History by Hollywood: THE USE AND ABUSE OF THE AMERICAN PAST

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9780252065361: History by Hollywood: THE USE AND ABUSE OF THE AMERICAN PAST

Just what happens to history when Hollywood film-makers get their hands on it? The nation's film capital is one of our most influential interpreters of history, according to Robert Brent Toplin, so much so that popular movies dealing with historical themes often have a greater impact on the public's thinking than books or lectures. In "History by Hollywood", Toplin examines how film-makers have interpreted American history through their films. Focusing on movies that deal with real events and people, Toplin looks at how writers, producers, and directors became involved in making historical films, what influenced their interpretations of the past, and the responses they have made to the controversies their works have excited. Toplin recognizes the danger of excessive artistic license and understands the importance of creative imagination in designing memorable portrayals for the screen. Basing his analyses on a realistic appreciation of the challenges film-makers face, he effectively measures the strengths and weaknesses of Hollywood's presentation of history. Readers will find food for thought and discussion in Toplin's examinations of "Mississippi Burning", "JFK", "Sergeant York", "Missing", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Patton", "All the President's Men", and "Norma Rae". Robert Brent Toplin, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, is the author of many books and articles on film and history and on United States and Latin American history. He has been principal creator of a number of PBS and Disney Channel films and is film review editor of the "Journal of American History".

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From Publishers Weekly:

This smart, instructive book on American history according to the movies announces in its preface that it favors depth over breadth. A history professor at the Univ. of North Carolina-Wilmington, Toplin discusses eight films in four sections: exercising artistic license (Mississippi Burning; JFK); drawing lessons from the past (Sergeant York, Missing); reflecting current controversy in the past (Bonnie and Clyde; Patton); and celebrating heroism (All the President's Men; Norma Rae). Each chapter surveys the inception and development of a film project, comments on the picture and assesses critical reactions. The book benefits from very real strengths--thorough research augmented by new interviews with some of the filmmakers, precise writing accompanied by an appreciation for complexity--but perhaps most refreshing is its sense of fairness. Toplin promotes a "both/and" rather than "either/or" approach in the debate between historical accuracy and artistic freedom, and this open-mindedness restrains him from rejecting entirely any film's treatment of history. Even JFK, Mississippi Burning and Missing, the films Toplin censures most, earn credit for, respectively, reexamining both Kennedy's Vietnam policy and the Warren report, recreating a grisly vision of the racist South and sounding a warning about U.S. misdeeds abroad. Readers who savored the insights of Past Imperfect, Mark C. Carnes's edited collection of commentary on 100 historical films, should now make room on their shelves for Toplin's exceptional study. Photos not seen by PW.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review:

"Opens a new window into the relationship between filmmakers and historians." -- Gregory Bush, editor of Film and History

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Robert Toplin
Editorial: University of Illinois Press (1996)
ISBN 10: 0252065360 ISBN 13: 9780252065361
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Descripción University of Illinois Press, 1996. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0252065360

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Hollywood : The Use and Abuse of the American Past
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Robert Toplin
Editorial: University of Illinois Press (1996)
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Descripción University of Illinois Press, 1996. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0252065360

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Toplin, Robert
Editorial: University of Illinois Press (1996)
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Descripción University of Illinois Press, 1996. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110252065360

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