Posted on

Newly Published: Popular Music in the Classroom

New on our bookshelf:

Popular Music in the Classroom: Essays for Instructors
Edited by David Whitt

   Popular music has long been a subject of academic inquiry, with college courses taught on Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, along with more contemporary artists like Beyoncé and Outkast. This collection of essays draws upon the knowledge and expertise of instructors from a variety of disciplines who have taught classes on popular music. Topics include: the analysis of music genres such as American folk, Latin American protest music, and Black music; exploring the musical catalog and socio-cultural relevance of specific artists; and discussing how popular music can be used to teach subjects such as history, identity, race, gender, and politics. Instructional strategies for educators are provided.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Sound of Hope

New on our bookshelf:

The Sound of Hope: Music as Solace, Resistance and Salvation During the Holocaust and World War II

Kellie D. Brown

   Since ancient times, music has demonstrated the incomparable ability to touch and resonate with the human spirit as a tool for communication, emotional expression, and as a medium of cultural identity. During World War II, Nazi leadership recognized the power of music and chose to harness it with malevolence, using its power to push their own agenda and systematically stripping it away from the Jewish people and other populations they sought to disempower. But music also emerged as a counterpoint to this hate, withstanding Nazi attempts to exploit or silence it. Artistic expression triumphed under oppressive regimes elsewhere as well, including the horrific siege of Leningrad and in Japanese internment camps in the Pacific. The oppressed stubbornly clung to music, wherever and however they could, to preserve their culture, to uplift the human spirit and to triumph over oppression, even amid incredible tragedy and suffering.

   This volume draws together the musical connections and individual stories from this tragic time through scholarly literature, diaries, letters, memoirs, compositions, and art pieces. Collectively, they bear witness to the power of music and offer a reminder to humanity of the imperative each faces to not only remember, but to prevent another such cataclysm.

Posted on

Newly Published: Myth-Building in Modern Media

New on our bookshelf:

Myth-Building in Modern Media: The Role of the Mytharc in Imagined Worlds

A.J. Black

Mythology for centuries has served as humanity’s window into understanding its distant past. In our modern world, storytelling creates its own myths and legends, in media ranging from the world of television and cinema to literature and comic books, that help us make sense of the world we live in today.

What is the “Mytharc”? How did it arise? How does it inform modern long-form storytelling? How does the classical hero’s journey intersect with modern myths and narratives? And where might the storytelling of tomorrow take readers and viewers as we imagine our future? From The X-Files to H.P. Lovecraft, from Lost to the Marvel cinematic universe and many worlds beyond, this study explores our modern storytelling mythology and where it may lead us.

Posted on

Newly Published: Hollywood Musicals You Missed

New on our bookshelf:

Hollywood Musicals You Missed: Seventy Noteworthy Films from the 1930s

Edwin M. Bradley

Pre-World War II Hollywood musicals weren’t only about Astaire and Rogers, Mickey and Judy, Busby Berkeley, Bing Crosby, or Shirley Temple. The early musical developed through tangents that reflected larger trends in film and American culture at large. Here is a survey of select titles with a variety of influences: outsized songwriter personalities, hubbub over “hillbilly” and cowboy stereotypes, the emergence of swing, and the brief parade of opera stars to celluloid. Featured movies range from the smash hit Alexander’s Ragtime Band (1938), to obscurities such as Are You There? (1930) and Swing, Sister, Swing (1938), to the high-grossing but now forgotten Mountain Music (1937), and It’s Great to Be Alive (1933), a zesty pre-Code musical/science-fiction/comedy mishmash. Also included are some of the not-so-memorable pictures made by some of the decade’s greatest musical stars.

Posted on

Newly Published: Encyclopedia of Mythological Objects

New on our bookshelf:

Encyclopedia of Mythological Objects

Theresa Bane

Curious about the chains that bound Fenriswulf in Norse mythology? Or the hut of Baba Yaga, the infamous witch of Russian folklore? Containing more than one thousand detailed entries on the magical and mythical items from the different folklore, legends, and religions the world over, this encyclopedia is the first of its kind. From Abadi, the named stone in Roman mythology to Zul-Hajam, one of the four swords said to belong to the prophet Mohammed, each item is described in as much detail as the original source material provided, including information on its origin, who was its wielder, and the extent of its magical abilities. The text also includes a comprehensive cross-reference system and an extensive bibliography to aid researchers.

