Gentry, Philip M.: What will I be: American music and Cold War identity

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Date: Sept. 2018
Publisher: American Library Association CHOICE
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 248 words

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Gentry, Philip M. What will I be: American music and Cold War identity. Oxford, 2018. 187p bibi index ISBN 9780190299590 cloth, $29.95; ISBN 9780190299606 ebook, contact publisher for price




Gentry (Univ. of Delaware) provides a thoughtful analysis of musical processes of identity in the US during the Cold War period. Offering four distinctive musical scenes of the time to confirm musical identity as practice, the author skillfully locates within each scene the tension between individual expression and group representation. Music, musicians, and listeners interacting within these tableaux project particular response(s) to an increasingly paranoid national body politic. Each musical scene sets the chapter topic, and Gentry unpacks their components as strategies for performing gendered, racialized, or sexual identities. All negotiate with white male anxiety over the emergence of diverse voices. Postwar musical agencies reveal pluralism more deeply than before. Doo-wop, for example, evokes a self-conscious "smoothing" of black masculinity. Doris Day represents submissive white female posturing to simmering white male violence. Similarly, Asian and gay musical otherness undertakes the political work of localized, regional practices against the backdrop of McCarthyism and the cultural politics of nationalism. Gentry effectively challenges rhetorical conventions of Anglo-European philosophies that cannot address cultural relevancies and relationships of marginalized groups for their contributions to American music and Cold War identity. Readers will appreciate Gentry's thorough assessment of methodologies and his nuanced interpretations. Summing Up: *** Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.--S. Schmalenberger, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul MN

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A552745073