Soldiers of Song: The Dumbells and Other Canadian Concert Parties of the First World War (Paperback)Jason Wilson (author)
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Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 258 g
Dimensions: 228 x 152 x 12 mm
"The Great War is remembered as a terrible and senseless conflict where a generation was put through the sausage-grinder of stalemate and slaughter. Nine million were killed, including more than sixty thousand Canadians. The civilian soldiers who formed the ranks of all armies suffered under terrible strain, but they found coping mechanisms in the midst of destruction. Laughter, humour, pranks, and songs helped them to endure. Meanwhile, behind the lines, concert and theatre groups offered humourous skits and performances to bolster morale. In Soldiers of Song Jason Wilson has produced a groundbreaking study of these concert parties, with a focus on the most successful of them, the Dumbells. Wilson, a scholar and two-time Juno Award nominee, has researched deeply to unearth and reconstruct the popular songs, irreverent jokes, and cutting barbs directed against the war effort, generals, and the enemy. His work reminds us that the more than 450,000 civilian soldiers who served overseas came from all professions, including actors, comics, and musicians, and that they too contributed to winning the war."--Tim Cook "Canada's History "
"Jason Wilson, an accomplished musician who has authored three previous books on Canadian history and culture, has written an outstanding book on the musical entertainment for Canadian soldiers during the First World War. Soldiers of Song discusses the Canadian 'concert parties' that performed during and after the war, with a focus primarily on the most well-known show, the Dumbells.... I was impressed by the author's ability to balance an historical approach with cultural analysis. This is in contrast to earlier works on concert parties, which are more descriptive. The author's extensive use of primary materials also makes the book a useful historical source on early-twentieth-century Canadian popular music.... Soldiers of Song is a valuable and insightful survey of wartime entertainment that also sheds light on Canadian music theatre of the early twentieth century. Reproductions of photographs of performers and performances are interspersed throughout, and there is an extensive list of sources and acknowledgements. Completing the presentation are nine appendices detailing the personalities, performances, and publication histories of the most prominent Canadian concert parties."--Sean Luyk, University of Alberta "CAML Review "
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