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Grade 5-9-The immigrant experience and a history of the early popular-music business in the United States form the background for this biography of one of America's best-known songwriters. In well-researched detail, Furstinger describes how Berlin developed from a youngster who sang other people's songs to a sought-after songwriter for Broadway and Hollywood. The lasting importance of his contributions is made evident, not only with the popularity of songs like "White Christmas," but also with the repeated singing of "God Bless America" following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Written in a lively style, the text is clearly documented with source notes, and well-placed, black-and-white photographs appear throughout. This is a more thorough account of Berlin's life than Thomas Streissguth's biography with the same title (Carolrhoda, 1993).
Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-9. Written in lively prose, this compelling biography in the Masters of Music series follows Russian-born Berlin from his childhood emigration to the U.S. in the late nineteenth century through his wildly successful career. Along the way, Furstinger traces the evolution of the American music business, from parlor piano sheet music to film soundtracks, using excerpts from Berlin's lyrics to bring readers closer to the music. A few black-and-white photos illustrate, and the back matter features numerous notes and a selective listing of Berlin's most popular songs. A solid, accessible choice for browsing, quick reference, or reports. Gillian Engberg
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