Just prior to his 50th birthday, careless baggage handlers destroyed the guitar author Tim Brookes had played for the previous 22 years. In this exceptionally well-written and enjoyable book, he details his unsuccessful search for a commercially manufactured replacement, his decision to have his “dream guitar” built by Vermont luthier Rick Davis, and the pain-staking process of constructing that instrument—from the selection of specific pieces of wood to gluing the nut into position. Simultaneously, Brookes traces the history of the guitar in general, emphasizing the ever-evolving roles it has played within society, particularly that of the United States. The two themes are alternately interwoven throughout the book’s 47 chapters—sometimes in ways that are directly related, and at other times not—but from beginning to end, Brookes employs the skills of a seasoned storyteller, resulting in a page-turner so thoroughly entertaining that you hardly even notice you are also being educated. (Grove Press). —Barry Cleveland
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