Posted on

Newly Published: Pro Football in the 1960s

New on our bookshelf:

Pro Football in the 1960s: The NFL, the AFL and the Sport’s Coming of Age

Patrick Gallivan

The 1960s were a tumultuous period in U.S. history and the sporting world was not immune to the decade’s upturn of tradition. As war in Southeast Asia, civil unrest at home and political assassinations rocked the nation, professional football struggled to attract fans. While some players fought for civil rights and others fought overseas, the ideological divides behind the protests and riots in the streets spilled into the locker rooms, and athletes increasingly brought their political beliefs into the sports world.

This history describes how a decade of social upheaval affected life on the gridiron, and the personalities and events that shaped the game. The debut of the Super Bowl, soon to become a fixture of American culture, marked a professional sport on the rise. Increasingly lucrative television contracts and innovations in the filming and broadcasting of games expanded pro football’s audiences. An authoritarian old guard, best represented by the revered Vince Lombardi, began to give way as star players like Joe Namath commanded new levels of pay and power. And at last, all teams fielded African American players, belatedly beginning the correction of the sport’s greatest wrong.

Posted on

Newly Published: Heart Full of Soul

New on our bookshelf:

Heart Full of Soul: Keith Relf of the Yardbirds

David French

This is the first full-length biography of Keith Relf, frontman for the Yardbirds and one of the great tragic characters in rock history. Keith’s moody vocals and harmonica helped to define the Yardbirds’ sound on a string of innovative hit records in the 1960s that influenced garage rock, psychedelia, blues rock, hard rock and heavy metal. Numerous books have been written about the Yardbirds’ famous guitarists—Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page—yet Keith has remained a mysterious and elusive figure since his death by electrocution at age 33.
A deeply private person, prone to depression and poor health, Keith was ill-suited to the life of a rock star. In the years following the Yardbirds’ breakup, as the band’s guitarists became household names playing blues-based rock, Keith insisted on pursuing new musical paths, always searching for something new and trying to extend the Yardbirds’ spirit of curiosity and innovation. By the time of his death in 1976, Keith was nearly forgotten and struggling physically, emotionally and financially. More than forty years after his tragic death, this important artist’s story has finally been written and his contributions celebrated as more than just a footnote to the careers of his better-known bandmates.

Posted on

Newly Published: Daniel Lewis

New on our bookshelf:

Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance

Donna H. Krasnow and Daniel E. Lewis

Daniel Lewis’s legacy as a hugely influential choreographer and teacher of modern dance is celebrated in this biography. It showcases the many roles he played in the dance world by organizing his story around various aspects of his work, including his years at the Juilliard School, dancing and touring with the José Limón Company, staging Limón’s masterpieces around the world, directing his own company (Daniel Lewis Dance Repertory Company), writing and choreographing operas and musicals, and his years as dean of dance at New World School of the Arts. His life has spanned a particular period of growth of modern and contemporary dance, and his biography gives insight into how the artistic and journalistic perspectives on modern dance were influenced by what was occurring in the broader dance and arts communities. The book also offers rarely seen photographs and interviews with unique perspectives on many dance luminaries.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Television Treasury

New on our bookshelf:

The Television Treasury: Onscreen Details from Sitcoms, Dramas and Other Scripted Series, 1947–2019
Vincent Terrace

The first and only of its kind, this book is a straightforward listing of more than 25,000 trivia facts from 2,498 TV series aired between 1947 and 2019. Organized by topic, trivia facts include everything from home addresses of characters, to names of pets and jobs that characters worked. Featured programs include popular shows like The Big Bang Theory and Friends and more obscure programs like A Date with Judy or My Friend Irma. Included is an alphabetical program index that lists trivia facts grouped by series.

Posted on

June Transportation Sale

It’s June, gas prices are cheap, the highways are free of traffic, and holiday destinations are uncrowded. Let’s hit the road (in spirit, if not in deed)! Our automotive history line, including histories of marques famous and obscure, auto racing, biographies, reference works like J. Kelly Flory’s massive American Cars volumes, and much more, is complimented by many excellent works on locomotive, aviation, and maritime history; bicycles; and military transportation. This month, we’re offering ALL transportation titles at 40% off the list price with coupon code TRANSPORTATION40! Use this coupon code on our website through Sunday, June 28. Safe travels from your friends at McFarland!

