Past Imperfect: History according to the Movies

Past Imperfect: History according to the Movies

by Mark C. Carnes, David Rubel, John Miller-Monzon, Ted Mico, John Miller-Monzon
     
 

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In this widely-acclaimed volume, some of our greatest historians address the facts—and fiction—as seen in Hollywood’s often epic recreations of historical events. Distinghuished historians such as Stephen Ambrose, Antonia Fraser, James McPherson, Gerda Lerner, Dee Brown, Frances FitzGerald, David Levering Lewis, and Simon Schama explore the

Overview

In this widely-acclaimed volume, some of our greatest historians address the facts—and fiction—as seen in Hollywood’s often epic recreations of historical events. Distinghuished historians such as Stephen Ambrose, Antonia Fraser, James McPherson, Gerda Lerner, Dee Brown, Frances FitzGerald, David Levering Lewis, and Simon Schama explore the relationship between film and the historical record. Offering hundreds of movie stills, archival photographs, maps, and other illustrations, along with sidebars on related historical events, Past Imperfect sheds new light on the uses of history in popular culture.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Perhaps this summer's boomlet of historical movies and costume dramas have sparked interest, for this is only one of several recent books by historians examining films set in the past. Editor Carnes (Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America, LJ 8/89) persuaded 60 historical writers, including such popular figures as Gore Vidal, William Manchester, Antonia Frasier, James McPherson, and Frances FitzGerald, to write an original piece on an historical film. The authors gleefully skewer, pick apart, praise, and censure film classics such as Gone with the Wind, Mutiny on the Bounty, A Man for All Seasons, Spartacus, Jurassic Part, Patton, etc. There is, not surprisingly, considerable nitpicking over historical details, but the writers seem to share a common fondness for the movies. Indeed, several confess that their interest in history was first awakened by a film they saw as a child. Film buffs will thoroughly enjoy. Highly recommended for large public libraries and subject collections.-Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Booknews
Filmmakers often use dramatic license in playing with facts to enhance a story's drama, illuminate an overlooked perspective, or fuel historical debate. Here, 60 historical writers (including popular authors such as Stephen Jay Gould, Antonia Fraser, and Gore Vidal) look beneath the celluloid surface of classic movies to explore the relationship between film and reality, from prehistory (Jurassic Park) to modern times (Dr. Strangelove, Malcolm X, Apocalypse Now). Entries look at plot, costume design, technology, and character portrayals, examine the historical aftermath of events in the film, juxtapose film stills with historical paintings and photos, and suggest background reading for the historical period depicted in each film. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805037609
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/28/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
8.03(w) x 10.02(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author

Mark C. Carnes is the chairman of the department of history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the executive secretary of the Society of American Historians.

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