Cover: Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, from Harvard University PressCover: Satchmo Blows Up the World in PAPERBACK

Satchmo Blows Up the World

Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$30.50 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674022607

Publication Date: 09/30/2006

Short

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

20 halftones

World

Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Watch the trailer for the PBS documentary The Jazz Ambassadors (available for streaming as of May 4, 2018), inspired by Satchmo Blows Up the World—and on which Penny Von Eschen consulted:

At the height of the ideological antagonism of the Cold War, the U.S. State Department unleashed an unexpected tool in its battle against Communism: jazz. From 1956 through the late 1970s, America dispatched its finest jazz musicians to the far corners of the earth, from Iraq to India, from the Congo to the Soviet Union, in order to win the hearts and minds of the Third World and to counter perceptions of American racism.

Penny Von Eschen escorts us across the globe, backstage and onstage, as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and other jazz luminaries spread their music and their ideas further than the State Department anticipated. Both in concert and after hours, through political statements and romantic liaisons, these musicians broke through the government’s official narrative and gave their audiences an unprecedented vision of the black American experience. In the process, new collaborations developed between Americans and the formerly colonized peoples of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—collaborations that fostered greater racial pride and solidarity.

Though intended as a color-blind promotion of democracy, this unique Cold War strategy unintentionally demonstrated the essential role of African Americans in U.S. national culture. Through the tales of these tours, Von Eschen captures the fascinating interplay between the efforts of the State Department and the progressive agendas of the artists themselves, as all struggled to redefine a more inclusive and integrated American nation on the world stage.

Awards & Accolades

  • Honorable Mention, 2005 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights

Share This

Holiday Sale / 30% off sitewide with code HOL22
Racism in America: A Reader, edited by Harvard University Press, with a Foreword by Annette Gordon-Reed, available for free download in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Composite photograph showing (top) entrance to the Prudential Center in Boston and (bottom) an internal construction partition/wall printed with the words 'Opening Day 2023' and other decorative text

A New Chapter for Harvard Book Store

Starting in the summer of 2023, for the first time in almost thirty years, Harvard Book Store will have two locations: the flagship store in Harvard Square, and a large new store in the Prudential Center in Boston. For University Press Week we wanted to show some bookseller love, so we reached out to Rachel Cass, General Manager of the Harvard Book Store, to see what’s planned for their exciting new location