What a wonderful book! This is a book I wish I had written, if only to write the sentence "Seeing Guys and Dolls on opening night in 1950 was my nirvana as a musical comedy fan"! It's one long love letter to the great American songwriters, both composers and lyricists: the oft-written about Kern, Hammerstein, Berlin, the Gershwins, Porter, Arlen, Sondheim, Lerner, Loewe, Ellington, Rodgers and Hart, and the less-written about Dorothy Fields, Harburg, Youmans, Schwartz, Dietz, Warren, Weill, Styne, Comden/Green, Loesser, Cahn, Van Heusen, Kander, Ebb, Bock & Harnick. Though Zinsser is a pianist himself, he keeps the technical discussion to a minimum. He's dug up photographs I've never seen before: Frank Loesser sweating on a New York park bench; Barbra sitting on Jule Styne's lap; Johnny Mercer recording (I didn't know he was popular singer as well as gifted lyricist.) And the sheet music! He's included b&w pictures of dozens of vintage sheet music cover art: the Art Deco "Roberta"; "Just in Time" with '50's linear design motifs; a Toulouse-Lautrec knockoff for a '20's Rodgers and Hart song. Zinsser very interestingly keeps the biographical info to a bare minimum, concentrating on the melodic structure of the tune, the "rules" of song structure and how the rules were effectively broken; and the lyrics which are central to his appreciation of a song. He has lovingly captured an era I was born too late for but which lives on.