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During World War II, American servicemen and women ubiquitously encountered music through films, radio, recordings, and concerts; significantly, however, they also encountered music in the published writings of the Armed Services Edition. The Armed Services Edition was an extensive undertaking in exigent publishing, issuing millions of copies of well over a thousand titles between 1943 and 1947 in a notably small and practical, lightweight format. The music texts, including works by David Ewen, Deems Taylor, Virgil Thomson, Benny Goodman, and Oscar Levant, offer not only a wide range of musical discussion, but read empathetically in the mindset of wartime servicemen and women abroad, a range of themes that take on heightened resonance in context: especially themes of musical Americanism, musical tropes of democracy, and the personal experience of war. This study examines the musical texts of the Armed Services Edition both to highlight one aspect of an extraordinary publishing venture, but more especially also to bring into focus the way in which musical discourse could interestingly become timely and resonant in wartime.


Should personal memory fail--and with the waning of the "Greatest Generation" (1) that prospect becomes increasingly real--film, recordings, and the popular press nonetheless continue to offer vivid reminders of the degree to which music figured prominently in the lives of Americans during World War II. Of the ubiquity of music during the war, Annegret Fauser observes:
   Whether as an instrument of blatant propaganda or as a means of
   entertainment, recuperation, and uplift, music pervaded homes and
   concert halls, army camps and government buildings, hospitals and
   factories. A medium both permeable and malleable, music was
   appropriated for numerous war-related tasks. Indeed, even more than
   movies, posters, books, and newspapers, music sounded everywhere in
   this war, not only in its live manifestations but also through
   recordings and radio. (2)

While the sound of the swing bands of the 1940s are immediately and enduringly iconic of the period, it is significant that for members of the armed forces, music was present in their lives not only through film, radio, recordings, concerts, and published sheet music, but also through a number of writings about music, especially books published in the Armed Services Edition (ASE). As described below, the Armed Services Edition was an extensive undertaking in exigent publishing, unusually pragmatic in its material and form, and valuable as material documents in the history of American publishing. But more especially, the texts of the books on music, read empathetically in the mindset of wartime servicemen abroad, treat a number of themes that would have particular resonance in that circumstance. In bringing those themes together here--themes of musical Americanism, musical tropes of democracy, references to the world situation, the experience of separation and loneliness, and the personal experience of war--we come to appreciate that the books about music powerfully intertwine with larger issues of national identity and the war experience.


During the war years, widespread, unfettered reading functioned symbolically, providing a response-in-kind to the intellectual constraints dictated by fascism. But more directly, books were decidedly important in maintaining morale, as they offered distraction from tedium, anxiety, and the woes of separation, and in some cases a measure of inspiration to face the challenges that war imposed. The effects of wartime reading naturally varied. It is easy to imagine that reading would offer degrees of solace and uplift, as we appreciate in a letter from a soldier to Betty Smith, author of the very popular 1943 novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Upon reading the novel the soldier found that "A surge of confidence has swept through me and I feel that maybe a fellow has a fighting chance in this world after all." (3) In other cases, the reading provided absorbing distraction, as well. The future president, George H. W. Bush, then a young navy pilot, wrote to his parents on 16 September 1944 that "I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately. 'Retreat from Rostov' [Paul Hughes, 1943]; and Dos Passo's [sic] 'Number One' [1943] plus 'Captain from Connecticut' [C. S. Forester, 1941] and now 'The Robe' [Lloyd C. Douglas, 1941]. The latter appeals to me a great deal. So far I have only read a hundred pages or so but it has been deeply absorbing." (4) Bush's letter was written a mere two weeks following his raid on Chi Chi Jima and subsequent rescue at sea, heroics that earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. One might imagine that the need for something "deeply absorbing" was great.

