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Best of the Web

Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson, by Tom Graves (2008)

This is the latest to tag itself as a definitive biography, complete with an introduction by controversial Johnson expert Steve LaVere.

Robert Johnson, Mythmaking and Contemporary American Culture, by Patricia Schroeder (2004)

This book delves into the elements of Robert Johnson's life that have the least to do with, well, Robert Johnson's actual life. Schroeder argues that the devil legend has become more and more significant in recent years, and then asks why.

Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues, by Elijah Wald (2004)

The author deals not only with Johnson's obscure biography, but with the fascinating development of the myth surrounding Johnson—and the mainstream perception of the entire history of the blues.

Searching for Robert Johnson, by Peter Guralnick (1998)

This is a short primer on the life and legend of Robert Johnson that does more to stoke the flames of the mystery than to dispel the myth. It is a fun read, especially for fans.

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