Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation by Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw

“A celebration of America and the music that inspired people and illuminated eras, from the Revolutionary War to the present, by Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham and Grammy winner Tim McGraw.”

How many songs about America do you know? The Star Spangled Banner, of course, maybe America, the Beautiful, too. Yankee Doodle Dandy might make your list. How about modern tunes like God Bless the USA and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA?


Songs of America is a very interesting book, but. There’s always a but, isn’t there? The book is kind of scattered when it comes to the importance of a particular song, as well as it’s familiarity. Some very well-known songs got only a passing mention, while obscure ones received the full treatment. There’s a chapter on slave music that makes for very interesting reading.

I didn’t find Tim McGraw’s insights particularly interesting in Songs of America.  Coming from a musician’s standpoint, and obviously someone with knowledge of the history of music, I was expecting more. What what have made this book better would be having a CD with Tim McGraw singing all the songs that received more than a passing mention.

Songs of America is worth the read, if only to remember all the songs we were taught in school and have long-forgotten, as well as learn some “new” old songs as well.

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