IRVING BERLIN

SONGS FROM THE MELTING POT: THE FORMATIVE YEARS, 1907-1914

A comprehensive study of the first seven years of songwriting (ending with his first Broadway musical) from one of America's most popular songwriters. Hamm (Music in the New World, 1983, etc.) presents Berlin as the product of the ``radically multicultural milieu'' of turn-of- the-century New York City, with its range of musical styles, which influenced Berlin's early music. Hamm thus provides background on vaudeville, minstrel shows, ragtime, the ballad, and, of course, Tin Pan Alley. The book is substantiated by informed analysis of musical devices and social trends, and reproductions of sheet music—including both decorative covers and musical notation. Sometimes the attention to detail distracts: Hamm properly devotes an entire chapter to Berlin's 1911 hit ``Alexander's Ragtime Band,'' which Variety called ``the musical sensation of the decade.'' Hamm, professor emeritus of music at Dartmouth, applies rigorous research to determine whether the melody or words were written first, whether the instrumental or vocal version was the first produced, who first performed the song, etc. In the process, he takes on previous Berlin biographers in academic fisticuffs. Hamm seems the better researcher, but perhaps obsessively so. The book is geared to the Berlin scholar or the armchair fan—with some knowledge of music theory—who has already devoured a few biographies and wants to go much deeper. Appendix 3 (compiled by Paul Charosh), for instance, catalogs the songs of the period and notes recording companies, artists, etc., but nowhere lists a recording readily available to the general public. Though Hamm's arguments are well made, his overly academic approach stifles the very exuberance so endemic to the works of this popular songwriter.

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-19-507188-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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