Unsurprisingly, then, supplying books for the armed forces became an important task. In the wake of the Victory Book Campaign, a book drive donation program that ran--not without problems--from 1942 to 1943, (5) the Council on Books in Wartime, a committee of American publishers, launched the Armed Services Edition. (6) Publishing from 1943 to 1947, this program provided over 100 million copies of 1,322 different titles in very lightweight, pocket-sized volumes, small enough for easy portability in a military uniform pocket. (For scale, see figures 1 and 2.) With over 100 million copies issued, it is significant that today there is only one complete collection, that in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, and a nearly complete collection in the Special Collections of the University of Alabama. There are substantial holdings, as well, in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University, whose library also houses the files of the Council on Books in Wartime. (7) But several factors have contributed to the relative rarity of the volumes, most notably the material fragility of the books, whose lightweight paper and paper binding undermine endurance. And additionally, any unshipped stock of books at war's end was to be destroyed as a protection to the original publishers' interests. (8)

Armed Services Edition books were shipped abroad monthly in sets of twenty to forty titles, and generally distributed in a first-come, first-serve fashion. The list of titles--the vast majority were reprints of full texts, and were proclaimed as that on the book cover (see figure 1)--was curated by the publishers involved, although subject to government review, (9) and attempted to meet a broad range of taste and experience, to give servicemen what they wanted to have, and also to offer "new books and books of enduring value." (10)

At the literary end of the scale were works by Henry Adams, Sherwood Anderson, Charlotte Bronte, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, James Michener, John Steinbeck, and Henry David Thoreau, poetry by John Keats and A. E. Housman, and the classic voice of Homer in the Odyssey. Kathleen Winsor's Restoration novel, Forever Amber, and Lilian Smith's Strange Fruit--both from 1944--provided popular sexual themes, as did Erskine Caldwell's God's Little Acre. Books on the military ranged from Albert Maisel's Miracles of Military Medicine and Harry Butcher's My Three Years with Eisenhower, to the comic cartoons of George Baker's "Sad Sack."

Humor was amply represented with works by James Thurber, Leo Rosten, Max Shulman, and H. Allen Smith; mystery writers included Raymond Chandler, Erie Stanley Gardner, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout, and Dorothy Sayers. Some titles were practical and educational, such as William Roberts's Psychology You Can Use and John Wharton's The Theory and Practice of Earning a Living. And westerns were abundant from Max Brand, Peter Field, Zane Grey, Ernest Haycox, Clarence Mulford, and William Raine, amounting to sixty-eight titles.

The range of titles reflects the breadth of background in the military. Fauser observes that "college men" comprised ten percent of the WWII draftees, with the rest being high school graduates, dropouts, and those with only an elementary education in equal proportions. (11) Significantly, however, reading proved important across the ranks and in a variety of settings, including the battlefield itself. For one soldier, Arnold Gates, Carl Sandburg's Storm over the Land, was a consoling companion at the Battle of Saipan; he recalled that "during the lulls in the battle I would read what he [Sandburg] wrote about another war and found a great deal of comfort and reassurance." (12) And as a measure of the scale of distribution in battle theaters, the fact that upon boarding transport for the Normandy invasion each soldier received a book is dramatic evidence. (13)


Music fared well in the list of ASE publications. Fourteen titles, (14) given in table 1, were devoted to music or drew on musical themes. The breadth of the list reflects the wide range in the military readership. Unsurprisingly, jazz is well represented with works of scholarship from Robert Goffin, Frederic Ramsey Jr., and Charles E. Smith--Ramsey and Smith's Jazzmen, an account teeming with people and places, is one of the first scholarly books on jazz--collected journalism with two Esquire retrospectives, Dorothy Baker's Young Man with a Horn, the first jazz novel, (15) an autobiography by Benny Goodman, assisted by the eminent critic Irving Kolodin who occasionally steps in "from above," and a biography of George Gershwin by the prolific writer David Ewen. (16) Ewen also is represented by Men of Popular Music. And while the subject matter itself represents a democratization of the list, Ewen is unable to avoid a paternalistic view creeping in. This surfaces in a discussion of scales of value:
   After all, popular music does not aspire to accomplish what serious
   music does. Popular music is primarily, entertainment; it is an
   avenue of escape, an ivory tower. It never hopes to uplift its
   listeners, to move, to exalt, to inspire, in the way that Bach,
   Mozart, Beethoven, and Wagner do. That this is a serious flaw--and
   one which must be remedied before popular music achieves
   greatness--does not weaken my position. In short, popular music has
   a sphere of its own, a limited one, but within that sphere it has
   importance and validity. (17)

