Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw – Songs of America


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 USA, Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw take listeners 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 womens suffrage, the two world wars, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and into the 21st century, Meacham and McGraw explore the songs that defined generations, and the cultural and political climates that produced them. Listeners 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 weve been, and what we, at our best, can be.

Author: Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw
Narrator: Jon Meacham, Tim McGraw
Duration: 7 hours 40 minutes
Released: 19 Nov 2006
Publisher: Random House Audio
Language: English

User Review:

scaffolding rhythmic

This came out in June in time for the summer patriotism season. I was optimistic and decided to listen to the book under the assumption they might play some of these songs. They dont. I also was under the assumption that Meacham and McGraw would make good narrators. Meh. Its an interesting book, but the narration adds nothing and there is essentially no music. Rather than play the songs, McGraws primary role is to read the lyrics of the songs. Let me repeat/rephrase that: much of the book is McGraw reading poetry. Ill assert poetry interpretation is not McGraws strength. Meacham is Meacham and ranges from interesting to not. One final comment on the audible version, it is poorly produced. Each time they change narrators the first word or two of the narration is lost. This is unfortunate. Now, lets talk about the content: I did not find the first 100 years interesting at all. Some might, but they basically talked about songs Id never heard before and I thought the history from that early era was rather pedestrian. From the Civil War until WW II, I thought the book was credible. From the civil rights movement to the present, I thought it was pretty good, providing some interesting perspectives on how the songs emerged from and influenced existing culture. I will also note that the book overemphasizes war. I tend to think American history is more than a story of war, but I will also admit that a book on patriotism and protest reasonably would focus on our many wars. In summary, a disappointing book to listen to, but a good portion of the book is interesting.