Cover image for Songs of the Vietnam conflict
Songs of the Vietnam conflict
Perone, James E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
ix, 168 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3477 .P45 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Offering the widest scope of any study of one of popular music's most important eras, Songs of the Vietnam Conflict treats both anti-war and pro-government songs of the 1960s and early 1970s, from widely known selections such as Give Peace a Chance and Blowin' in the Wind to a variety of more obscure works. These are songs that permeated the culture, through both recordings and performances at political gatherings and concerts alike, and James Perone explores the complex relationship between music and the society in which it is written. This music is not merely an indicator of the development of the American popular song; it both reflected and shaped the attitudes of all who were exposed to it.

Whereas in previous wars, musicians rallied behind the government in the way of Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber, the Vietnam conflict provoked anger, frustration, and rage, all of which comes through in the songs of the time. This reference work provides indispensable coverage of this phenomenon, in chapters devoted to Anti-War Songs, Pro-Government Songs, and what might be called Plight-of-the-Soldier (or Veteran) songs. A selected discography guides the reader to the most notable recordings, all of which, together, provide a unique and important perspective on perhaps the 20th century's most contentious time.

Author Notes

JAMES PERONE is Associate Professor of Music at Mount Union College, and the author of many books on music, including Paul Simon: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 2000), Carole King: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1999), and Orchestration Theory: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1996).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Perone (Mount Union College) explores a wide range of songs connected, in some fashion, with the Vietnam War in this first book-length study of the subject. After a brief background chapter, the author divides the music into two broad categories, "Anti-War Songs" and "Pro-Government and Plight-of-the-Soldier Songs." He touches on both popular songs--e.g., "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and "Ballad of the Green Berets"--and the most obscure. Many of the songs he includes were published in music magazines such as Broadside and Sing Out!, and some were recorded and reached a wider audience. Perone approaches each category, anti-war and pro-war, chronologically, providing contextual and musical information on each of the songs and information about the songwriters, who were composing from the early 1960s into the mid-1970s. The selected discography, bibliography, and song title index are helpful. Agnes "Sis" Cunningham and Gordon Friesen's Red Dust and Broadsides, ed. by Ronald Cohen (CH, Jan'00), is useful for understanding the role of Broadside magazine in publishing the songs. Recommended for libraries with an interest in popular music and modern US history; lower- and upper-division undergraduates through faculty. R. D. Cohen Indiana University Northwest

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 Backgroundp. 1
2 Anti-War Songsp. 13
3 Pro-Government and Plight-Of-The-Soldier Songsp. 71
Selected Discographyp. 109
Bibliographyp. 145
Song Title Indexp. 155
Indexp. 161
About the Authorp. 169