Louis Armstrong is one of the most written-about musicians in history. Seemingly each passing year brings a new book on Armstrong, ranging from general biographies to academic studies to works aimed at children.
Armstrong became the first black jazz musician to publish an autobiography with his Swing That Music in 1936. In 1954, Armstrong produced his masterpiece, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans, the definitive account of his early years in the city of his birth.
Much writing on Armstrong was critical for his supposed “commercial” turn and the perception of his being soft on issues of race. This all began to change when Gary Giddins was given access to the materials Armstrong himself wrote and curated in the Den of his Corona, Queens home. Since the publication of Giddins’s Satchmo in 1988 and the opening of the Louis Armstrong Archives in 1994, scholarship on Armstrong has dramatically changed, making great use of Armstrong’s own, previously unpublished works.
The following list of books suggested by the Louis Armstrong House Museum is merely a brief survey of the autobiographies, biographies, and reference works about Louis Armstrong.