Classical music takes several forms on the list. Deems Taylor's two books, Of Men and Music and The Well-Tempered Listener, are based on his popular radio broadcasts for the New York Philharmonic, and are congenially accesible for it. His knack for harnessing nontechnical language and imagery in the service of thoughtful description serves him well, as in this view of Bruckner and Mahler:
   It is a pity that he [Bruckner] and Mahler could not have been
   merged into one. He could have given Mahler the pregnant musical
   ideas that Mahler so much needed, and Mahler could have developed
   the ideas as they deserved to be developed. Of the two, Bruckner is
   the sadder figure. Mahler's tragedy was personal; with all his
   eloquence, he could not think of what to say. Bruckner had much to
   say, but mumbled it hastily and indistinctly, so that we lost
   something that we should have been the richer for having heard.

Virgil Thomson's much practiced polemical bent gives more edge to his The State of Music, a work in which, as he describes it, "I am trying to tell in this roundabout way what it feels like to be a musician. Mostly it is a feeling of being different from everybody but other musicians and of inhabiting with them a closed world." (19) His sharpened barb is flung at a number of targets, sometimes with verbal hauteur, as here discussing the teaching of music theory: "The elements of musical theory (that is to say harmony, counterpoint, fugue, and musical analysis) should be taught, as they are not always now, by trained seals, which is to say by persons especially prepared for that drill-work, by pure pedagogues." (20)

Other books on the list are harder to typify, such as Oscar Levant's wry memoir, A Smattering of Ignorance. Levant was an accustomed traveler between the worlds of classical music and Hollywood, and his book, like his life, admits few boundaries, ranging from his teacher, Arnold Schoenberg, to Harpo Marx with ease. Gerald Johnson's A Little Night Music is also one of a kind, a set of theme and variations on the subject of amateurism, rendered within a musical frame. The author, a longtime colleague of H. L. Mencken at the Baltimore Sun, and later a columnist for the New Republic, writes adroitly with language to savor and relish. Memorable examples are easy to find. Here he is, for instance, writing on the necessity of social music making:
   It may be used as a partial substitute for and a powerful
   reinforcement of good liquor. You may converse with a man all an
   evening and still part total strangers. But you cannot play music
   with him, or drink with him for an evening, without learning a
   great deal about the way he is made.... [T]he good music the
   machines provide is only so much tea--it cheers but doesn't
   inebriate. It takes the bad music you play yourself to send you
   reeling and happy to bed. (21)

Or, acknowledging the depth of his amateur state, there is this gem of self-deprecation: "The fire of genius that burned in the young Mozart, if it ever touched me, encountered an asbestos soul which emerged not even slighdy charred." (22)

Reading the the music books collectively today, one quickly discovers a number of themes that would have sparked strong resonance when read during the war years, and especially so, one imagines, when read in military service. For instance, the texts refer to the world situation--not all that surprising in that the books are all from the strifeful mid-1930s to the mid-1940s--and some books detail experiences to which servicemen might easily and poignantly relate. In others one finds a striking sense of Americanism and musical democracy emerging. Together the themes unite to allow us to find in the books not only the expected musical discourse, but also a strong measure of music writing's ability to connect with the wartime circumstances.