Posted on

Newly Published: Women in Jamaican Music

New on our bookshelf:

Women in Jamaican Music
Heather Augustyn

As the ubiquitous Jamaican musician Bob Marley once famously sang, “half the story has never been told.” This rings particularly true for the little-known women in Jamaican music who comprise significantly less than half of the Caribbean nation’s musical landscape. This book covers the female contribution to Jamaican music and its subgenres through dozens of interviews with vocalists, instrumentalists, bandleaders, producers, deejays and supporters of the arts. Relegated to marginalized spaces, these pioneering women fought for their claim to the spotlight amid oppressive conditions to help create and shape Jamaica’s musical heritage.

Posted on

Newly Published: Archie’s Rivals in Teen Comics, 1940s–1970s

New on our bookshelf:

Archie’s Rivals in Teen Comics, 1940s–1970s: An Illustrated History
Michelle Nolan

This is the first book to comprehensively examine the multitude of non-Archie teen humor comic books, including girls and boys such as Patsy Walker, Hedy Wolfe, Buzz Baxter and Wendy Parker from Marvel; Judy Foster, Buzzy, Binky and Scribbly from DC; Candy from Quality Comics; and Hap Hazard from Ace Comics. It covers, often for the first time, the history of the characters, who drew them, why (or why not) they succeeded as rivals for the Archie Series, highlights of both unusual and typical stories and much more. The author provides major plotlines and a history of the development of each series. Much has been written about the Archie characters, but until now very little has been told about most of their many comic book competitors.

Posted on

Newly Published: Captured by Aliens?

New on our bookshelf:

Captured by Aliens?: A History and Analysis of American Abduction Claims
Nigel Watson

New Hampshire couple Betty and Barney Hill provided Americans with what is essentially the original alien abduction story. Since their story became public in the early 1960s, many thousands of Americans have likewise come forward with similar stories of traumatic experiences. Sometimes the abductee has little conscious recollection of these events, but through nightmares, dreams, flashbacks and hypnosis they eventually learn more. Sometimes the participants are bewildered. To get a better understanding of the opposing viewpoints of skeptic and believer, the Betty and Barney Hill case is used to examine the wider context of such encounters, their historical origins, media influences and the latest extraterrestrial, psychological, paranormal, conspiracy and sociological theories that surround them.

Posted on

Newly Published: Sexualities in the Works of Joss Whedon

New on our bookshelf:

Sexualities in the Works of Joss Whedon
Lewis Call

Joss Whedon’s works, across all media including television, film, musicals, and comic books, are known for their commitment to gender and sexual equality. They have always encouraged their audiences to love whomever, and however, they wish. This book is a history of the sexualities represented in the works of Joss Whedon and it covers all of Whedon’s genres, including fantasy, horror, science fiction, westerns, superhero stories, and Shakespearean comedy.

Unique for its consideration of the entire arc of Whedon’s two-decade career, from the beginning of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s first season in 1997 through the conclusion of its twelfth (comic book) season in 2018, this book examines in detail both better-known queer sexualities of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and lesser-known non-normative sexualities. The book includes chapters on Whedon’s sexually dominant women and submissive men, sexual pluralism on Firefly, disabled sexualities in Whedon’s superhero narratives, zoophilia in Buffy, queer and heteronormative sexualities in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the subversion of the sexual tropes of slasher films in The Cabin in Woods, and dominance and submission in Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Posted on

Newly Published: Mental Health Disorders on Television

New on our bookshelf:

Mental Health Disorders on Television: Representation Versus Reality
Kimberley McMahon-Coleman and Roslyn Weaver

In past decades portrayals of mental illness on television were limited to psychotic criminals or comical sidekicks. As public awareness of mental illness has increased so too have its depictions on the small screen. A gradual transition from stereotypes towards more nuanced representations has seen a wide range of lead characters with mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, autism spectrum disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, depression and PTSD. But what are these portrayals saying about mental health and how closely do they align with real-life experiences?

Drawing on interviews with people living with mental illness, this book traces these shifts, placing on-screen depictions in context and demonstrating their real world impacts.

