This book explores the American Song, mostly jazz related, created during the 1920's - 1950's. Each chapter walks through a different composer and how they contributed to the popular music of the day. It was interesting to see the similar paths that the "American" composers took - come from hometown USA - write for Broadway - write for Hollywood - go back to write for Broadway.
The author focused on how a composer's nationality and/or social background influenced their work. Most of the composers adjusted their "pen name" to be different from their given name.
Sheed, Wilfrid. The House that George Built. Random House (2008). 368 pages. ISBN 0812970187.