Elijah WaldBooks and Other Writing

I have been a writer, mostly on music, for almost thirty years, publishing eleven books and something over a thousand articles in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and various other newspapers and magazines (many of which can be read in my articles archive), as well as album notes for various CD projects (which are listed on the music and albums page), and a few political commentaries.

My books, in reverse chronological order, are:

The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir
By Dave Van Ronk with Elijah Wald
(Da Capo, 2013 -identical to the 2005 edition)
Dave Van Ronk page

In French:

Manhattan Folk Story

In Italian:

Manhattan Folk Story

 

The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama

(Oxford, 2012)
Dozens book page

 

 

 

beatles cover butThe Blues: A Very Short Introduction

(Oxford, 2010)
Blues Intro page

In Italian:

Blues: Una Breve Introduzione

In German:

Der Blues: Eine kleine Einführung

 

beatles cover butHow the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll:
An Alternative History of American Popular Music

(Oxford, 2009)
Beatles/Pop page

   

global butGlobal Minstrels: Voices of World Music

(Routledge, 2006)
Global Minstrels page

   

hitchbutRiding with Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey

(Chicago Review Press, 2006)
Hitchhiking page

   
The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir

By Dave Van Ronk with Elijah Wald
(Da Capo, 2005)
Dave Van Ronk page

In German:

Der König von Greenwich Village: Die Autobiografie

 

 

Escaping the DeltaEscaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues

(Amistad/HarperCollins, 2004)
Robert Johnson page

In Croatian:

Bijeg iz Delte - Robert Johnson i povijest bluesa

In German:

Vom Mississippi zum Mainstream: Robert Johnson und die Erfindung des Blues

NarcocorridoNarcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns and Guerrillas

(Rayo/HarperCollins, 2001)
Narcocorrido page

In Spanish:

Narcocorrido: Un Viaje al Mundo de Drogas, Armas y Guerrilleros

In Croatian:

Narcocorrido - Putovanje u glazbu oružja, droge i gerile

Josh WhiteJosh White: Society Blues

(University of Massachusetts Press, 2000)
Society Blues page
   

 River of Song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi
(St. Martin’s Press, 1998, with John Junkerman)

This is the book version of a four-part PBS TV series sponsored by the Smithsonian, in which we traveled the length of the Mississippi, visiting musicians who seemed representative of each region, from gospel choirs to blues singers, German polka to riot grrl punk bands to Spanish ballad singers. The book is full of photographs and interview segments, designed to introduce the regions and musical styles, but, above all, the musicians themselves. There a lot more information on River of Song’s website, and you might also want to check out the companion CD on the Music and Albums page. This book is widely available (sometimes as a low-priced cut-out so shop around).


Exploding the Gene Myth
(Beacon Press, 1993, 1997, 1999, with Ruth Hubbard)

This is an exploration of the complexities, misinformation and dangers of the new genetics technologies. The primary author is my mother, Ruth Hubbard, a biochemist who taught for many years at Harvard University. My job was to make it all easily readable by laypeople like myself. It is meant as a guide to the pitfalls of all the new genetic breakthroughs being ballyhooed in the popular and scientific press, dealing with questions like who really gains from genetic testing and how genuine are the "discoveries" of genes for this or that condition. It has been regularly updated with prefaces and epilogues, and is also available in Spanish, Japanese, and Korean.

Click here to access an archive of my past writings, catalogued by subject or musician, and arranged by genre, theme, or whatever other system seemed appropriate.