Songs of America

Songs of America

Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made A Nation

Book - 2019
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A celebration of American history through the music that helped to shape a nation, by Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham and music superstar Tim McGraw

"Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw form an irresistible duo--connecting us to music as an unsung force in our nation's history."--Doris Kearns Goodwin

Through all the years of strife and triumph, America has been shaped not just by our elected leaders and our formal politics but also by our music--by the lyrics, performers, and instrumentals that have helped to carry us through the dark days and to celebrate the bright ones.

From "The Star-Spangled Banner" to "Born in the U.S.A.," Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw take readers on a moving and insightful journey through eras in American history and the songs and performers that inspired us. Meacham chronicles our history, exploring the stories behind the songs, and Tim McGraw reflects on them as an artist and performer. Their perspectives combine to create a unique view of the role music has played in uniting and shaping a nation.

Beginning with the battle hymns of the revolution, and taking us through songs from the defining events of the Civil War, the fight for women's suffrage, the two world wars, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and into the twenty-first century, Meacham and McGraw explore the songs that defined generations, and the cultural and political climates that produced them. Readers will discover the power of music in the lives of figures such as Harriet Tubman, Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and will learn more about some of our most beloved musicians and performers, including Marian Anderson, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Carole King, Bruce Springsteen, and more.

Songs of America explores both famous songs and lesser-known ones, expanding our understanding of the scope of American music and lending deeper meaning to the historical context of such songs as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," "God Bless America," "Over There," "We Shall Overcome," and "Blowin' in the Wind." As Quincy Jones says, Meacham and McGraw have "convened a concert in Songs of America ," one that reminds us of who we are, where we've been, and what we, at our best, can be.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780593132951
Branch Call Number: 782.420973 ME
Characteristics: 302 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: McGraw, Tim - Author


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Dec 05, 2019

This well-meaning book fails to accomplish what it should by not including a CD with the main songs the book discusses. Meacham uses his considerable knowledge as an historian to discuss American history from the Revolution through 911 and a few songs that were impactful in each era. Tug McGraw's contribution, unfortunately, is limited to an occasional sidebar. In many cases lyrics are included, but without the actual music, we're reduced to reading them as poetry, not song.

Dec 03, 2019

The authors consider certain key periods in the history of the United States and the songs that characterize the popular political sentiments of the time. It was very enlightening to read about the origin and acceptance of various songs - some well known and some less well known. The authors do a good job of fairly framing the political situation at each moment. In conjunction with You-Tube, it was a real pleasure to see this bit of Americana brought back to life.

SnoIsleLib_BrianH Jun 29, 2019

From the introduction A note the Reader, 'The Songs of the America' is the opening , not the closing, act in a conversation about the nation's diversity and complexity. For that's among the reason we undertook the project: to inspire Americans to think more widely about more deeply about the country Abraham Lincoln called "the last best hope of earth".


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