Posted on

Newly Published: Teaching Girls on Fire

New on our bookshelf:

Teaching Girls on Fire: Essays on Dystopian Young Adult Literature in the Classroom
Edited by Sarah Hentges and Sean P. Connors

The rise of YA dystopian literature has seen an explosion of female protagonists who are stirring young people’s interest in social and political topics, awakening their civic imagination, and inspiring them to work for change. These “Girls on Fire” are intersectional and multidimensional characters. They are leaders in their communities and they challenge injustice and limited representations. The Girl on Fire fights for herself and for those who are oppressed, voiceless, or powerless. She is the hope for our shared future.

This collection of new essays brings together teachers and students from a variety of educational contexts to explore how to harness the cultural power of the Girl on Fire as we educate real-world students. Each essay provides both theoretical foundations as well as practical, hands-on teaching tools that can be used with diverse groups of students, in formal as well as informal educational settings. This volume challenges readers to realize the symbolic power the Girl on Fire has to raise consciousness and inform action and to keep that fire burning.

Posted on

Newly Published: Murder Movie Makers

New on our bookshelf:

Murder Movie Makers: Directors Dissect Their Killer Flicks
Matthew Edwards

Serial killers, mass murderers, spree killers, outlaws, and real-life homicidal maniacs have long held a grim fascination for both filmmakers and viewers. Since the 1970s, hundreds of films and television movies have been made covering killers from Charles Manson to Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer creating a uniquely morbid sub-genre within horror and thrillers.

This collection of interviews sheds light on 17 filmmakers and screenwriters who tackled this controversial subject while attempting to explore the warped world of infamous killers. The interviews include John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), Tom Hanson (The Zodiac Killer), David Wickes (Jack the Ripper), Chris Gerolmo (Citizen X), Chuck Parello (The Hillside Stranglers), David Jacobson (Dahmer) and Clive Saunders on his ill-fated experience directing Gacy. Offering candid insights into the creative process behind these movies, the interviews also show the pitfalls and moral controversy the filmmakers had to wrestle with to bring their visions to the screen.

Posted on

Newly Published: Resist and Persist

New on our bookshelf:

Resist and Persist: Essays on Social Revolution in 21st Century Narratives
Edited by Amanda Firestone and Leisa A. Clark

To many, the world appears to be in a state of dangerous change. News and fictional media alike report that these are dark times, and narratives of social resistance imbue many facets of Western culture. The new essays making up this collection examine different events and themes of the 2010s that readily acknowledge the struggling state of things. Crucially, these essays look to the resistance and political activism of communities that seek to make long-reaching and institutional changes in the world through a diverse group of media texts. They scrutinize how a society relates to injustices and how individuals enact a desire for change. The authors analyze a broad range of works such as texts as Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock, Black Panther, The Death of Stalin, Get Out, Jessica Jones, Hamilton, The Shape of Water, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. By digging into these and other works, as well as historic events, the contributors explicate the soul-deep necessity of pushing back against injustice, whether personal or cultural.

Posted on

Newly Published: Eco-Vampires

New on our bookshelf:

Eco-Vampires: The Undead and the Environment
Simon Bacon

This work studies the ways vampiric narratives explore the eco-friendly credentials of the undead. Many of these texts and films show the vampire to be an essential part of a global ecosystem and an organism that can no longer tolerate the all-consuming forces of globalization and consumerism. Re-examining Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a range of other vampire narratives, primarily films, in a fresh light, this book reveals the nosferatu as both a plague on humankind and the eco-warriors that planet Earth desperately needs.

Posted on

Newly Published: Santa Claus Worldwide

New on our bookshelf:

Santa Claus Worldwide: A History of St. Nicholas and Other Holiday Gift-Bringers
Tom A. Jerman

This is a comprehensive history of the world’s midwinter gift-givers, showcasing the extreme diversity in their depictions as well as the many traits and functions these characters share. It tracks the evolution of these figures from the tribal priests who presided over winter solstice celebrations thousands of years before the birth of Christ, to Christian notables like St. Martin and St. Nicholas, to a variety of secular figures who emerged throughout Europe following the Protestant Reformation. Finally, it explains how the popularity of a poem about a “miniature sleigh” and “eight tiny reindeer” helped consolidate the diverse European gift-givers into an enduring tradition in which American children awake early on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought.

