Sean Wilentz, American Historian and Author

The Rose & the Briar, ed. with Greil Marcus

Praised by Robbie Robertson of The Band as “a classic & a ticket to ride,” The Rose & the Briar assembles an astonishing group of writers and artists: Paul Muldoon, Stanley Crouch, R. Crumb, Jon Langford of the Mekons, Sharyn McCrumb, Luc Sante, Joyce Carol Oates, Dave Marsh, and more than a dozen other novelists, essayists, performers, and critics; to explore the ineffable power of the American ballad. From “Barbara Allen” through “The Wreck of the Old 97” to contemporary ballads by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, The Rose & the Briar is, as Geoffrey O’Brien hailed in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, “a book full of internal echoes and provocative coincidences,” featuring “historical investigation, shamanistic trance-journey, memoir, novella and cartoon,” where “names and costumes change, soldiers become cowboys, demon lovers become backwoods murderer; the voices are unmistakably distinct but they share a common ground.”

“Arguing that the American ballad is “a major form—musically, perhaps, the major form—through which Americans told each other about themselves and the country they inhabited,” Wilentz and Marcus offer this impressive, innovative tribute to it.” –Publishers Weekly

“Rich and thrilling.” –Bobbie Ann Mason

“Great stuff about music and America.” –Randy Newman

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