“Sound—So What?” proposes to answer the following questions: Why listen to the past? What are the interpretive dividends of paying attention to sounds, noises, and silences? What do we lose by not listening? The article answers these questions by charting how some key works in historical acoustemology have enhanced, textured, and revised our understanding of US history for all eras. The article examines how key themes in the history of religion, westward expansion, and urbanization have been refined and revised by a number of works that have listened carefully to the past.

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