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Comment: Dust jacket has signs of wear to the edges, corners and spine. Binding tight. Pages clean.
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Beethoven in America Hardcover – October 27, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (October 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253357047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253357045
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book fills a great gap in our understanding both of Beethoven and of American culture. The panorama of this narrative encompasses antebellum rice plantations in South Carolina and the film studios of Hollywood, music critic John Dwight and rock star Chuck Berry, Theosophy and Black Power, Beethoven's sketches, and YouTube videos." —Christopher Reynolds, University of California, Davis

"Broyles pens an engaging and fascinating text, relying on copious amounts of research supplemented with myths and mysteries to rebuild and develop the image of Beethoven.... The language of [the] text is accessible and avoids unnecessary scholarly jargon or extensvie musicological terms." —popmatters.com

"Beethoven in America remains an engaging and valuable work of cultural history. The breadth of Broyles's knowledge about Beethoven's public presence is astounding, and this is the rare academic book that has thoughtful discussions of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Adrienne Rich, Amiri Baraka, and Yngwie Malmsteen. That people from such diverse circles felt connections to Beethoven is brilliantly demonstrated, and this is ultimately a fascinating analysis of the strange career of Beethoven as a multipurpose icon." —Journal of American History

"[Beethoven in America] is packed with Beethoven facts and also takes a unique approach." —CHOICE

"...[M]akes the case that not only was Beethoven the all-around musical stud of musical studs, he might be the greatest of all musical ingratiators, turning up in our American corner of the universe, again and again, and more than most of us realize." —Washington Post Book World

"[Broyles] serves as an intellectual, hyper-informed but genial tour guide to a potentially sprawling subject. Though the book is dense in research, it is never pompous; it could serve as a model for how serious musicological study can be generously shared with interested parties who don't happen to be in the same profession." —Santa Fe New Mexican

"[T]hanks to Broyles' book, we're a little bit closer to understanding Beethoven's lasting impression on American culture." —stereosubversion.com

About the Author

Michael Broyles is Professor of Music at Florida State University and former Distinguished Professor of Music and Professor of American History at Pennsylvania State University. His most recent book, Leo Ornstein: Modernist Dilemmas, Personal Choices (IUP, 2007), written with Denise Von Glahn, won the Irving Lowens Prize in 2007.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have read two recent books which explore the impact of two important German figures on the cultural history of the United States. The first book by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen discusses the American reception of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas The second book, "Beethoven in America" which I am reviewing here, discussses the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 -- 1827) and his reception in the United States over the course of more than 200 years. The author, Michael Broyles, is Professor of Music at Florida State University and a former Distinguished Professor of Music and Professor of American History at Penn State University. Broyles has written extensively on music in the United States. An earlier book written with his wife Denise Von Glahn studies the relatively unknown American modernist composer Leo Ornstein, Leo Ornstein: Modernist Dilemmas, Personal Choices who also receives some attention in this book's treatment of Beethoven.

I have had a long interest in Nietzsche and a substantially longer interest in Beethoven. I have long loved to read about Beethoven and to hear his music, which I play on the piano. I read both Ratner-Rosenhagen's and Broyles' books to understand how Americans have viewed these figures. There are some parallels. Both the philosopher and the composer have been understood differently over time by Americans of varied persuasions and backgrounds.
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This is a very well written and interesting account of the many ways and many places Beethoven shows up in our country, from cartoons, plays, TV advertisements, toys (rag dolls, moveable action figures), music boxes, movies, pop music, politics, all these besides classical radios stations who regularly include Beethoven's music. A very enjoyable read for anyone.
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