Two current popular country music acts, the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith, have fired verbal volleys at each other during recent years. While Toby Keith has suggested that all Americans should unite in support of the president in these critical times, the Dixie Chicks have asserted their rights to criticize the current administration and its military pursuits. The essays in Country Music Goes to War demonstrate that country musicians' engagement with significant political and military issues is not strictly a twenty-first-century phenomenon. In fact, country songs about war are nearly as old as the genre itself, and the first gold record in country music went to the 1942 war song ""There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,"" by Elton Britt. The contributors to Country Music Goes to War examine the output of country musicians responding to America's large-scale confrontations in recent history: World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the cold war, September 11, and both conflicts in the Persian Gulf. They address the ways in which country songs and artists have energized public discourse, captured hearts, and inspired millions of minds.
Charles K. Wolfe, professor of English and folklore at Middle Tennessee State University, is the author of numerous books and articles on music. James E. Akenson, professor of curriculum and instruction at Tennessee Technological University, is the founder of the International Country Music Conference. Together they have edited the collection The Women of Country Music and three volumes of the Country Music Annual.