References to the world situation occur in various guises as the three examples from Johnson and Ewen below show. Johnson, in considering a legacy for his children that would endure, counterposes music with the ephemera of the world. Although written in the 1930s, his political references to fascism would have become especially pointed during the war. He writes: "Put not your trust in princes"--most emphatically not in princes of the present day. Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler may be great men. There are millions who have staked their very lives on the belief. Yet in the perspective of fifty years they may be as difficult to descry as General Boulanger and Dr. Jameson are today. (23)

Sometimes the writing offers a glimpse of music across the enemy lines. Ewen, for example, points to the surprising persistence of the music of the Jewish George Gershwin in Nazi Germany. "Even in Nazi Germany, where Gershwin's music is officially tabu because he was not an Aryan, he is admired--surreptitiously, of course. The Countess Waldeck, in her book Athene Palace, quotes a high Nazi official as saying: "Do you know there is not one of us who has not a Gershwin record in the bottom of a drawer which he plays sometimes late at night?" (24)

Other instances point to the way that music interacted with the pervading political angst. Writing about Duke Ellington, Ewen notes the fears in Europe in the late 1930s and music's capacity to calm them: "In 1939 he [Ellington] gave twenty-eight concerts on as many consecutive nights in France, Holland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, sending the European capdals--over which hovered the dark shadow of impending war--into a jazz orgy that momentarily lightened their fears." (25) The examples here, touching on the ephemerality of the Axis leaders (and Stalin), the persistence of the music of a Jewish composer in politically unlikely places, and music's power to calm an increasingly fretful world, provide direct and familiar connection to the wartime circumstance.

Not all political references led in the direction of the wartime binary. For example, with a sneer at the ignobility of government, Virgil Thomson asserts the independence of art from politics. And in that independence there is a pragmatic acceptance of government, presumably of whatever stripe, that may have rankled during the war years.
   We are often asked to wonder how the composer, an intellectual, can
   accept life under an ignominious government. I assure you that
   isn't the problem in censorious countries today. The problem is
   getting the government to accept you. If the composer can eat and
   work, accepting the government is easy as pie. All governments are
   ignoble, at least all I've ever seen or heard of.... The ways of
   holding an audience's attention by musical sounds are not numerous.
   But they are in no way whatsoever connected with any political
   theory. The practice and transmission of such knowledge as exists
   about these is the business of the musical profession and must
   remain the business of the musical profession under any system of
   government. Advances in civilization ... depend not upon getting
   everything absorbed into politics, but on separating wherever
   possible and keeping separate from political tinkering all the
   knowledge there is about matters that are not any different no
   matter what political plans are on the fire. (26)

Thomson's remarks obviously pull music away from the contemporary political fray; during the war, with so much energetically invested in that political fray, however, his view could seem to challenge stereotypical patriotic paradigms.

Poignandy, some of the texts speak to a personal experience of the war: experiences that had musical implications. For example, the Belgian writer and ardent jazz devotee, Robert Goffin, sadly recalls: "The Bible tells us that when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, God saved the innocent and allowed them to flee the cities. Three years ago [1940] something of the kind happened in Belgium--though when Hider took over not all the innocent were able to flee. Luckily, I escaped. The penalty I paid was to lose my collection of 3,000 phonograph records." (27)

Goffin's experience points to the effect of the war on phonograph collections and collecting, and in his case, the effect was huge. Signiflcandy, collecting did continue during the war years, but was skewed toward recent recordings. And in another ASE Esquire article, George Hoefer explains how this was the result of material constraint and wartime shortages:
   There is a record shortage due to the war just as there are
   shortages in all commodities. The world conflict has even caused a
   scarcity of records made twenty years ago. This comes about due to
   the fact that shortly after Pearl Harbor the supply of shellac from
   the South Pacific was cut off by the Japanese. In order to allay
   this shortage, a plan was devised to call in all available old
   records for melting down to extract the shellac. There is no doubt
   but what a great many keenly sought after jazz records went into
   the reclaiming vats at the large record plants. (28)

Not all references to the world situation were serious in tone. Oscar Levant, whose verbal wryness was famous, used the model of fascism to image the modern conductor's power trip: "Such a conductor invariably enters unexpectedly ... clothed in a black half smock buttoned to the chin, providing a perfect stage setting for the indispensable II Duce frown." (29) The caricature lampoons an excessive presumption of authority, and this surely was something to which men in the ranks as well as men in a string section might relate.