Although the names, appearance, attire and gift-giving practices of the world’s winter solstice gift-givers differ greatly, they are all recognizable as Santa, the personification of the Christmas and Midwinter festivals. Despite efforts to eliminate him by groups as diverse as the Puritans of seventeenth century New England, the Communist Party of the twentieth century Soviet Union and the government of Nazi Germany, Santa has survived and prospered, becoming one of the best known and most beloved figures in the world.

Posted on

Newly Published: Power and Marginalization in Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Power and Marginalization in Popular Culture: The Oppressed in Six Television and Literature Media Franchises
Lisa A. King

In many pop culture texts, “monsters” can be read as metaphors for marginalized Others in U.S. culture. This book applies the philosophical lens of Michel Foucault’s normalizing and bio-powers to zombies, vampires, magicians, genetic mutants and others, asking whether these stories of apparent liberation really are so. Exploring a single theme in depth across a series of pop culture texts, this book encourages a radical new understanding of liberation narratives and of political activism as a mechanism of social change.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Hallmark Channel

New on our bookshelf:

The Hallmark Channel: Essays on Faith, Race and Feminism
Edited by Emily L. Newman and Emily Witsell

Originally known as a brand for greeting cards, Hallmark has seen a surge in popularity since the early 2010s for its made-for-TV movies and television channels: the Hallmark Channel and its spinoffs, Hallmark Movie Channel (now Hallmark Movies & Mysteries) and Hallmark Drama. Hallmark’s brand of comforting, often sentimental content includes standalone movies, period and contemporary television series, and mystery film series that center on strong, intuitive female leads. By creating reliable and consistent content, Hallmark offers people a calming retreat from the real world.

This collection of new essays strives to fill the void in academic attention surrounding Hallmark. From the plethora of Christmas movies that are released each year to the successful faith-based scripted programming and popular cozy mysteries that air every week, there is a wealth of material to be explored. Specifically, this book explores the network’s problematic relationship with race, the dominance of Christianity and heteronormativity, the significance placed on nostalgia, and the hiring and re-hiring of a group of women who thrived as child stars.

Posted on

Newly Published: The British Aristocracy in Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf:

The British Aristocracy in Popular Culture: Essays on 200 Years of Representations
Edited by Stefania Michelucci, Ian Duncan and Luisa Villa

As traditional social hierarchies fall away, ever steeper levels of economic inequality and the entrenchment of new class distinctions lend a new glamor to the idea of aristocracy: witness the worldwide popularity of Downton Abbey, or the seemingly insatiable public fascination with the private lives of the British royal family. This collection of new essays investigates the enduring attraction to the icon of the aristocrat and the spectacle of aristocratic society. It traces the ambivalent reactions the aristocracy provokes and the needs (political, ideological, psychological, and otherwise) it caters to in modern times when the economic power of the landed classes have been eroded and their political role curtailed. In this interdisciplinary collection, aristocracy is considered from multiple viewpoints, including British and American literature, European history and politics, cultural studies, linguistics, visual arts, music, and media studies.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Clark Gable, in Pictures

Now available in softcover:

Clark Gable, in Pictures: Candid Images of the Actor’s Life
Chrystopher J. Spicer

From the very beginning of Clark Gable’s screen career, the life of the glamorous film star came under the scrutiny of the camera. While audiences are familiar with the public Gable as seen through the studio lens, the private Gable as seen in photos taken by members of the public, friends, and family is much less known.

This collection of candid photographs, many of them published here for the first time, has been compiled by biographer Chrystopher J. Spicer from his archives and from sources around the world. As with Spicer’s acclaimed centenary biography Clark Gable (McFarland, 2002), this volume provides rare insight into the life of the man behind the star.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Bionic Woman and Feminist Ethics

New on our bookshelf:

The Bionic Woman and Feminist Ethics: An Analysis of the 1970s Television Series
David Greven

The ABC TV series The Bionic Woman, created by Kenneth Johnson, was a 1970s pop culture phenomenon. Starring Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers, the groundbreaking series follows Jaime’s evolution from a young woman vulnerable to an exploitative social order, to a fierce individualist defying a government that sees her as property. Beneath the action-packed surface of Jaime’s battles with Fembots, themes such as the chosen family, technophobia, class passing, the cyborg, artificial beings, and a growing racial consciousness receive a sophisticated treatment.

