Ragtime, the jaunty, toe-tapping music that captivated American society from the 1890s through World War I, forms the roots of America's popular musical expression. But the understanding of ragtime and its era has been clouded by a history of murky impressions, half-truths, and inventive fictions. Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History cuts through the murkiness. A methodical survey of thousands of rags along with an examination of then-contemporary opinions in magazines and newspapers demonstrate how the music evolved and how America responded to it. "The most complete available discussion of ragtime" (Floyd & Reisser, Black Music in the United States).