William Ferris's book is a summary of 40 years of his field research, offering elegantly written portraits of the people and places he spent so much time amongst in the 1960's and beyond. His patch was, essentially, Mississippi and his self-defined brief was to capture the fast-dissapearing history of traditional blues and gospel by any means at his disposal. This included interviews, photos, taped performances and sound films. Unusual for the time, and now, four decades later, the five films are of especially great value. Moreover, they are all included here in DVD format, accompanied by a selection of field recordings on a CD, both packaged into the back of the book. So essentialy you have a multi-media product to absorb; words, photographic images, sound recordings and films, including the one which, in my view, is the best single documentary about what the blues actually means. At 21 minutes, his 1975 color film "Give My Poor Heart Ease" is the ideal introduction to the real purpose and underlying meaning of the Blues as catharsis for its original community, rather than mass entertainment. Ther are no California Rayban-wearing harp players here, just honest folk playing honest music because they have to. Whatever your level of interest in the blues is, Ferris's new volume is one to get and absorb.