Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland


Aportrait of life in the nation’s heartland as seen through the lens of a unique
American ritual.


Every fall, high school marching bands take to the field. For millions  of teenagers, the experience is more than a show. It’s  a rite of passage—a first foray into leadership and adult responsibility,  and a chance to learn what it means to be part of a community.

Part documentary, part coming-of-age story, American Band describes the lives  inside one of the best of those bands. In the final year of a legendary director’s  career,  amid conflicting notions of greatness, the band marches  through a season that starts in hope and promise, progresses through  uncertainty and disappointment, and ends, ultimately, in redemption.

What's New?

  • On NPR: Reviving Elkhart’s music industry
  • American Band wins the L. L. Winship / PEN New England award for nonfiction
  • Applause for American Band: reviews and interviews
  • American Band video: See the band from the book in action!


Order the book from

Order the book from Barnes & Noble

Order the book from Booksense