Over his nine-decade career, Jewish American songwriter Irving Berlin created some of the most beloved and celebrated popular music in the United States. Due to major songs such as “God Bless America” and “White Christmas,” Irving Berlin’s music continues to live on as canonized works in American popular culture. One of the less examined aspects of Irving Berlin’s life is his relationship with New York City, a place where Berlin grew up as a Jewish immigrant in the Lower East Side. In his newly published book Irving Berlin: New York Genius, distinguished biographer and journalist James Kaplan tackles the complex relationship between Irving Berlin and the city of New York. In this podcast episode, B'nai B'rith International CEO and host Daniel S. Mariaschin and Kaplan discuss Kaplan's book as well as the legacy of Irving Berlin.
James Kaplan is the author of the two-volume biography of Frank Sinatra, Frank: The Voice and Sinatra: The Chairman. He has also profiled a wide range of public figures including playwright Arthur Miller and comedian and writer Larry David.
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