This delightfully entertaining 370 page book is filled with over one hundred songs, with music and lyrics and descriptive textual history, which were popular in the nineteenth century. From the front flap: "In nineteenth-century America, where professional entertainment was not available to everyone, people 'made for themselves a theater' around the piano in the parlor. When a song 'caught on' with the public, everybody wanted to learn it and the sheet-music industry flourished. The most popular songs had humorous lyrics and simple catchy melodies that anyone could whistle and the most amateur piano player could pick out. Courtship, marriage, and in-laws were funny to our ancestors, as were historical events, animals, drunks, and foreign accents. A vaudeville comedian had only to come onstage in blackface or start to sing in German dialect to have his audience rolling in the aisles. Approximately one-hundred songs are discussed in this volume. The author recounts the history of each song, so far as it is known, with facts about the composer, the lyricist, and the performer who made it famous. Covers of the original sheet music are reproduced, some in color, and the music itself has been redrawn so as to be easily read from a piano rack. Several verses of each song are included, making the book useful as well as entertaining for music and social historians, barbershop and other professional groups, and amateur performers."