The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Columbia University Press
American history has always been an irresistible source of inspiration for filmmakers, and today, for good or ill, most Americans'sense of the past likely comes more from Hollywood than from the works of historians. In important films such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Roots (1977), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Saving Private Ryan (1998), how much is entertainment and how much is rooted in historical fact? In The Columbia Companion to American History on Film, more than seventy scholars consider the gap between history and Hollywood. They examine how filmmakers have presented and interpreted the most important events, topics, eras, and figures in the American past, often comparing the film versions of events with the interpretations of the best historians who have explored the topic.
Divided into eight broad categoriesEras; Wars and Other Major Events; Notable People; Groups; Institutions and Movements; Places; Themes and Topics; and Myths and Heroesthe volume features extensive cross-references, a filmography (of discussed and relevant films), notes, and a bibliography of selected historical works on each subject. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film is also an important resource for teachers, with extensive information for research or for course development appropriate for both high school and college students.
Though each essay reflects the unique body of film and print works covering the subject at hand, every essay addresses several fundamental questions:
• What are the key films on this topic?
• What sources did the filmmaker use, and how did the film deviate (or remain true to) its sources?
• How have film interpretations of a particular historical topic changed, and what sorts of factorstechnological, social, political, historiographicalhave affected their evolution?
• Have filmmakers altered the historical record with a view to enhancing drama or to enhance the "truth" of their putative message?
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|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 (www.filmandhistory.org).
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 (www.filmandhistory.org).
Table of Contents
The Puritan Era and the Puritan Mind
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
The Founding Fathers
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
Harry S. Truman
African Americans After World War II
Children and Teenages in the Twentieth Century
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
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
Public High Schools
The "New" West and the New Western
New York City
The Small Town
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
The Machine in the Garden
Success and the Self-Made Man
List of Contributors
What People are Saying About This
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.
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 disciplinesAmerican studies, communication, English, film, and historyaround 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.
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.