How did a small, humble folk instrument become an American icon? How did the guitar come to represent freedom, the open road, protest and rebellion, the blues, youth, lost love, and sexuality? In this intensely personal memoir and informative history, National Public Radio commentator and essayist Tim Brookes recounts his quest to build the perfect guitar. Pairing up with a master artisan from the Green Mountains of Vermont, Brookes sees how a rare piece of cherry wood is hued, dovetailed,and worked on with saws, rasps, and files. As his prized instrument takes shape, Brookes also narrates the long and winding history of the guitar in the United States. Arriving with conquistadors and the colonists, the guitar has found itself in an extraordinary variety of hands: miners and society ladies, lumberjacks and presidents' wives. In time, the guitar became America's vehicle of self-expression, its modern soundtrack. Guitar is a rare glimpse of one man's search for music. It is sure to resonate with musicians and non-musicians alike.