Awards season in academic publishing is once again kind to the Press. A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music by Robert M. Marovich recently won a Certificate of Merit in the category Best Historical Research in Recorded Blues, Gospel, Soul, or R&B from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections.
In the book, Marovich follows gospel music from early hymns and camp meetings through its growth into the sanctified soundtrack of Chicago’s mainline black Protestant churches. Marovich mines print media, ephemera, and hours of interviews with artists, ministers, and historians—as well as relatives and friends of gospel pioneers—to recover forgotten singers, musicians, songwriters, and industry leaders. He also examines the entrepreneurial spirit that fueled gospel music’s rise to popularity and granted social mobility to a number of its practitioners