This book links the series to precedents such as classical mythology, first-wave feminist literature, and the Hollywood woman’s film, to place The Bionic Woman in a tradition of feminist ethics deeply concerned with female autonomy, community, and the rights of nonhuman animals. Seen through the lens of feminist philosophy and gender studies, Jaime’s constantly changing disguises, attempts to pass as human, and struggles to accept her new bionic abilities offer provocative engagement with issues of identity. Jaime Sommers is a feminist icon who continues to speak to women and queer audiences, and her struggles and triumphs resonate with a worldwide fanbase that still remains enthralled and represented by The Bionic Woman.

Posted on

Newly Published: Gender and Werewolf Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

Gender and Werewolf Cinema
Jason Barr

It all begins with a howl, the unsettling sound which tells audiences that someone will soon become a werewolf. But the changes that occur during that transformation aren’t just physical; they are psychological as well. Unremarkable men become domineering leaders. Innocuous men become violent and overtly sexual. In films from The Wolf Man and An American Werewolf in London to Ginger Snaps, when the protagonists become werewolves, their perceptions of their gender and their masculinity or femininity change dramatically.

This volume explores how werewolves in cinema have provided an avenue for frank and often enlightening conversations about gender roles and masculinity. Werewolves are indeed a harbinger of change, but the genre of werewolf cinema itself has changed over time in how different styles of masculinity and different gender identities are portrayed.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Ages of the Black Panther

New on our bookshelf:

The Ages of the Black Panther: Essays on the King of Wakanda in Comic Books
Edited by Joseph J. Darowski

Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream comic books, and his most iconic adventures are analyzed here. This collection of new essays explores Black Panther’s place in the Marvel universe, focusing on the comic books. With topics ranging from the impact apartheid and the Black Panther Party had on the comic to theories of gender and animist imagery, these essays analyze individual storylines and situate them within the socio-cultural framework of the time periods in which they were created, drawing connections that deepen understanding of both popular culture and the movements of society. Supporting characters such as Everett K. Ross and T’Challa’s sister Shuri are also considered. From his creation in 1966 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee up through the character’s recent adventures by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze, more than fifty years of the Black Panther’s history are addressed.

Posted on

Newly Published: Film Directors and Emotion

New on our bookshelf:

Film Directors and Emotion: An Affective Turn in Contemporary American Cinema
Darragh Greene and Graham Price

Cinema is an affective medium. Films move us to feel wonder, joy, and love as well as fear, anger, and hatred. Today, we are living through a new age of sensibility when emotion is given priority over reason. Yet, there is a counter-cultural current in contemporary American cinema that offers a more nuanced treatment of emotion. Both aesthetically and eidetically, this new cinema of affect allows viewers to make up their own minds about what they feel and think.

This book focuses on key films by important auteur-directors—David Fincher, Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Linklater, Barry Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Pete Docter—who are to the forefront of this new cinema. It explores how they anatomize affect and how it functions in the creation or degradation of character and society.

Posted on

Pop Culture Sale Starts Now!

From our founding in 1979, McFarland has championed serious scholarship about popular culture. Longtime customers remember the classics like Bill Warren’s Keep Watching the Skies!—how many of you own the original hardcover in yellow cloth binding? Today, popular culture studies is perhaps our best-known line, with more than 2,000 books about horror and science fiction film, old time radio, biographies from the Golden Age of Hollywood, current television series, theatre, dance…whatever your interest, you’re sure to find it here. To express our appreciation for readers old and new, we’re offering 40% off ALL titles about popular culture through May 17 with coupon code POP40. Thank you for continuing to support McFarland, and we hope you find a few good books for your pop shelf!

Posted on

Newly Published: Windows into The West Wing

New on our bookshelf:

Windows into The West Wing: Theoretical Approaches to an Ideal Presidency
Patrick Webster

The West Wing, first broadcast in 1999, is thought by many to have been one of the most significant dramas shown on network television. Despite its overly idealized depiction of American political life, and blatant contradictions in the way we consider America, its values, its aspirations, and its behavior in the world, The West Wing nonetheless succeeds in attaining popular national and international aesthetic appeal.

