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Some of My Favorite Record and Music Related Books - Please Add On

Posted by rchecka 
Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 325
Status: Street Knowledge
avatar Re: Some of My Favorite Record and Music Related Books - Please Add On
August 14, 2018 02:24PM
La Tristesse de Saint Louis
Mike Zwerin, 1985

This well-written and researched book details the history of Jazz in Nazi Germany.

Jazz as an art form was first denounced as "degenerate" and finally outright banned under Hitler's regime. That didn't stop it from becoming an underground phenomenon though. If anything, it served as a form of protest music, as many people saw it as a way to show solidarity with the resistance movements throughout occupied Europe.

There's a lot to absorb in this book. There are stories from Luftwaffe pilots that would purposely circle BBC towers to finish hearing the broadcast of Glen Miller shows before unleashing their bombs on Britain, accounts of Django Reinhardt's refusal to leave France or at least quit playing the music that was putting him under harsh scrutiny, even as he saw his own people being shipped off to concentration camps. Maybe the most enlightening and heartbreaking of all is the story of the Ghetto Swingers, a group of Jewish Jazz musicians that played together in Auschwitz and Theresienstadt before many of them were murdered by the Nazis in the gas chambers.

Zwerin ends the book with a lengthy look at the continuing oppression in the world, particularly through the lens of South Africa, where the brutal policies of Apartheid were in full swing at the time he wrote this. He draws striking parallels between the Nazi's denouncement of "degenerate" art and the South African governement's similar policies that were aimed at suppressing the creative involvement of anyone who wasn't white in the music scene.

This is a fascinating read, worth tracking down now more than ever as the world seems not to have learned a goddamned thing from our own recent history.

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