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God Bless America – The Surprising History of an Iconic Song - Oxford Scholarship Online
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God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song

Sheryl Kaskowitz


This book tells the surprising story of “God Bless America.” It begins with the song’s early history, from its composition in 1918 by Irving Berlin and its premiere performance by Kate Smith in 1938, then traces its reception, uses, and shifting meanings from the years preceding the United States’ entry into World War II, to its sudden popularity in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Moving to the present day, it explores the song’s recent use within professional baseball as a case study to understand the song’s varied functions and meanings in contemporary American life. The song’s hi ... More

Keywords: God Bless America, Irving Berlin, Kate Smith, communal singing, popular music, September 11, baseball, war, assimilation, American culture

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199919772
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199919772.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sheryl Kaskowitz, author
Providence College