This book aspires to explain the appeal of the show by considering issues such as race, religion, sexuality, disability, and education—from both a practical and theoretical perspective—through the lenses of feminism, gender theory, Marxism, psychoanalytical theories, structuralism, poststructuralism, postcolonialism and more. It seeks to offer informative and revealing readings of one of the most significant television productions of recent times.

Posted on

Newly Published: Madeleine Carroll

New on our bookshelf:

Madeleine Carroll: Actress and Humanitarian, from The 39 Steps to the Red Cross
John Pascoe

At the height of her celebrity, Madeleine Carroll (1906–1987) was the world’s highest-paid actress. She worked alongside such greats as Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton, British directors Victor Saville and Alfred Hitchcock, and Hollywood directors John Ford and Otto Preminger. She also did radio and television shows—all of which she abandoned to become a Red Cross worker.

Piecing together long-lost facts, the author describes Carroll’s almost indescribable life, narrating her personal highs and lows, as well as her fervent commitment to helping others—particularly child victims of war.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Streaming of Hill House

New on our bookshelf:

The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption
Edited by Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.

Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House has received both critical acclaim and heaps of contempt for its reimagining of Shirley Jackson’s seminal horror novel. Some found Mike Flanagan’s series inventive, respectful and terrifying. Others believed it denigrated and diminished its source material, with some even calling it a “betrayal” of Jackson. Though the novel has produced a great deal of scholarship, this is the first critical collection to look at the television series. Featuring all new essays from noted scholars and award-winning horror authors, this collection goes beyond comparing the novel and the Netflix adaptation to look at the series through the lenses of gender, architecture, education, hauntology, addiction, and trauma studies including analysis of the show in the context of 9/11 and #Me Too. Specific essays compare the series with other texts, from Flanagan’s other films and other adaptations of Jackson’s novel, to the television series Supernatural, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and the 2018 film Hereditary. Together, this collection probes a terrifying television series about how scary reality can truly be, usually because of what it says about our lives in America today.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Songs of Genesis

New on our bookshelf:

The Songs of Genesis: A Complete Guide to the Studio Recordings
Steve Aldous

Quintessentially British, Genesis spearheaded progressive rock in the 1970s, evolving into a chart-topping success through the end of the millennium. Influencing rock groups such as Radiohead, Phish, Rush, Marillion and Elbow, the experimental format of Genesis’ songs inspired new avenues for music to explore. From the 23-minute masterpiece “Supper’s Ready,” via the sublime beauty of “Ripples” and the bold experimentation of “Mama”, to hits such as “Invisible Touch” and “I Can’t Dance,” their material was inventive and unique. This book is the chronological history of the band’s music, with critical analysis and key details of each of the 204 songs Genesis recorded and released.

Posted on

Newly Published: The First Oscar Hammerstein and New York’s Golden Age of Theater and Music

New on our bookshelf:

The First Oscar Hammerstein and New York’s Golden Age of Theater and Music
Adolph S. Tomars

Oscar Hammerstein I came to New York in the 1860s, a Prussian runaway with $1.50 in his pocket, and found work at a cigar factory. A decade later he was publishing the nation’s leading tobacco trade journal and held dozens of patents for cigar-rolling machinery. He made a fortune and turned his efforts to theater.

He built eight of them, including four around Longacre Square—later Times Square—which became a thriving theater district. A daring impresario, he was involved at all levels, from booking to composition to stagecraft. Throughout the Gay Nineties and early 20th century, he billed the world’s top actors, prima donnas and vaudeville acts.

Then, as now, show business was speculation and high adventure, with rivalries fought in the headlines. Always a storm center, Hammerstein played a skillful chess game with both partners and performers while staging first-class shows for capacity crowds. This biography—from an unfinished manuscript by the son of one of his stage managers—recounts the heyday of his bold productions, his often turbulent relationships with associates, and the birth of Broadway.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Many Lives of It

New on our bookshelf:

The Many Lives of It: Essays on the Stephen King Horror Franchise
Edited by Ron Riekki

