Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture

Emerson, Ken

Published by Simon & Schuster, 1997
ISBN 10: 0684810107 / ISBN 13: 9780684810102
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*First Printing (# line starts at 1). Hardcover in Fine condition, has a smidgen of light page edge soiling otherwise fine, whistle-clean and unmarked, covers are pristine and stiff; Dust Jacket is Fine and has a small few under-side stains that do not show through, and is unclipped and price-intact ($30.00). From the inside dj flap -- "Stephen Foster was America's first great songwriter. The composer of classics such as 'Oh! Susanna,' Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,' 'Beautiful Dreamer,' 'My Old Kentucky Home,' Old Folks at Home,' and 'Camptown Races,' Foster virtually invented popular music as we recognize it to this day. Yet by his death in 1864, at the early death of thirty-seven, he was all but forgotten. Foster's life was riddled with contradictions. Although his songs celebrated the rural South, he scarcely set foot there, spending most of his life in Pittsburgh, the smoky cradle of America's industrial revolution. He won fame by writing blackface minstrel songs, doing what white boys from Irving Berlin to Elvis Presley to Michael Bolton have been doing ever since: mimicking black music. Yet the best of his songs transcended burnt-cork caricature and expressed a profound sympathy for African Americans that even Frederick Douglas applauded. Foster's yearning for respectability drove him to write genteel love songs, but these ballads were belied by his own broken marriage. Unable to equal the success of his earlier hits, he died a nearly penniless alcoholic on the Bowery.". Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: A definitive portrait of Stephen Foster offers a close-up study of the classic songwriter whose works included "Oh, Susanna" and "Beautiful Dreamer," a troubled man who died a penniless alcoholic at age thirty-seven but whose music helped to create American popular culture. 17,500 first printing.

Review: Ken Emerson's thickly textured narrative features an affectionate examination of American music's diverse strands as well as a perceptive portrait of the nation's first great songwriter. Stephen Foster (1826-64) was born in Pittsburgh and visited the South only briefly, yet songs like "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Oh! Susanna" drew on black Southern culture to create a uniquely American form of popular music. The author is clear-sighted about the complex blend of racism and genuine compassion that infused Foster's "blackface" compositions.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of ...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine -
Edition: 1st Edition

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