The original road novel--even though it takes the form of autobiography. If Guthrie didn't actually invent the footloose, no- strings-attached American hero (remember this guy Twain who wrote something about lighting out for the territory?), he certainly solidified the 20th-century version. Guitar slung over the shoulder as he sprinted to boost himself aboard freight trains, a man of the people equally at home with urban intellectuals, Guthrie incarnated for generations of Americans the artist as free spirit. This is the book that created the legend.