All Join Hands
Dudley Laufman & the New England Country Dance Tradition
by Thomas S. Curren
Here is the story of what happened when a ten-thousand-year-old musical tradition was put into the hands of a seventeen-year-old Boston boy in 1947.
Traditional music has been a dependable oasis in the long American pilgrimage. Folk dance joins us together, lifting us out of inhibitions, anxieties, and our acculturated need to exert control. The Yankee instinct for community art has been the inspiration behind Dudley Laufman’s life-long stewardship of country dance, which is the story at the heart of this book.
“Tom Curren has done a brilliant job here, weaving an engaging narrative of how Dudley Laufman coordinated and energized the amazing resurgence of an ancient art form—the contradance/square dance—in New England and beyond.”
—Tom Rush, Singer/songwriter
“Clarifies the fascinating history of contradance, and at the same time delves into the social history that accompanies its evolution. The prose style, lucid and readable, is on its own reason enough to cherish this book.”
—Sydney Lea, Vermont Poet Laureate, 2011-2015
“Curren has put all lovers of New England country dancing into the grand sweep of cultural and political history, with Dudley Laufman’s story as linchpin.”
—Greg Boardman, founder, Maine Fiddle Camp; Maine Country Fiddle Workshop
About the Author
Tom Curren is a writer, farmer, conservationist, and an historian who lives in New Hampshire with his wife, folklorist Kathy Neustadt. Since the 1970s, Tom has had an extensive career writing and speaking about New England culture, life and landscape. He has written four local town histories as well as the statewide account of Old Home Day. As part of the singing group “The Good Old Plough” he has appeared at dozens of historical societies around the state, at the Shelburne Museum, on NBC’s “Good Morning America,” and well as in special performances on New Hampshire’s Channel 11 Educational Television Channel and on WEVO, New Hampshire Public Radio. He gives presentations at local historical societies and similar gatherings throughout the region.
Tom recently published a history of the Boston-Cambridge folk music revival titled I Believe I’ll Go Back Home, about which the national Library Journal said: “Ultimately, the book is about America writ large, the power of our best (and worst) selves, and the role of music in inspiring, reflecting, and recovering the ideals of various times and people. In this time of discord, Curren hits exactly the right note.”