The Sound of Freedom and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.34
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This item has been gently used.
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 this image

The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America Hardcover – March 31, 2009


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, March 31, 2009
$2.22 $0.01

Books on Great Leaders
Get inspired for greatness with books about US presidents, notable figures throughout history, and biographies on Martin Luther King, Jr. Learn more
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (March 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915787
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,150,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Marian Anderson rose from humble beginnings in Philadelphia to become a world-renowned contralto and one of the most prominent African American women of her time. Arsenault (John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History, Univ. of South Florida; Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice) adds to the large body of literature on Anderson with a book focusing on her iconic 1939 Easter concert. Having been denied the right to perform in Constitution Hall because of its white-performers-only policy, Anderson sang for 75,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Arsenault writes that this was the "first time anyone in the modern civil rights struggle had invoked the symbol of the Great Emancipator in a direct and compelling way," with Anderson striking a historic blow for civil rights. While readers should be aware of Allan Keiler's more general Marian Anderson or Anderson's own autobiography, My Lord, What a Morning, Arsenault's book is a good one for serious students of the civil rights movement.—Jason Martin, Univ. of Central Florida Libs., Orlando
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 1964, the same year the Civil Rights Act was passed, renowned classical and spiritual singer Marian Anderson, at age 67, sang her last concert at Constitution Hall, the same venue that had been denied her in 1939 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Historian Arsenault examines Anderson’s life from the perspective of her phenomenal musical talent and her iconic image during a time of struggle for racial equality. He traces her humble beginnings in Philadelphia just 35 years after the start of the Civil War. Her amazing contralto voice catapulted her from singing in local church choirs to a circuit of concerts at colleges and music halls. But her rising stature didn’t exempt her in the 1920s and 1930s from the formalized Jim Crow laws of the South and the informal segregation of the North. After travels to Europe, Anderson was hailed by Arturo Toscanini and managed by Sol Hurok. Not an activist by nature, her preeminence in the vaunted world of classical music eventually led to her emergence as a figure in the civil rights struggle. --Vanessa Bush

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
24
4 star
16
3 star
7
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 47 customer reviews
She will always be synonymous with the beauiful voice in music.
poetRMS-316
This makes it a good reference book, a very quick read and a bit superficial regarding the main character.
Anna M. Ligtenberg
To understand how Marian Anderson got to that point, the author has given us a book of her life and times.
Robert D. Harmon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on April 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Oh, what a world contralto Marian Anderson lived in; segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the dehumanizing effects of institutionalized racism were everyday facets of her life. That such a beautiful flower blossomed amongst the filth of the shadows of our country is, in itself, an amazing story, which is explored in Raymond Arsenault's new book "The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert that Awakened America."

Marian Anderson, a deep soul with an even deeper, richer voice, appeared in America during one of her most racist times. As Arsenault points out, Anderson was born around the same time that the Supreme Court wrongly sanctioned "separate but equal" in Plessy V. Ferguson. Living in Philadelphia during this time, Anderson grew up with segregation in every venue; from schools to jobs to her performing life as an adult. Not even able to enroll in a music school because she was black, Marian forged her own way, taking advantage of the less racially restrictive Europe before becoming a sensation here at home.

It's in this first part of the book that the narrative somewhat lags and longs for the momentum that will eventually come in the second part of the story, which focuses on Anderson's triumphant concert tour. Arsenault strives to create the world of Anderson, but in doing so, becomes occasionally overwrought with details, details, all of which are important, but seem to weigh down Anderson's early story. It's essential to understand early 20th century America, to understand the later impact of Anderson standing on the steps of the Memorial in honor and defiance.
Read more ›
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on May 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Raymond Arsenault has written an indispensable chronicle of vocalist Marian Anderson's historic Lincoln Memorial concert within the framework of America's Civil Rights odyssey. Painstakingly researched, "The Sound of Freedom" offers an enigmatic portrait of Anderson before and after her iconic 1939 performance - mirrored by the significant inroads toward racial equality. The book represents an inspired companion piece to Arsenault's "Freedom Riders" (2006) and essential reading for international historians.
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lindapanzo on October 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Before I read this book, I knew very little about African-American singer (contralto) Marian Anderson. About all I knew about her was that she tried to sing in a whites-only location in Washington DC, was refused, and sang at the Lincoln Monument instead. I wasn't even sure when these things occurred.

While these topics--Anderson's attempt to sing at Constitution Hall on Easter Sunday, 1939, the DAR's refusal to let her do so, and the concert that resulted--comprise the bulk of this book, there's lots more. Overall, the author does a masterful job of explaining how Anderson developed her musical talent and the struggles she faced in seeking acceptance in the U.S. (she was a much bigger star overseas, particularly in Scandinavia).

My only gripe is that the author seemed to run out of steam in his narrative after the DAR allowed Anderson to sing at Constitution Hall, for example, summarizing the last 50 years of her life in one chapter. I would like to have learned more, for instance, about her role in performing with the Metropolitan Opera, the first black opera singer to do so, though well past her prime (and what a shame it was that this offer to her did not happen earlier in her career).

This book certainly is not without its flaws but oh so interesting, a book that left me wanting to know more. For example, when Anderson was performing at Princeton, I think it was, no hotel would let her stay so Albert Einstein offered her a place to stay and they became lifelong friends. I need to track down her autobiography and learn more about her life.
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on May 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some of the most revealing books published in recent years relate to detailed and complex explanations of singular events. I am reminded especially of such classic works as David Hackett Fischer's "Washington's Crossing" (Oxford, 2004) and Beverly Gage's "The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror" (Oxford, 2009). The well-known historian of civil rights in the United States, Raymond Arsenault, follows this same path in his latest work, "The Sound of Freedom." Arsenault takes the experience of singer Marian Anderson's concert before 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Easter Sunday 1939 to explore not only this significant event but the trajectory of civil rights in the U.S. in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

Marian Anderson, a Philadelphia native, performed in this setting because she had been barred from a performance at the Daughters of the American Revolution-controlled Constitution Hall in Philadelphia because of her race. Eleanor Roosevelt was outraged, resigned from membership in the DAR, and instigated a national debate over black-white relations in America. This concert resulted from that episode.

But the real climax of the story came in 1963 when Anderson performed in the Martin Luther King-led March on Washington. That time, her audience was more than 300,000 and the Civil Rights Crusade was helping to change the American landscape in ways not truly appreciated until many years later.

Arsenault's book is not a biography of Marian Anderson, although there is considerable information about her life and career contained in it. If you are seeking a biography, "The Sound of Freedom" is not really the best place to look.
Read more ›
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

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?