Books That Made a Difference to Steve Earle
The triple-threat artist has a new album, a novel, and a role on the HBO series Treme. But his real love is reading, and reading again.
Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
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Warriors of God
This ultraserious history of Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade appeals to Steve Earle, who has "only an eighth-grade education. I went to ninth grade twice, and didn't finish it either time, so reading nonfiction is the only way I've taught myself anything at all. I found this book around 9/11, when the world was divided into people who were trying to understand Islam and those trying not to understand Islam, and my call was that understanding Islam was a matter of survival. I wanted to read everything I could get my hands on about religious history. Reston talks about a situation from hundreds of years ago, but it's also about today: We're killing each other right now and have been for more than 1,000 years, over different interpretations of the same God. For a white Anglo-Saxon Irish-Scottish Protestant-bordering-on-Buddhist Communist like me, this was a revelation."
— As told to Sara Nelson