Posted by: nancyisanders | November 18, 2015

Book Review: The Carols of Christmas


The Carols of Christmas
(A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs)
by Andrew Grant

Informational rather than inspirational. History buffs and trivia collectors of music history will find this book packed with detail. This book presents the history behind 21 popular Christmas Carols. Lyrics and music accompany each selection. The author is a choirmaster, church musician, and university professor.

Here are some samples from the text:
O Holy Night
“Perhaps there is something in the Unitarian worldview that lends itself to carol writing. By rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, Unitarians bring the figure of Jesus and the events of his life into a sharper and more human focus. The story of the nativity, of a human child, certainly seems to hold a special appeal for the movement’s versifiers and hymn writers.”

Personent hodie
“It may appear slightly incongruous that one of the principal sources of English Christmas carols originated in Finland. The explanation lies in that most potent force in the shaping of human destinies: luck. The fact that this particular book survived, came into the possession of a couple of English clergymen, who then used it as a source for their own carol book, which in its turn survived and prospered, is the result of a series of coincidences and chance encounters.”

O Little Town of Bethlehem
“So next time these words and those notes work their familiar magic, remember the people who wove that magic for us: an American who imported peace from the Middle East; two dreamers–a naughty ploughboy and a real estate salesman; a devil in a puff of blue smoke; an English genius taking off his cycle-clips; and Mr. Garman of Forest Green, Surrey.”



-Thanks, BookLook Bloggers for another free book in exchange for my honest review!

I review for BookLook Bloggers


  1. Very cool! Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

  2. Sounds like a fun read. I love finding out about the history behind songs and books and movies, and . . .

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