From Publishers Weekly
This homage to the dolorous military tune "Taps" is light on substance but heavy on sentiment. Schneider, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge in WWII and author of the forthcoming children's book Zeek the Christmas Tree Mouse, begins with the history of the song, dispelling many myths along the way. On a balmy Virginia night in 1862, with Union and Confederate soldiers weary during the Seven Days Battles, Union general Daniel Butterfield ordered the brigade bugler, Private Oliver Willcox, to write a soothing tune to send the troops to sleep. The poignant tune quickly spread throughout the North and the South, and today it is played at many official funerals and is the last sound soldiers hear before extinguishing their lights. The pace slows when Schneider discusses the origins of the bugle, the national monuments where "Taps" can be heard (such as Arlington National Cemetery) and how the tune has been remembered in literature. Highlighted throughout, however, are many interesting pieces of Americana and sidebars of quotes from such personalities as Yogi Berra, himself a WWII veteran. Schneider also explores the evolution of the lyrics that have been set to the tune (one of the most popular being "Day is done,/ Gone the sun,/ From the hills, from the lake, from the skies") and interviews the bugler at President Kennedy's funeral, whose broken note was seen by the press as a "tear" and was repeated by other buglers for weeks afterwards. While more solid books on a single song have been written before (e.g., Danny Boy by Malachy McCourt), Schneider's story is the only one devoted to "Taps"; it will strike a chord with those browsing the bookstores this Memorial Day.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Schneider provides a cultural history of the origins and significance of one of this nation's most readily recognizable tunes. Penned by Civil War general Daniel Adams Butterfield in 1862, "Taps" was composed as a tribute to both fallen soldiers and distraught survivors. After rapidly spreading through the military, the song took on a life of its own, becoming a haunting musical symbol of solace, solidarity, and sorrow. In addition to tracing the evolution of "Taps" through several wars and countless generations, the author also includes a number of personal accolades written by both famous Americans and ordinary citizens. An authoritative, first-class treatment of a familiar slice of Americana. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved