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Tim Smolko and Joanna Smolko

Mar 11, 2022

Atomic Tunes

The Cold War in American and British Popular Music

Indiana University Press 2021

During the Cold War, over 500 songs were written about nuclear weapons, fear of the Soviet Union, civil defense, bomb shelters, McCarthyism, uranium mining, the space race, espionage, the Berlin Wall, and glasnost. This music uncovers aspects of these world-changing events that documentaries and history books cannot. In  Atomic Tunes: The Cold War in American and British Popular Music (Indiana University Press, 2021), Tim and Joanna Smolko explore everything from the serious to the comical, the morbid to the crude, showing the widespread concern among musicians coping with the effect of communism on American society and the threat of a nuclear conflict of global proportions. Atomic Tunes presents a musical history of the Cold War, analyzing the songs that capture the fear of those who lived under the shadow of Stalin, Sputnik, mushroom clouds, and missiles.

Joanna Smolko holds a PhD in Musicology and is Adjunct Professor of Music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. Tim Smolko holds master's degrees in Musicology and Library Science and is Monographs Original Cataloger at the University of Georgia.

Learn more about the Smolkos' work on their website, which you can access here.

Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) holds a PhD in Musicology from Florida State University. Her current research focuses on parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.

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Emily Ruth Allen

Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Florida State University. Her current research is about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival.

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