Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound

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University of Illinois Press, 2003 - Music - 308 pages
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This book examines the nexus between religion and politics, considered in one of its most controversial aspects. The starting point is the 2001 attack on the United States, which a Canadian commentator ingeniously described as the ‘passion of America’. This designation suggested an interesting inquiry into other so-called national passions: the notion of the Christ-nation crucified by evil powers because of its higher virtue. … This motif is explored by analyzing five modern nationalisms that have employed Christian symbolism in this manner: Poland, France, Germany, Ireland and Palestine. The author investigates the way in which fundamental Christian concepts are distorted and corrupted in the process, and points to the inherent dangers of this form of political self-glorification. Poets, philosophers, novelists and preachers have all played a major part in promoting the idea of the Christ-nation at certain times, mostly in the nineteenth century but also today. Famous examples are Adam Mickiewicz in Poland, Victor Hugo in France, the patriotic Lutherans during the First World War in Germany, Patrick Pearse in Ireland and certain Palestinian nationalist poets today. … The clash of cultures, religions, nationalisms and civilizations in the world today is ever more strident. The passion narratives of the five nations are interwoven with historical circumstance in order to cast light on the endurance and power of the narratives, to arrive at a final critique and ‘tract for the times’.

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This book's insights into the history and meaning of "bluegrass" are easy to understand but fascinating and eloquent...hehehe, I am not going to lie, I am only a high-schooler working on my junior thesis research paper on bluegrass, but this book cleared a lot up for me and was actually quite interesting. 


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About the author (2003)

Robert Cantwell teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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