The whirling excitement of a unique drama form-- the American musical--serves as the backdrop for Green's portraits of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammer-tein. The first part of the book deals with the individual growth of these native New Yorkers, who were to startle the theatre-going world with Oklahama! South cific, Carousel, The King and I, etc. The author goes on to elaborate upon the eighteen year collaboration between the composer and lyricist-- a combination which was highly successful. Mr. Green documents his main thesis-- that through these two men, music first became an integrated part of the play, no longer merely draping itself around the plot as sentimental decoration-- with examples from plays. The American and European audiences, as Green points out, were at first shocked to see what had replaced the flowery operettas of the 20's and 30's, but soon showed their approval by filling theatres to see the ""new musicals"". Although the author focuses on Rodgers and Hammerstein, this is not essentially an intimate biography. Green presents a detailed account of those men--Stothart, Kern, Gershwin, and Hart, as well as his two subjects-- who made musical comedy what it is today. An excellent study for theater lovers--young and old-- with a certain nostalgic value.