Friday, December 16, 2011

What is Michael Broyles reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Michael Broyles, author of Beethoven in America.

His entry begins:
In addition to music, my two passions are history and photography. I am currently reading Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. It’s a massive book, 1130 pages, physically fatter than any paperback should be. Johnson writes in an engaging style, and it is fascinating to read a Britisher’s take on American history. I have worked my way up to the Civil War, and Johnson is particularly adept at providing striking vignettes of important individuals. Most interesting was his depiction of Jefferson Davis, who viewed slavery from a moral, idealistic perspective, who practiced what he preached, but simply could not see the evils of the institution. Other vivid portraits are of Henry...[read on]
About Beethoven in America, from the publisher:
Beethoven permeates American culture. His image appears on countless busts and coffee mugs; his music is heard in movie scores, TV soundtracks, commercials, and pop songs; he is Schroeder’s god in Peanuts and Chuck Berry’s freaked-out parent in “Roll over Beethoven.” In this book, Michael Broyles seeks to understand the composer as he exists in the American imagination and explores how Beethoven became a cultural icon. Broyles examines Beethoven’s appearance in a variety of contexts: American commercialism, the Afrocentrist and black power movements, and the modernist critique of Romanticism. He considers portrayals of Beethoven in American film and theater and the uses of his music in film scores, as well as references to Beethoven and his music in disco, country, rock, and rap. In the end, he shows that to examine Beethoven on American soil is to examine America itself.
Learn more about Beethoven in America at the Indiana University Press website.

My Book, The Movie: Beethoven in America.

Writers Read: Michael Broyles.

--Marshal Zeringue