I am very excited to announce that my new book, Adventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer: Nathan Burkan and the Making of American Popular Culturewill be published by the University of California Press on January 6, 2020.

COVER JPGAdventures of a Jazz Age Lawyer is a lively narrative exploring the coming-of-age of institutions, archetypes, and attitudes that define American popular culture. The story unfolds through the career of legal giant Nathan Burkan, whose clients included Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Frank Costello, Victor Herbert, Mae West, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, Arnold Rothstein, and Samuel Goldwyn. Burkan was one of the principal draftsmen of the epochal Copyright Act of 1909 and the founder and guiding spirit behind ASCAP—the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.

The book tells stories of dramatic and often uproarious courtroom confrontations, scandalous escapades of the rich and famous, and momentous clashes of powerful political, economic, and cultural forces from which the United States emerged as the world’s leading exporter of creative energy.

Adventures of a Jazz-Age Lawyer rescues a key figure in early 20th-century popular culture from (relative) obscurity, and tells his fascinating story with insight and style. I don’t know of anyone who writes more knowledgeably, penetratingly and elegantly about popular music than Gary Rosen.” —Ben Yagoda, author of About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made and The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song,

“Gary Rosen is a born storyteller, and this is both a first-rate story and a previously untold one.”—Peter Jaszi, coauthor of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright


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