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

Kobo ebook | June 5, 2004

byPeter C. Rollins

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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 categories -- Eras; Wars and Other Major Events; Notable People; Groups; Institutions and Movements; Places; Themes and Topics; and Myths and Heroes -- the 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 factors -- technological, social, political, historiographical -- have affected their evolution?

Have filmmakers altered the historical record with a view to enhancing drama or to enhance the "truth" of their putative message?

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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 (19...

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 Oklah...

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:June 5, 2004Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231508395

ISBN - 13:9780231508391

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
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
Baseball
City and State Government
Civil Rights
Congress
The Family
Football
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
Space
Suburbia
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
Railroads
Sexuality
Slavery
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
Index

Editorial Reviews

The useful background information will greatly enhance one's view of historical movies.