Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas: Unabridged and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $15.99
  • Save: $4.59 (29%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Stories Behind the Best-L... has been added to your Cart
Condition: :
Comment: While this book has been loved by someone else, they left it in great condition. Hurry and buy it before someone else does and take advantage of our FREE Super Saver Shipping!!! (there is a chance this book could contain a gift inscription)
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 all 2 images

Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas (Stories Behind Books) Hardcover – October 1, 2001


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$11.40
$0.96 $0.01
Audio CD
"Please retry"

New from Lisa Carter
Explore Lisa Carter's latest book Vines of Entanglement. Learn more
$11.40 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas (Stories Behind Books) + Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas (Stories Behind Books)
Price for both: $24.00

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Gold Box Deal of the Day: Best-Selling Paranormal Series
Today only, books in the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead are $2.99 each. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Stories Behind Books
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Stories Behind Books edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310239265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310239260
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This year, at least three different titles explore the origins of well-known Christmas carols. Ace Collins's Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas takes on more than 30 popular songs and hymns, from classics such as "O Holy Night" and "Angels We Have Heard on High" to the contemporary Christian hit "Mary, Did You Know?" Secular numbers such as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" also get their due in this attractively designed gift book.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Collins is an ace at song history, dispensing compendiums of song backstories that are nothing if not tasty--quite a feat, given the saccharinity of popular-music commentators in general. His custom is to tell how a song came to be written and popularized, capping the resultant article with a snippet about its commercial track record, if appropriate; quite often in this book, it isn't. Many a Christmas song peaked in popularity long before Bing Crosby or Judy Garland could have had a first-time chart-topper with them. Of course, Bing did make "Silver Bells" a hit, Judy scored with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and Collins is fully in his element with those and other twentieth-century entrants into the Christmas canon. Not that he doesn't tell a good tale about each of the 31 entries in this book. It's just that, with the old songs, he can't impart facts such as the one he drops about "Silver Bells"--to wit, as Der Bingle moaned about many other things, Hope did it first. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book, reading a few chapters at a time through the season.
meowbaa
It seems more often than not, Collins has just done some cursory internet research and then slapped it all together and called it good.
Rich Rogers
Take the time out this Christmas to enjoy the history and meaning of these beloved songs of Christmas!
Soozie4Him

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Rich Rogers on March 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For someone with 50 books to his credit--as per the dust jacket--Collins is highly sloppy in the research of this book. As has been previously noted, he just presented a common story about the origins of "Silent Night" without necessarily having done any deep research. And the comments about "The Twelve Days of Christmas" come straight from a silly internet piece, with no basis in fact.

This is common throughout this book. It seems more often than not, Collins has just done some cursory internet research and then slapped it all together and called it good.

Some other screw-ups: Irving Berlin was worried that "White Christmas" wasn't really a good song. Actually Berlin, upon introducing it to his office staff and musical secretary, refered to it as "not only the greatest song I've ever written, but the greatest song ever written." Berlin at one point had plans to make White Christmas the main production number in a major Broadway revue. In performing it for Crosby and studio execs, Berlin got nervous with himself and choked in performing it. You can read about this in Jody Rosen's excellent book on White Christmas, called "White Christmas."

As for his assertions about the meaning and origin of the term Merry in merry Christmas, he gets it wrong again. Ten minutes in the Oxford English Dictionary, available at any decent public library, would have given him the answers.

Better Books on this subject are Rosen's afforementioned book and "The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols" ed. Ian Bradbury.
3 Comments 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
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By penandra on December 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this selection. I love Christmas carols and thought that having the stories behind them would be fun. However, of the first three "chapters" that I read (I'll be Home for Christmas, White Christmas, and the Twelve Days of Christmas), the research is sloppy, incorrect, and incomplete. Other reviewers have detailed the problems with White Christmas. A simple search on the Urban Legend dubunking site of snopes.com will show problems with the Twelve Days of Christmas writeup. And then there's my favorite, I'll be Home for Christmas. While the story is nice, adding yet one more error (assuming that lyricist "Kim Gannon" is female) to the list already detailed causes one to question the validity of anything in the entire book. The lyrics for this song were written by James "Kim" Gannon (male). This book would have benefited from better research AND better proofreading. Luckily I picked it up for free for the Kindle. If it's still available for free, it's maybe worth the download for some of the stories, but before passing on any information to others, it's best to do a quick google search to validate that you are not just perpetuating a legend.
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
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Froomkin on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Another reviewer points out the this author seems to weave fairy tales into his narrative. That's exactly the problem. There is often a core of fact in what he's describing - but he weaves about half a page of fact into a fanciful two and half pages which he crams with spiritual extrapolation. He adds a subtext to almost every story that is his own agenda...putting thoughts into the composers head and words into their mouth which are obviously fabricated. It's frustrating - because if he had gone with "Just the facts, Maam" it would have been one of the most useful books out there on the subject. Instead, when i'm researching a carol, I have to cross check it with several other sources to make sure he hasn't completely invented part of a story.
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
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Luther on November 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. It was so interesting to hear the stories behind all the Christmas songs. The only reason I rated it a four is that not all the song lyrics are included. Even when it is a song I know by heart, I liked reading through the words, especially songs that have several verses that we don't always sing. Very sweet, easy to read, and interesting.
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
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brrr Bunny (SEP) on December 1, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I agree with the reviewer who cited sloppy research. While I'm not knowledgeable enough to actually catch the author in inaccuracies, I can tell that the research was superficial and that he glossed over parts where he didn't have enough information. The premise is interesting, and I would have liked a good 'meaty' book about the history of each carol, instead of something that was only incidentally interested in the history of the song itself and more concerned with the time period and attempts to 'get inside' the head of whoever wrote the song (and/or lyrics). I would seriously suggest skipping this book - even as a freebie, which the Kindle version currently is - and spending some money to pick up one that shows better scholarship and editing (see note below).

Note on Kindle formatting: Poor. And strange. Each chapter deals with one Christmas carol, but the words to the carol are given in the middle of the chapter - and in the middle of an unconnected paragraph. Sometimes even in the middle of a sentence! You'll be reading along and get to the middle of a sentence talking about some aspect of the carol, then it suddenly breaks off and the words to the carol (in italics, and not always properly formatted themselves) intervene. After turning the page, you can pick up where you left off in the middle of that sentence. The illustrations (bad) do the same thing.

Based on content - 2.5 - 3 stars; based on formatting 1.5 stars.
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

More About the Author

Ace Collins is the writer of more than sixty books, including several bestsellers: Stories behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, Stories behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, The Cathedrals, and Lassie: A Dog's Life. Based in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, He continues to publish several new titles each year, including a series of novels, the first of which is Farraday Road. Ace has appeared on scores of television shows, including CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight.

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas (Stories Behind Books)
This item: Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas (Stories Behind Books)
Price: $15.99 $11.40
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com