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Columbia University Press
The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past

The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past

by Peter Rollins, Peter C. Rollins


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231112222
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/17/2004
Pages: 696
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Peter C. Rollins is Regents Professor of English and American Film Studies at Oklahoma State University and editor in chief of the scholarly journal, Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies (
Peter C. Rollins is Regents Professor of English and American Film Studies at Oklahoma State University and editor in chief of the magazine Film & History (

Table of Contents

I. Eras
The Puritan Era and the Puritan Mind
The 1890s
The 1920s
The 1930s
The 1960s
The 1970s
The 1980s
II. Wars and Other Major Events
The American Revolution
The Civil War and Reconstruction
The Cold War
The Korean War
The Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War
The Vietnam War
Westward Expansion and the Indian Wars
World War I
World War II: Documentaries
World War II: Feature Films
III. Notable People
The Antebellum Frontier Hero
Christopher Columbus
The Founding Fathers
Indian Leaders
The Kennedys
Abraham Lincoln
Richard Nixon
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
Harry S. Truman
George Washington
IV. Groups
African Americans After World War II
Arab Americans
Asian Americans
Catholic Americans
Children and Teenages in the Twentieth Century
Irish Americans
Italian Americans
Jewish Americans
Mexican Americans
Native Americans
Radicals and Radicalism
Robber Barons, Media Moguls, and Power Elites
Women from the Colonial Era to 1900
Women in the Twentieth Century
V. Institutions and Movements
City and State Government
Civil Rights
The Family
Journalism and the Media
The Labor Movement and the Working Class
Militias and Extremist Political Movements
The Political Machine
The Presidency After World War II
Private Schools
Public High Schools
VI. Places
The Midwest
The "New" West and the New Western
New York City
The Sea
The Small Town
The South
Texas and the Southwest
The Trans-Appalachian West
VII. Themes and Topics
Crime and the Mafia
Drugs, Tobacco, and Alcohol
Elections and Party Politics
Feminism and Feminist Films
VIII. Myths and Heroes
The American Adam
The American Fighting Man
Democracy and Equality
The Frontier and the West
Hollywood's Detective
The Machine in the Garden
Success and the Self-Made Man
List of Contributors

What People are Saying About This

Ray Browne

Finding a single motivation and accomplishment of the many American films digging in one way or another into history is impossible, but Rollins turns his illuminating and critical eye on the core motifs of most genres and subgenres, and he succeeds admirably. This collection of essays relives history both before the camera and behind it. We are all the better informed for it.

Gary R. Edgerton

More people learn about history in movies theaters and by watching television than in classrooms, much to the consternation of many educators. Now Peter Rollins has edited a much-needed one-volume state-of-the-art introduction to how movies depict the past. As editor of the interdisciplinary journal Film & History, Rollins is perfectly situated to marshal together scholars from a wide assortment of disciplines—American studies, communication, English, film, and history—around a common interest. Written with authority and a refreshing diversity of viewpoints, The Columbia Companion to American History on Film maps out many of the country's more important historical markers, stopping periodically to reconsider and analyze screen versions of America's more notable people, places, institutions, and myths. Reading through this volume is a lot like taking a round trip across the vast expanse of our nation's rich cultural heritage. Well researched and brimming with insights, The Columbia Companion to American History on Film perceptively illustrates how filmmakers have used stories involving historical figures and events to clarify the present and imagine the future for literally tens of millions of viewers over the last century.

Donald E. Staples

This is a top-notch work which contrasts the historical record against the screen entertainment with excellent academic commentary. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film is a volume of intellectual perspectives which every teacher of history and/or film should have in their personal libraries. I plan to make extensive use of this book in my course on the films of WWII next year. The structure of this text makes it incredibly useful to all teachers in the social sciences and the arts-eras, events, people, places, myths and movements. It's all there in history and on the screen, be it film or television. In CCAHF the authors have 'read' and interpreted the films so that the rest of us can put the historical events in context: timeline, relationships, importance.

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