Irving Berlin

American Troubadour

Edward Jablonski

Henry Holt and Co.

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Although he could play piano in only one key--F-sharp--and never learned to read music, or to transcribe it, Irving Berlin published some eight hundred songs, dozens of them part of the enduring body of Broadway lore. Berlin was born in Russia in 1888, four years before his family emigrated to America and settled in New York City. His teenage years were spent working as a busker and singing waiter in the flamboyantly disreputable Bowery bars. Berlin published his first song in 1911. A prolific combination of genius and schmaltz, he would go on to compose some of the most popular songs--"White Christmas," "Easter Parade," "God Bless America"--and stage and screen musicals--There's No Business Like Show Business, Top Hat, Annie Get Your Gun--the stifling darkness of oppression, the greed of the ruling classes. For the world's elite, the near-universal adoption of capitalism today reveals history as a narrative of unbroken progress.

Avoiding conventional chronological accounts, The Twentieth Century is organized around the major themes of the last hundred years. To help us understand our recent past and probable future, Clive Ponting offers a "world systems" theory: A few core states have dominated much of the rest of the world, which provides raw materials and cheap labor, and remains tied to the core as virtual colonial territory. Between these extremes are Latin America, the Middle East, and eastern Asia, whose people have only a limited shot at self-determination as economic, social, and political differences between the core and periphery continue to grow.

The book's central theme revolves around the struggle between progress and barbarism; the hope for our future is that "our conscience will catch up with our reason." On the eve of the millennium this vivid history of the century is a must-read.

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Praise for Irving Berlin

"If you want a single book that is bound to tell you something you did not know about the 20th Century, and hold your interest, and make you think, this is the volume for you." (The Times (London))

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About the Author

Edward Jablonski

Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Wales, Clive Ponting is the author of several books, including A Green History of the World, which The Observer hailed as "the single book to engage the enthusiast, silence the cynic, enlighten the ignoramus."

Edward Jablonski

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Available Formats and Book Details

Irving Berlin
American Troubadour
Edward Jablonski

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
April 1999
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805040777
ISBN10: 0805040773
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 406 pages
$35.00
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From The Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.

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