Daniele Cuffaro – American Myths in Post-9/11 Music

After the September 11, 2011 attacks on the Twin Towers, Pentagon and the Flight United 93 crash in Pennsylvania politicians and artists sought to relive the memorable events and react to it. The music industry created its own response to the carnage and catastrophic events. Artists donated money from tours and concerts to generate funds to help victims and their families, and national security and our civil liberties would never be the same. The disappearance and the importance of the architecture and structure of these Towers, our rationale for going after the terrorists, going into Iraq and waging war against those who hurt Americans, created much discussion not only among the American people but those of other countries too. This cherished landmark, icon, allowed Americans to create their own stories. Metaphors like a journey, path, frontier, male hero or war both inspired presidential speeches and song lyrics.

In American Myths in Post 9/11 Music, Danielle Cuffaro analyses country musicians such as and the album The Rising by Bruce Springsteen. Americans went back to the historical myths of their culture. America as innocent nation, America as Chosen nation, a token for whatever is just and good and America as a Christian nation. And so the NYFD firefighters became national heroes. Critical opinions on their effectiveness by entering the towers were dismissed. Revenge, as sought in the War on Terror against the Taliban was justified and supported by tens of artists deeply influencing the way Americans enjoy their favorite music: country or rock. An example that shows how the political environment can influence musicians is found in the songs of Neil Young, an artist who protested against war for the most part of his career. Alan Jackson launched “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” in November 2001. In “Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly,” Aaron Tippin sings about having been born in that extraordinary place that is America. Some openly supported the Bush administration, others were against him. In retrospective it’s remarkable how some songs had influence, even after 10 years on the collective memory of the Americans. Fran Lewis, New York educator, reviewer, talk show host and interviewer wrote a personal preface to this book.

About the Author

Teacher, journalist and archivist, Daniele Cuffaro has an MA in English and Italian Literature. He is also a musician and a composer for the folk band The Vad Vuc.

I received a complimentary review copy through Netgalley to provide you my personal opinions on this book.