America the Beautiful and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song Hardcover – October 16, 2001

8 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.89 $0.01

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-This attractive book tells of Katherine Lee Bates's journeys preceding and following the writing of "America the Beautiful." Scherr brings a visual as well as literary focus to the story of this song, which has evolved into an unofficial national anthem, especially since the tragic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College and a prolific poet and scholar, but she will always be remembered for contributing much to the patriotic feelings of both her times and ours. In understated prose and evocative illustrations, the author transports readers back to the not-so-halcyon days at the turn of the last century and the not always graceful coming-of-age of the United States. The history of the anthem from poem to icon is clearly traced while the times are brought to life in plentiful period illustrations and photographs, both in color and black and white; posters; song sheets; facsimiles; and maps. This book might be useful for history, music, literature, or sociology assignments, but it is also a joy to look through and to read for pure interest.
Susan H. Woodcock, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

This attractive book tells of Katherine Lee Bates's journeys preceding and following the writing of ''America the Beautiful.'' Scherr brings a visual as well as literary focus to the story of this song, which has evolved into an unofficial national anthem, especially since the tragic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Bates was an English professor at Wellesley College and a prolific poet and scholar, but she will always be remembered for contributing much to the patriotic feelings of both her times and ours. In understated prose and evocative illustrations, the author transports readers back to the not-so-halcyon days at the turn of the last century and the not always graceful coming-of-age of the United States. The history of the anthem from poem to icon is clearly traced while the times are brought to life in plentiful period illustrations and photographs, both in color and black and white; posters; song sheets; facsimiles; and maps. ---- School Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

"Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget"
Browse more unforgettable Biographies & Memoirs.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586480855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586480851
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on November 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story behind "America the Beautiful" is as emotionally moving as the song it produced and Lynn Sherr has captured all of this in her timely new book. I read it this evening and found myself on more than one occasion needing to go to my piano and play and sing through this wonderful national song.
Many facts leap out at the reader...the poet and author of "America the Beautiful", Katharine Lee Bates, never met the composer, Samuel A. Ward, and except for one $5 fee, neither received any money for it...Mr. Ward died before the tune and text ever appeared together in print...and that dozens of other tunes were proposed to be wedded to Miss Bates's poem yet it wasn't until shortly before her death in 1929 that tune and text became the accepted national version that we sing today.
There are many more rich details to this story and Ms. Sherr has put them forward with colorful prints throughout the book, many of them reminders of the times in which these two gifted people lived. Fate certainly played several pivotal parts. The biggest was Miss Bates's trip west in the summer of 1893 where she was inspired in at least three places to pen lines that exist in the song today... "alabaster cities" (from seeing the "White City" of the Chicago World's Fair), "amber waves of grain" (while passing through Kansas on a train) and "spacious skies", "purple mountain majesties" and "above the fruited plain" from her view atop Pikes' Peak. But we also learn that it is quite plausible that Samuel Ward wrote the tune on a friend's linen cuff as he left Coney Island one day aboard a boat. And if it hadn't been for a conscientious clergyman from Rochester New York, the words and music might never have been paired.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mwreview on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Lynn Sherr describes the poem, music, meaning, history, and legacy of the song "America the Beautiful" in this unique book. In many ways this book is a glimpse at the Progressive era in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem, was a progressive intellectual who supported many views which were considered radical in her time (i.e. women's rights, pacifism, social service, etc.). Sherr follows Bates on her travels to a teacher's sojourn in Colorado, where Bates received inspiration for her poem. On her way, Bates visited the 1893 Columbia Exposition in Chicago where she was awed by the "White City" (not so much a racist classification-at least not as Bates regarded it-but an interpretation of the ideal urban civilization). This experience found its way in the fourth stanza of Bates' poem as "alabaster cities." Bates also visited Jane Addams' Hull House on this trip. Samuel Ward, of which little is known, is also discussed briefly. Ward wrote the music that would later be used for "America the Beautiful" in the form of a hymn entitled "Materna" (with the lyrics for "Oh Mother, Dear Jerusalem.") His inspiration came during a visit to Coney Island.
What I found to be fascinating is how Bates' poem captured the hearts of so many people even before it was set to music that many wished was our national anthem. Bates received hundreds of letters praising her poem from all age groups. I cannot imagine any poem moving the people of the nation today except, perhaps, if it were in the form of a rap. I found the explanation on how Bates' poem and Ward's music were united to be very interesting.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
America The Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song by journalist and author Lynn Sherr, is an historical account of a patriotic American classic and recommended for both school and community library American history collections. Individual chapters delve into the history of the original poem, the music that made the song, the meaning of the anthem and the legacy of this patriotic work. Filled with color photographs, reproductions of primary sources and a fascinating wealth of lore, America The Beautiful is an amazing, exciting and intriguing history of the song that defines the United States.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LBS on June 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
thanks to all for the wonderful reviews -- and just a note about one poster who commented on some errors. First, "Firchburg" on p. 13 of the Kindle edition, is a typo; it's "Fitchburg," and is accurate in the original print edition. I never was given the Kindle edition to proof. Second, Troy Female Seminar (now Emma Willard School), p. 14, was/is a college-prep level school for women; Mt. Holyoke was the first for women at college/university level. Facts are accurate! Thanks again.
Lynn Sherr
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again