Occasionally the books share a personal experience that could only have seemed sadly familiar to servicemen abroad. Dorothy Caruso's biography of her husband, the great tenor Enrico, includes many transcriptions of letters, and to those overseas who also relied on correspondence to bridge painful distances, Enrico's letters would surely strike a special chord. The touring life of the world's premiere tenor brought letters full of the difficulty of separation and the challenges it imposes. For example, writing from Mexico City (11 October 1919), Enrico writes his wife, Dorothy: "Ah, dear, you don't imagine how I want to come home. It seems that I am here from a thousand years and every moment I count the days that must pass." (30) A year later (7 October 1920), writing enroute from Omaha to Denver, he movingly tells her:
   If I tell you something, perhaps you don't beleive [sic] me, but I
   will tell you just the same. Far away from you I have a sentiment
   of fraidness. I do not know what is this but I feel like a boy
   without protection. What is this then? Can you explain? At this
   feeling I add the one of my work and, been far away from you, my
   life is the most miserable one. (31)

Certainly many soldiers overseas could well have understood this form of misery from their own experience, and perhaps took some consolation in it being a shared suffering.

One can easily imagine that things in the books that spoke to Americanism would have been read by many with a receptive patriotism, and these kinds of references were diverse. For example, American popular song was sometimes held to be the embodiment of something singularly and experientially "American." Ewen's description of Gershwin is a clear rendition of this familiar trope:
   He [Gershwin] loved the classics; Habitzer's teaching had not been
   in vain. But American popular music--this, he began to feel, was
   his music. The world of the classic composers, beautiful though it
   was, was a different world from the one George knew: an old world,
   sedate, serene, well-mannered, inspiring him to quiet reveries. But
   this son of the city streets was coming to understand better and
   better that American popular song expressed the things that formed
   his everyday exerience, spoke his language. (32)

Gershwin himself saw his music reflecting this singularity. Of Rhapsody in Blue he observed that "I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America--of our vast melting pot of our incomparable national pep, our blues, our metropolitan madness." (33) However, more formidable than Gershwin's kaleidoscopic reflection of the American experience is the notion that the core dynamic of jazz--its improvisation--is itself, in its appeal to individual freedom, qualitatively American. The idea is powerfully articulated by Benny Goodman and Irving Kolodin:
   [T]he most important element [of swing] is still improvisation, the
   liberty a soloist has to stand up and play a chorus in the way he
   feels--sometimes good, sometimes bad, but still as an expression of
   himself rather than of somebody else who wrote something for him.
   If you want to put it this way it's something genuinely American,
   because it's the expression of an individual--a kind of free speech
   in music. (34)

President Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union Address famously articulated the four freedoms that would be foundational in the postwar world. There could be little doubt but that if America entered the war, it would be to secure the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. Thus, in a powerful way, to an ASE reader, jazz itself--an emblem of freedom of speech--could be perceived, at least symbolically, as one of the things for which he was fighting.

If music can embody Americanism and democracy in these various ways, the range of musical styles itself seems well to reflect the trope of America as the proverbial "melting pot." And in the texts we find interesting ways in which the boundaries between these styles are eased, the distance between types bridged; this, in turn, seems to reflect a musical democracy. In reality, musical society then as now had not reached a point of "all styles are created equal"--there remains a sense of high and low--but nevertheless the degree of eclecticism is not devoid of meaning. It points to a commonwealth of styles that approaches a democratic spirit. Certainly musical performers crossed boundaries. Ewen records: "A ... significant effort to bring jazz into the realm of good music took place when on November 1, 1923, the singer Eva Gauthier included in her song recital (together with works by Purcell, Byrd, Bellini, Bartok, Schoenberg, Hindemith, and Milhaud) a group devoted exclusively to popular songs by Berlin, Kern, and Gershwin." (35)

Hollywood musicians well exemplified the porosity of boundaries. Writing of film studio orchestrators, Levant notes their keeness to "keep up with developments elsewhere in the musical world." So much so that they
   obtained every important new score as soon as it was available,
   with the result that Hindemith's "Mathis der Maler" was known in
   Hollywood before it was played in Carnegie Hall. They frequently
   had meetings at each other's houses, when they would play records,
   break down the instrumentation of certain passages, discuss the
   techniques of the writing and make notes on the effects that were
   introduced in the scores. (36)

In a volley against over refinement for one's own good, B. S. Rogers also asserts the democracy of musical taste:
   [S]ince an appreciation of Mozart doesn't preclude an appreciation
   of jazz, intelligent people can and do enjoy it. They do so not in
   a spirit of slumming, but because no matter how cultivated you may
   be you are also capable of unsophisticated emotions--of raw tempos,
   simple melancholy, violent passion, and slapstick comedy, and even
   moments of vulgarity. And surely you are capable of being delighted
   and moved by fantastic musical colors and extremely complex yet
   basically savage rhythms. If you aren't, you are too refined to
   live in this world. (37)

In his chapter on the iconic figure Harpo Marx, Levant sets a high bar, indeed, for boundary crossing when he records a dinner party hosted by Marx to which he had invited Arnold Schoenberg alongside the comedic actresses Beatrice Lillie and Fannie Brice. (38) The table conversation between the father figure of dodecaphony, the king of tacet film inanity, and "Baby Snooks" makes the imagination reel. One is tempted to say, "only in America" (or perhaps more likely, "only in Hollywood"), but that is precisely the point.

This is echoed in another example from Levant who records the conductor Leopold Stokowski's desire, upon arriving in Hollywood, to have dinner with Harpo Marx and Irving Berlin. Levant was at the dinner, as well, acting as a "sort of enharmonic modulation between the world of popular music inhabited by Harpo and Berlin and concert music represented by Stokowski." (39) This "enharmonic modulation" presumably enabled an easy coexistence between the different musical worlds represented at the table, and in larger context again reinforced the image of a democratically inclined, musical melting pot.

That the ASE books provided entertainment, solace, distraction, and inspiration does not surprise. It is interesting, however, that in the musical texts one often finds these compelling constructions of Americanism and musical manifestations of a democratic spirit--the kinds of things that, read in the theater of war, would directly or indirectly nurture a patriotic sense of the things that were under assault by the nation's enemies. Thus, here in the musical texts, one finds not just distraction, not just cultural education, not just nostalgic glimpses of the soundscape at home, but in a striking way a construction of national identity. As that identity revolves around the notion of democracy, it is important to perceive the various democratic tropes nesting within one another: political democracy, musical democracy, and ... the democracy of reading. Broadening our understanding of the significance of this distinctive publishing endeavor, we see that through the ASE, books and reading ceased to be the sole preserve of the well-educated and the well-heeled. Available throughout the ranks, available to all, books became newly common. As Appelbaum records:
   The books belonged to the soldiers themselves. They passed them
   around. They sliced them apart to share in installments. They read
   them aloud to their buddies. Literature, no longer restricted to
   those who could afford it, became their common possession. A
   fighter pilot in the China-Burma-India theater reported that his
   British counterparts found the program "smashing," helpfully
   translating that as "super-dooper." The Armed Services Editions
   had, he wrote, "put good literature on a democratic (small d) level
   that it has never enjoyed before." (40)

