Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History

Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History

by Peter C. Rollins, John E. O'Connor
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0813191912

ISBN-13: 9780813191911

Pub. Date: 08/01/2008

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Film moves audiences like no other medium; both documentaries and feature films are especially remarkable for their ability to influence viewers. Best-selling author James Brady remarked that he joined the Marines to fight in Korea after seeing a John Wayne film, demonstrating how a motion picture can change the course of a human life — in this case, launching

Overview

Film moves audiences like no other medium; both documentaries and feature films are especially remarkable for their ability to influence viewers. Best-selling author James Brady remarked that he joined the Marines to fight in Korea after seeing a John Wayne film, demonstrating how a motion picture can change the course of a human life — in this case, launching the career of a major historian and novelist. In Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History, editors Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor explore the complexities of war films, describing the ways in which such productions interpret history and illuminate American values, politics, and culture. This comprehensive volume covers representations of war in film from the American Revolution in the 18th century to today's global War on Terror. The contributors examine iconic battle films such as The Big Parade (1925), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), From Here to Eternity (1953), and Platoon (1986), considering them as historical artifacts. The authors explain how film shapes our cultural understanding of military conflicts, analyzing how war is depicted on television programs, through news media outlets, and in fictional and factual texts. With several essays examining the events of September 11, 2001, and their aftermath, the book has a timely relevance concerning the country's current military conflicts. Jeff Chown examines controversial documentary films about the Iraq War, while Stacy Takacs considers Jessica Lynch and American gender issues in a post-9/11 world, and James Kendrick explores the political messages and aesthetic implications of United 93. From filmmakers who reshaped our understanding of the history of the Alamo, to Ken Burns's popular series on the Civil War, to the uses of film and media in understanding the Vietnam conflict, Why We Fought offers a balanced outlook — one of the book's editors was a combat officer in the United States Marines, the other an antiwar activist — on the conflicts that have become touchstones of American history. As Air Force veteran and film scholar Robert Fyne notes in the foreword, American war films mirror a nation's past and offer tangible evidence of the ways millions of Americans have become devoted, as was General MacArthur, to "Duty, honor, and country." Why We Fought chronicles how, for more than half a century, war films have shaped our nation's consciousness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813191911
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Series:
Film and History
Edition description:
1
Pages:
624
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents


Foreword   Robert Fyne     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction   John E. O'Connor   Peter C. Rollins     1
The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Revolution, Conquest, and Union     39
The American Revolution on the Screen: Drums Along the Mohawk and The Patriot   John E. O'Connor     41
Reprinting the Legend: The Alamo on Film   Frank Thompson     63
Assessing Television's Version of History: The Mexican-American War and the KERA Documentary Series   James Yates     77
Ken Burns's Rebirth of a Nation: The Civil War as Madefor-Television History   Gary R. Edgerton     99
"It's What People Say We're Fighting For": Representing the Lost Cause in Cold Mountain   Robert M. Myers     121
The Twentieth Century: Total War     135
The Great War Viewed from the 1920s: The Big Parade   Michael T. Isenberg     137
Technology and "Reel Patriotism" in American Film Advertising of the World War I Era   James Latham     156
Culture Wars and the Local Screen: The Reception of Westfront 1918 and All Quiet on the Western Front in One German City   David Imhoof     175
The Peace, Isolationist, and Anti-interventionist Movements and Interwar Hollywood   JohnWhiteclay Chambers II     196
The B Movie Goes to War in Hitler, Beast of Berlin   Cynthia J. Miller     226
Why We Fight and Projections of America: Frank Capra, Robert Riskin, and the Making of World War II Propaganda   Ian S. Scott     242
On Telling the Truth about War: World War II and Hollywood's Moral Fiction, 1945-1956   Frank J. Wetta   Martin A. Novelli     259
James Jones, Columbia Pictures, and the Historical Confrontations of From Here to Eternity   J. E. Smyth     283
Hollywood's D-Day from the Perspective of the 1960s and 1990s: The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan   Robert Brent Toplin     303
Cold War and Insurgency: The Paradox of Limited Wars     315
Cold War Berlin in the Movies: From The Big Lift to The Promise   Thomas W. Maulucci Jr.     317
Invaders of the Cold War: Generic Disruptions and Shifting Gender Roles in The Day the Earth Stood Still   Susan A. George     349
Using Popular Culture to Study the Vietnam War: Perils and Possibilities   Peter C. Rollins     367
Fragments of War: Oliver Stone's Platoon   Lawrence W. Lichty   Raymond L. Carroll     390
The Quiet American: Graham Greene's Vietnam Novel through the Lenses of Two Eras   William S. Bushnell      404
The Twenty-first Century: Terrorism and Asymmetrical Conflicts     429
Operation Restore Honor in Black Hawk Down   John Shelton Lawrence   John G. McGarrahan     431
Documentary and the Iraq War: A New Genre for New Realities   Jeffrey Chown     458
Jessica Lynch and the Regeneration of American Identity Post 9/11   Stacy Takacs     488
Representing the Unrepresentable: 9/11 on Film and Television   James Kendrick     511
Filmography   John Shelton Lawrence     529
Bibliography   John Shelton Lawrence     566
Contributors     575
Index     584

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