Author: Erik Kirschbaum
Afterword: Herb Stupp
Softcover: 176 pages, 20 pictures
Dimensions: 5.5’’ x 8.5’’
Suggested retail: $22.90
ISBN USA: 978-1-935902-85-0
Release: Summer 2015
Before World War I, the United States were home to a flourishing German culture. German-Americans were the biggest and most successful ethnic group all over the Midwest. But this culture was wiped out forever by a fury of an anti-German hysteria after America had entered the war. Overzealous American patriots renamed Sauerkraut "Liberty Cabbage", slaughtered dachshunds, and eradicated the German language from American schools, churches, and newspapers. They changed the names of towns, burned books, destroyed libraries, threatened priests, forced German-Americans to buy war bonds and to kiss the star spangled banner. Vigilantes tarred and feathered and, in some cases hanged German-born immigrants falsely suspected of being spies. “Burning Beethoven” shines a light on that dark chapter of American history.
Erik Kirschbaum, born 1960 in New York City, began learning German as a high school student and often wondered why it was hard to find anyone he could practice speaking German with. Even his own grandfather would refuse, although he was born into a largely German community in New York. After studying German and history at the University of Wisconsin, he wrote his thesis on the eradication of German culture in the United States, which was subsequently developed into this book. He also wrote for newspapers in the United States before moving to West Germany in early 1989 to work as a foreign correspondent. He now lives in Berlin. Burning Beethoven is his fourth book, after Bruce Springsteen: Rocking the Wall.