This volume does an outstanding job exploring the origins and influences of the protest song, from a detailed account of the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” to Green Day's denunciation of the U.S.-led “War on Terror” in its 2004 song, “American Idiot.” The first chapter serves as the springboard for the rest of the work, delving into the many aspects that “We Shall Overcome,” has taken on over the course of a century. We see how the scope of this one folk song, from its original source of religious comfort in the early 1900s, to a tool used to rally the spirits of people on the picket lines during the 1940s, to a galvanizing cry at 1960s student sit-ins and demonstrations across the South, reflects the vast array of social causes captured in other protest pieces. The following eight chapters are divided by period, from “The Birth of a Nation (1939-1964)” to “Modern Life is Rubbish (1994-1998).” The volume highlights fifty songs, with additional songs mentioned in numerous sidebars. The stories featured throughout the work are compelling, illustrating how “pop culture can provide such an effective insight into many other aspects of history.” History teachers will appreciate the author's reflection that he only grasped the full effect of the 1970 Kent State shootings after listening to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's “Ohio.” The entries are clearly organized, introducing the songwriter(s) and the inspiration that led to the featured song, then placing the songs in their social, political and cultural contexts. The author offers detailed analysis of the music and lyrics, going on to reflect on the song's lasting impact and modern relevance. While the work offers a thorough examination of protest songs within the 20th century timeframe, it points out that recent political events such as the war in Iraq have seen the protest song return to the mainstream. One such example is provided by the Armenian-American band System of a Down, a politically outspoken group who not only participated in marches organized to protest the imminent American invasion of Iraq in 2003, but also recruited filmmaker Michael Moore to document the demonstration for the band's video of its song, “Boom.” Other intriguing anecdotes include the examination of James Brown's song “Say It Loud—I'm Black and I'm Proud,” written and recorded in the middle of one night after the Godfather of Soul had returned from Vietnam on a government-sponsored tour organized to boost the morale of black troops, only to watch a televised report about black crime at home. Frustrated and annoyed, the musician penned the lyrics on two napkins in thirty minutes, roused his manager from bed and somehow got a group of schoolchildren to the studio so they could provide backup vocals. The result, an inspirational tune decrying centuries of subjugation and urging black people to work toward self-reliance, went on to become an “anthem of self-worth,” for black America. High school students will find the volume's language accessible and teachers can incorporate the interesting subject matter into cross-curricular units; topics addressed include religion, racism, authority and even the notion of protest itself, using such genres as rock, punk, hip-hop and heavy metal as scaffolds for inquiry. An appendix of songs listed both chronologically and alphabetically, a bibliography of print and electronic sources and a general index round out the work. Highly recommended for high school and public libraries.