Ian Whitcomb's theme is the creation of American popular music in the early years of this century, the music which in its many guises -- from ragtime to foxtrot, to boogie-woogie to rock 'n' roll, from swing to rhythm and blues -- has provided the pulse and beat of Western civilization. At the center of that creative turmoil that gave rise to this music was Irving Berlin.
This is partly the story of Berlin's early years and rapid rise to Ragtime King, and partly an account of the policies that the Russian Czarist court contributed, unwittingly, to the creation of the popular music of the 20th century.
"Fast-paced, deeply researched, and packed with information, IRVING BERLIN AND RAGTIME AMERICA is surprising, original and highly entertaining." (B-O-T Editorial Review Board)