December 22, 2010

Book Review - Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan

Then Sings My Soul, Special Edition
Robert J. Morgan
Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2010
 This is my first review through the blogging program, and I was so excited when this book was offered.  I knew from the moment it arrived that I would like it, as it focuses on two of my interests: history and music.  Then Sings My Soul is a beautiful book that presents 150 different well-known hymns and gives the history of the author, if known, and the personal situation or historical event behind the writing of each song. The hymns are categorized according to the occasion on which they are usually sung, and there is a category for favorites, as well. 

I found many of the stories in the book fascinating, making the hymns more meaningful to me.  I enjoyed reading the verses of the songs after reading the history. The hymns' composers came from all over the world, from many different walks of life and a variety of denominations and social situations.  Some hymns were based on Biblical verses and some were based on specific situations experienced by the composers.  Occasionally, what we would consider hymns for adults were originally written for children.

Often the history of a hymn would completely surprise me and it would require me to read the hymn's verses with a new perspective.  For example, "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was orginally intended to be a marching song for village children as they went to Sunday School.  The hymn, "We Gather Together," now usually sung at Thanksgiving, was written in 1597 to celebrate Holland's freedom from Spain and the newly acquired right of the Dutch to worship as they pleased. 

The book itself is very visually appealing, too, and I thought the use of heavier paper with a shredded edge was very elegant.  The three indexes - by hymn title, by composer's name, and by first line - are very user friendly.  I am giving this book a five star rating because it held my interest and the information was wonderfully presented in an organized manner.

*I received this book free from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, as part of the blogger review program.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 Guide concerning the use of endorsements in testimonials and advertising.

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