Book Review: I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old Time, Hillbilly and Country Music

La Chapelle traces the bonds between country music and politics, from the rise of amateur fiddler-politicians—firebrand Tom Watson and Tennessee governors Bob and Alf Taylor in the 19th century—to 20th century figures like Pappy O'Daniel, Roy Acuff, George C. Wallace, Al Gore Sr. and Richard Nixon, who all played or harnessed music for electoral success. Also covered are present-day musician-candidates Kinky Friedman and Rob Quist, as well as recent political endorsements from figures like Hank Williams Jr., Ralph Stanley and Willie Nelson.

By Peter La Chapelle

(paperback) $20.00