The democratized habit of reading would shape the postwar years, as well, in no litde way thanks to the ASE. Not only was there now a newly broad readership to which the publishing industry could look, but the ASE had additionally helped establish the viability of paperback publishing. Paperback editions had offered serious literature only since 1939, with Penguins and Pocket Books challenging the old paradigm of paperbacks as the province of "cheap mysteries, westerns, and comics." (41) By the end of the run of the ASE, any dissonance between materiality and the quality of the text would have disappeared, and inexpensive editions, with the success of the ASE as a model, could now meet the need of a reading democracy they had helped to foster.

Steven Plank is the Andrew B. Meldrum Professor and chair of the Department of Musicology at Oberlin College, where he has taught since 1980. The author of several books, The Way to Heavens Doore (1994), Choral Performance: A Guide to Historical Practice (2004), and (with Charles McGuire) Historical Dictionary of English Music, ca. 1400-1958 (2011), he is also a contributor to various journals, including Early Music, The Musical Times, Music & Letters, and American Music. In 2009 he received the Thomas Binkley Award from Early Music America for his work directing the Oberlin Collegium Musicum.

(1.) The phrase was coined admiringly by journalist Tom Brokaw for the generation that grew up as children of the Depression, and came to an early maturity in World War II. See Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation (New York: Random House, 1998).

(2.) Annegret Fauser, Sounds of War: Music in the United States during World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 3.

(3.) In Joanna Scutts's interview with author Molly Guptill Manning, "How Books Became a Critical Part of the Fight to Win World War II," Smithsonian, 22 December 2014, at /history/how-books-became-critical-part-fight-win-world-war-ii-180953689/ (accessed 18 May 2018).

(4.) War Letters, ed. Andrew Carroll (New York: Scribner's, 2001), 253. Bush's reading went beyond the offerings of the ASE: Neither Number One nor the Retreat from Rostov was published in the series.

(5.) See Molly Guptill Manning, When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), 33, 53; and Joanna Scutts, Smithsonian. In terms of quantity this volunteer program was robust, but book quality was an issue, as was the impracticality of shipping the typically hardbound volumes.

(6.) For accounts of the Armed Services Edition, see Yoni Appelbaum, "Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books During World War II," The Atlantic, 10 September 2014, at https://www.theadantic .com/business/archive/2014/09/publishers-gave-away-12295103 l-books-during-world-war-ii/379893/ (accessed 18 May 2018); Books in Action: The Armed Services Edition, ed. John Y. Cole (Washington, DC: the Library of Congress, 1984); Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); John Jamieson, Books for the Army: The Army Library Service in the Second World War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1950); and Manning, When Books Went to War.

(7.) Cole, Books in Action, 31.

(8.) See Michael Hackenberg, "The Armed Services Edition in Publishing History" in Cole, Books in Action, 17.

(9.) Manning, When Books Went to War, 79.

(10.) Publisher W. W. Norton, quoted in Appelbaum, "Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books."

(11.) Fauser, Sounds of War, 106.

(12.) In Cole, Books in Action, viii.

(13.) Cole, Books in Action, 9.

(14.) Jamieson, Books for the Army, p. 152, incorrectly lists only eleven titles in the category "Music and the Arts."

(15.) The novel is inspired by the music of Bix Beiderbecke, and was later made into a Hollywood feature film starring Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, and Lauren Bacall (1950).

(16.) The Gershwin biography interestingly points to the need to provide for readers with little experience in reading. Its style adopts the narrative dialogue of the juvenile school room. And Ewen acknowledges an original youth audience when he writes, "My memory, for example, reaches back to the year of 1919 [age 11] when I spent a brief holiday in a summer resort in the Catskill Mountains. I was then not much older than many of you who are now reading this book." Ewen, The Story of George Gershwin (New York: Henry Holt, 1943), 177-78. The publication of two of his works in the ASE moved Ewen personally, as he was then in the armed forces himself, "and knew only too well what a solace books could be." Cole, Books in Action, 9.

