The biography of the popular song -- that in what this actually is; but further, it is the social history of America from the Civil War to the present war, as echoed in her songs. Douglas Gilbert has done an extraordinary job of research for a specialized market, but has succeeded in enlivening his subject by anecdote, human interest bits, and fascinating pen sketches of the times. The songs that America sang -- the story behind the songs -- the people who wrote and sang them and wove them into the social pattern of the times. This is a segment of the musical history of our country, a segment that is of greater social import than that revealed by music of permanent worth. There's a nostalgic pull in the recreation of the incidents and personalities that produced some of the old songs and ballads, the words of which form part of his text. The book should prove a source book for years to come. The author is a feature writer of the New York World Telegram, and author of American Vaudeville (1940), a book which should be practically in the news with the revival of interest in vaudeville.