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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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

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

""The book takes on depictions of every conflict from the American Revolution to September 11 and its aftermath, showing how films have shaped America's understanding of its history." --Colloquy" --

""An excellent compilation of essays on war films." --VVA Veteran" --

""Rollins and O'Connor have provided a starting point with which to analyze the influence of wars and conflicts in movies, documentaries, and television shows." --On Point" --

""The methodology is to examine a particular film, a pair of films or series to explore the reasons given for having to fight it, the portrayal of combat, and the other political and social implications." --NYMAS" --

"Named as a Choice Outstanding Academic Titles." --

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813138749
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
07/25/2008
Series:
Film and History
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
624
File size:
14 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Peter C. Rollins is Regents Professor Emeritus of English and American Film Studies at Oklahoma State University and is former editor of the journal Film&History. He is the coeditor of numerous books, including Hollywood's Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film. John E. O'Connor is professor emeritus of the Federated Department of History at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University. He is also a founding editor of Film&History and the coeditor of several books.

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