(17.) David Ewen, Men of Popular Musk (Chicago: Ziff-Davis, 1944), 10.

(18.) Deems Taylor, Of Men and Music (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1937), 181.

(19.) Virgil Thomson, TheStale of Music (New York: W. Morrow, 1939), 14.

(20.) Ibid., 114.

(21.) Gerald Johnson, A Little Night Music (New York: Harper Bros., 1934; ASE), 12.

(22.) Ibid., 53.

(23.) Ibid., 89.

(24.) Ewen, Gershwin, 176.

(25.) Ewen, Popular Music, 96.

(26.) Thomson, The State of Music, 168-69.

(27.) Esquire's 1944Jazz Book, ed. Paul Eduard Miller (New York: Da Capo Press, 1979), 64.

(28.) Esquire's 1945Jazz Book, ed. Paul Eduard Miller (New York: Da Capo Press, 1979), 44.

(29.) Oscar Levant, A Smattering of Ignorance (New York: Doubleday, 1940), 10.

(30.) Dorothy Caruso, Enrico Caruso: His Life and Death (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945), 115.

(31.) Ibid., 120.

(32.) Ewen, Gershwin, 31.

(33.) Ewen, Popular Music, 133.

(34.) Benny Goodman and Irving Kolodin, The Kingdom of Swing (New York: Stackpole Sons; Armed Services Editions, 1939; reprint F. Ungar, 1961), 237-38. Echoing the view, "Daniel Gregory Mason, never one of jazz's advocates, confessed that it had 'a kind of democratic inclusiveness and Whitmanesque cordiality.' " Ewen, Popular Music, 115.

(35.) Ewen, Popular Music, 109-10.

(36.) Levant, Smattering of Ignorance, 122.

(37.) Esquire 1944, 45.

(38.) Levant, Smattering of Ignorance, 65.

(39.) Ibid., 75-76.

(40.) Appelbaum, "Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books."

(41.) Ibid.

Caption: Figure 1

Caption: Figure 2
Table 1. Music books published in the Armed Service
Edition. ASE numbers reflect the order of publication,
with the hybrid alphabetic-numerical designations preceding
the solely numerical ones. As the table here shows, some
titles were reprinted in the ASE, as for example the two
works by David Ewen.

Author                       Title

Dorothy Baker                Young Man with a Horn
Dorothy Caruso               Enrico Caruso
David Ewen                   Men of Popular Music
David Ewen                   The Story of George Gershwin
Robert Goffin                Jazz
Benny Goodman                The Kingdom of Swing
  & Irving Kolodin
Gerald Johnson               A Little Night Music
Oscar Levant                 A Smattering of Ignorance
Paul E. Miller, ed.          Esquire's Jazz Book [1944]
Paul E. Miller, ed.          Esquire's 1945 Jazz Book
Frederic Ramsey Jr.          Jazzmen
  & Charles E. Smith, eds.
Deems Taylor                 Of Men and Music
Deems Taylor                 The Well-Tempered Listener
Virgil Thomson               The State of Music

Author                       Orig. Date   ASE no.

Dorothy Baker                1938         S-10
Dorothy Caruso               1945         1070
David Ewen                   1944         T-4 & 1150
David Ewen                   1943         Q-3 & 1059
Robert Goffin                1944         920
Benny Goodman                1939         P-10
  & Irving Kolodin
Gerald Johnson               1934         735
Oscar Levant                 1940         T-7
Paul E. Miller, ed.          1944         676
Paul E. Miller, ed.          1945         1000
Frederic Ramsey Jr.          1939         726
  & Charles E. Smith, eds.
Deems Taylor                 1937         R-23
Deems Taylor                 1940         1103
Virgil Thomson               1939         1023
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Author:Plank, Steven
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Date:Sep 1, 2018

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