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Irene Watson

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A Song for the World by Frank McGee: Book Review
by Irene Watson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, September 13, 2007
Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2007

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There's no contesting the fact that Steve, Paul, and Ralph Colwell and Herb Allen lived adventurous lives. As musicians, they toured in the farthest corners of the world, performing from the White House to the Super Bowl, from Watts to Carnegie Hall. Yet millions who have seen them know little or nothing of the astounding story of their lives. From hundreds of letters and documents, scores of interviews, and a five-decade friendship with the Colwell Brothers and Herb Allen, Frank McGee has brought to light the astounding story of "A Song for the World."

Many Roads Publishing (2007)
ISBN 9780978794804
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (7/07)


Award-winning author Frank McGee has compiled this remarkable story of “A Song for the World” from hundreds of letters, documents and scores of interviews. This is the story of the Colwell Brothers and Herb Allen, musical diplomats to the world.

The book details the careers of these men, which spans a period of over fifty years.  As entertainers, and song writers they demonstrated courage, commitment and vision leaving behind the comforts of home, promising careers, and budding romances to introduce a new concept for changing the world through the power of music. They touched the lives of millions of people, worldwide, with their songs.  Their songs are written in dozens of languages and dialects. 

The format of the book is eye-catching in design with hundred of photos, giving detailed descriptions of the location, the events or persons.  The text includes important side bars for emphasis of important details. Each chapter contains a song, poem or composition written by one of the men.

I personally enjoyed the “The Amazing Music History Quiz” at the end of the book which highlights some of the early audacious adventures of the Colwell Brothers and Herb Allen. I also appreciated the complete index and bibliography included.

Working with “Up with the People” the team traveled six continents. They faced the dusty roads of India, the revolution in the Congo, the strife in Ireland, and the closed door of China. They presented a message of hope and peace. The “Up with the People” team produced the half-time show for four Super Bowls, viewed by over 90,000 million people on television.

“Up with the People” worked with 20,000 cast members from over 60 countries over a period of forty years.  They performed in Munich, Madrid, Watts, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Moscow, Beijing, and numerous other important locations and national and international events.

Direct quotes from Herb Allen, Paul, Ralph, and Steve Colwell reveal the depth of their dedication, and sacrifice to the cause of peace. The book is a tribute to these four men and the cause for which they dedicated their lives.

Frank McGee’s writing is crisp and descriptive.  The book has a natural flow which includes historical events, musical diplomacy, and examples of organizational leadership.

McGee’s writing is informative, interesting, and compelling.  “A Song for the World” is a book for anyone who wants to impact change in today’s world.


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