For better or worse, Richard Wagner is the most widely influential figure in the history of music, assays the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Rest Is Noise in this broad look at 150 years of Wagnerism. With their blend of mysticism, eroticism, and stylistic daring, the operas of the Ring Cycle influenced musicians, writers, feminists, anarchists, and occultists—but also Hitler, who incorporated Wagner into the soundtrack of Nazi Germany. In this NYTimes Notable Book, Alex Ross investigates how and why Wagner's music became a cultural battleground.
"Sumptuous…. Ross' ambition and broad command of cultural history are peerless."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune