Tag: book report on John Philip Sousa’s autobiography

Book Report (Not Review): ‘Marching Along’ by John Philip Sousa


I just finished reading my first-edition, first-impression copy of John Philip Sousa’s autobiography.  It was published in 1928 by Hale, Cushman, and Flint of Boston.  Its subtitle is Recollections of Men, Women, and Music.  The book itself is in very good shape, for nearly 100 years old.  Its paper is a bit fragile and yellowed, but holding up well.  The book has many photos of Mr. Sousa, and the places he visited, people he interacted with, and some of the sheet music and scores he composed.

Mr. Sousa was a very engaging writer, and his book is never dull.  He was also quite opinionated and had no difficulty telling it like it was!  A reader must be careful to remember that Sousa was a product of his times; born and raised in Washington DC, and some of his ideas would not be acceptable today (he was born in 1854 and died in 1932).  He was a child during the Civil War, and does remember some of it.  Living in DC, he was right in the thick of things, but war never came to his neighborhood.  He had an excellent sense of humor, and was able to see the bright side of incidents that might have been uncomfortable to him at the time.  Here’s the first paragraph of Marching Along.