Irving Berlin New York Genius James Kaplan

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
14 Jan 2020
ISBN:
9780300180480
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
416 pages: 210 x 146mm
Illustrations:
1 b-w illus.

Irving Berlin (1888–1989) has been called—by George Gershwin, among others—the greatest songwriter of the golden age of the American popular song. “Berlin has no place in American music,” legendary composer Jerome Kern wrote; “he is American music.” In a career that spanned an astonishing nine decades, Berlin wrote some fifteen hundred tunes, including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “God Bless America,” and “White Christmas.” From ragtime to the rock era, Berlin’s work has endured in the very fiber of American national identity.

Exploring the intertwining of Berlin’s life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. This fast-paced, musically opinionated biography uncovers Berlin’s unique brilliance as a composer of music and lyrics. Masterfully written and psychologically penetrating, Kaplan’s book underscores Berlin’s continued relevance in American popular culture.

James Kaplan has been writing noted biography, journalism, and fiction for more than four decades. The author of Frank: The Voice, the definitive two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, he has written more than one hundred major profiles of figures ranging from Miles Davis to Meryl Streep, from Arthur Miller to Larry David.

“This is biography at its very best—the story of a fascinating character brought to life as never before through superb writing, impeccable research and penetrating insight. It is a terrific book.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin, on Frank: The Voice