From the Author's Preface:
''I believe that in his greatest music Beethoven was primarily concerned to express his personal vision of life. This vision was, of course, the product of his character and his experience. Beethoven the man and Beethoven the composer are not two unconnected entities, and the known history of the man may be used to throw light upon the character of his music.''
Clifton Fadiman has said of this classic study:
''It is the most interesting book on music that I have ever read and it is not written for musical experts; rather for people like myself who like to listen to music but can boast no special knowledge of it. It deals not only with music, on which I do not speak with authority, but with human life in general, about which you and I speak with authority every day of our lives.''