Saturday, May 12, 2012

Five best books on the golden age of radio

Anthony Rudel is the author of Hello, Everybody!: The Dawn of American Radio, the novel Imagining Don Giovanni, and two books on classical music.

In 2008 he named a list of the five best books about the golden age of radio for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
Sound and Fury
By Francis Chase Jr.
Harper, 1942

Francis Chase Jr. wrote his "informal history of broadcasting" at a time when broadcasting meant one thing: radio. With our lives now bombarded by television, satellite radio, the Internet and cellphones, it is difficult to imagine the technological breakthrough that radio represented and how it transfixed listeners. "Sound and Fury" beautifully captures the significance of radio's arrival and conveys a deep appreciation for the creative geniuses -- Fred Allen, Jack Benny and countless others -- whose radio shows were a watershed of American entertainment. Chase is astute in his appraisals of the earliest radio pioneers, and he wisely perceives that President Roosevelt's "fireside chats" in the 1930s heralded a serious new role for a medium that had once been thought strictly meant for diversion. The people Chase writes about, many of whom have been forgotten, and the conversational narrative style of the book, almost make it seem that you are listening to a great radio show.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue