challenged me to use MY gifts. We had a difficult, powerful partnership. I had to tell that story.” She says she also needs to set the record straight and clarify her role: “People think I was some kind of little wifey-saint who rescued him. And Art encouraged them in that. But he knew how truly crazy I could be. We rescued each other.”

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, jazz, music, photography

Straight Life: The Story Of Art Pepper

By Art and Laurie Pepper (1979)
Art Pepper (1925–1982) was called the greatest alto saxophonist of the post-Charlie Parker generation. But his autobiography, Straight Life, is much more than a jazz book—it is one of the most explosive, yet one of the most lyrical, of all autobiographies.

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, jazz, music

Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer

By Liz Lerman (2011)
In this wide-ranging collection of essays and articles, Liz Lerman reflects on her life-long exploration of dance as a vehicle for human insight and understanding of the world around us. Lerman has been described by the Washington Post as “the source of an epochal revolution in the scope and purposes of dance art.” Here, she combines broad outlooks on culture and society with practical applications and accessible stories. Her expansive scope encompasses the craft, structure, and inspiration that bring theatrical works to life as well as the applications of art in fields as diverse as faith, aging, particle physics, and human rights law. Offering readers a gentle manifesto describing methods that bring a horizontal focus to bear on a hierarchical world, this is the perfect book for anyone curious about the possible role for art in politics, science, community, motherhood, and the media.

Posted in art, autobiography, education

Mr. Jellyroll

Mr. Jellyroll: The Fortunes of Jellyroll Morton, New Orleans Creole'By Alan Lomax (1950)
When it appeared in 1950, this biography of Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton became an instant classic of jazz literature. Jelly Roll’s voice spins out his life in something close to song, each sentence rich with the sound and atmosphere of the period in which Morton, and jazz, exploded on the American and international scene.

Posted in autobiography, biography, history, jazz, music

Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus

Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus (Vintage)By Charles Mingus (1971)
A wild, lyrical, and anguished autobiography, in which Charles Mingus pays short shrift to the facts but plunges to the very bottom of his psyche, coming up for air only when it pleases him. He takes the reader through his childhood in Watts, his musical education by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker, and his prodigious appetites–intellectual, culinary, and sexual. The book is a jumble, but a glorious one, by a certified American genius.

Posted in autobiography, biography, jazz, music

Bound for Glory

Bound for Glory (Plume)By Woodie Guthrie (1943)
The original road novel–even though it takes the form of autobiography. If Guthrie didn’t actually invent the footloose, no- strings-attached American hero, he certainly solidified the 20th-century version. Guitar slung over the shoulder as he sprinted to boost himself aboard freight trains, a man of the people equally at home with urban intellectuals, Guthrie incarnated for generations of Americans the artist as free spirit. This is the book that created the legend.

Posted in autobiography, biography, history, music