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Taps: Notes from a Nation's Heart Hardcover – April 30, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060096934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060096939
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,279,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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 Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob Spear on April 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam war, I have to say that Richard Schneider has written (composed from the heart, would be a better description) a wonderful little book about the most beautiful notes ever written. The book is not only a "feel-good" book for those for which "Taps" holds a special place in their hearts, it is also an informative book with historical elements and anecdotes to please the history minded reader. I especially liked the poems in the rear of the book that added to the poignancy of the theme. This book fills a certain void that occurred after 9/11 because even though the flag got a lot of attention, "Taps" deserves some attention also.
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By Stan Modjesky on October 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book is truly a labor of love, and it's obvious. Schneider is to be commended for having once and for all related the history of "Taps," and debunking many myths about its origin. It is fortuitous that the author connected with Jari Villaneuva, an outstanding trumpeter, and the foremost authority on "Taps," living or dead. One minor flaw is an erroneous reference to an E-flat trumpet, near the end of the book. The book loses one star in this review because of the awful design, in which the text is interrupted again and again by sidebar stories. Editor: there had to be a better way to present this information!
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Format: Hardcover
This book gives us a handy reference to the origins of Taps. We need it, for, as well as the true story, here is also an exploration of the other, long told and beautifully poetic myth about the origins of the tune.

One challenge for historians is this: who wrote the words that we most often sing (or think in our minds silently) to go with the music.... "Day is done...(etc.)" Even the authorities Schneider relies on don't have the answer. It goes back to Harrison's Landing and General Dan.
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By Alexander Berkenhoff on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Has all the information related to Taps. Also, what happened to those people who wrote and played it.
Recommend this to all and all libraries should have this on their shelves.
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