Related to This Book

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans

Thomas Brothers (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

"The best book ever produced about Louis Armstrong by anyone other than the man himself."—Terry Teachout, Commentary

In the early twentieth century, New Orleans was a place of colliding identities and histories, and Louis Armstrong was a gifted young man of psychological nimbleness. A dark-skinned, impoverished child, he grew up under low expectations, Jim Crow legislation, and vigilante terrorism. Yet he also grew up at the center of African American vernacular traditions from the Deep South, learning the ecstatic music of the Sanctified Church, blues played by street musicians, and the plantation tradition of ragging a tune.

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth-century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty-one years of Armstrong's life. Drawing on a stunning body of first-person accounts, this book tells the rags-to-riches tale of Armstrong's early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him. The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • April 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-393-33001-4
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 400 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Starred Review. Place this book at the core of jazz and American culture collections, and don't expect it to be displaced—ever.” — Ray Olson, Booklist

“Starred Review. A passionate, intimate picture of the teeming musical brew of early 20th-century New Orleans and how it was uniquely suited to nurture both jazz and Armstrong's exceptional musical talents....A rich, satisfying and thought-provoking read.” — Publishers Weekly

“Superb history and a rocking good read.” — Jason Berry, New York Times Book Review

“[Brothers’s] provocative case is wholly convincing.” — Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

“Examine[s] the music with the care it deserves.” — Tom Wilmeth, Express Milwaukee

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