After its publication in 1986, Stephen King’s novel It sparked sequels, remakes, parodies and solidified an entire genre: clown horror. Decades later, director Andy Muschietti revitalized King’s popular novel, smashing all box office expectations with the release of his 2017 film It. At the time of its release, the movie set the record for the world’s highest-grossing horror film. Examining the legacy of the controversial cult novel, the 2017 box office sensation and other incarnations of the demonic clown Pennywise, this collection of never-before-published essays covers the franchise from a variety of perspectives. Topics include examinations of the carnivalesque in both the novel and films, depictions of sexuality and theology in the book, and manifestations of patriarchy and the franchise, among other diverse subjects.After its publication in 1986, Stephen King’s novel It sparked sequels, remakes, parodies and solidified an entire genre: clown horror. Decades later, director Andy Muschietti revitalized King’s popular novel, smashing all box office expectations with the release of his 2017 film It. At the time of its release, the movie set the record for the world’s highest-grossing horror film. Examining the legacy of the controversial cult novel, the 2017 box office sensation and other incarnations of the demonic clown Pennywise, this collection of never-before-published essays covers the franchise from a variety of perspectives. Topics include examinations of the carnivalesque in both the novel and films, depictions of sexuality and theology in the book, and manifestations of patriarchy and the franchise, among other diverse subjects.

Posted on

Newly Published: Appalachian Fiddler Albert Hash

New on our bookshelf:

Appalachian Fiddler Albert Hash: The Last Leaf on the Tree
Malcolm L. Smith with Edwin Lacy

World-class luthier and renowned guitarist Wayne Henderson calls Albert Hash “a real folk hero.” A virtuoso fiddler from the Blue Ridge, Hash built more than 300 fiddles in his lifetime, recorded numerous times with a variety of bands and inspired countless instrument makers and musicians in the mountains of rural Southwest Virginia near the North Carolina border. His biography is the story of a resourceful, humble man who dedicated his life to his art, community and Appalachian musical heritage.

Posted on

Newly Published: Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen

New on our bookshelf:

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen, 1950–1970: A History and Discography
Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen Since 1971: A History and Discography
Derrick Bang

Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme. Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme. John Barry’s arrangement of the James Bond theme. These iconic melodies have remained a part of the pop culture landscape since their debuts in the late 1950s and early ’60s: a “golden decade” that highlighted an era when movie studios and TV production companies employed full orchestral ensembles to provide a jazz backdrop for the suspenseful adventures of secret agents, private detectives, cops, spies and heist-minded criminals. Hundreds of additional films and television shows made during this period were propelled by similarly swinging title themes and underscores, many of which have (undeservedly) faded into obscurity. This meticulously researched book traces the embryonic use of jazz in mainstream entertainment from the early 1950s—when conservative viewers still considered this genre “the devil’s music”—to its explosive heyday throughout the 1960s. Fans frustrated by the lack of attention paid to jazz soundtrack composers—including Jerry Goldsmith, Edwin Astley, Roy Budd, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Jerry Fielding and many, many others—will find solace in these pages (along with all the information needed to enhance one’s music library). The exploration of action jazz continues in this book’s companion volume, Crime and Action Jazz on Screen Since 1971.

Posted on

Newly Published: Medieval Women on Film

New on our bookshelf:

Medieval Women on Film: Essays on Gender, Cinema and History
Edited by Kevin J. Harty

In this first ever book-length treatment, 11 scholars with a variety of backgrounds in medieval studies, film studies, and medievalism discuss how historical and fictional medieval women have been portrayed on film and their connections to the feminist movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. From detailed studies of the portrayal of female desire and sexuality, to explorations of how and when these women gain agency, these essays look at the different ways these women reinforce, defy, and complicate traditional gender roles.

Individual essays discuss the complex and sometimes conflicting cinematic treatments of Guinevere, Morgan Le Fay, Isolde, Maid Marian, Lady Godiva, Heloise, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Joan of Arc. Additional essays discuss the women in Fritz Lang’s The Nibelungen, Liv Ullmann’s Kristin Lavransdatter, and Bertrand Tavernier’s La Passion Béatrice.

Posted on

Newly Published: Exploring Star Trek: Voyager

New on our bookshelf:

Exploring Star Trek: Voyager: Critical Essays
Edited by Robert L. Lively

In 1995, Star Trek: Voyager brought a new dynamic to Star Trek’s familiar, starship oriented, show. Lost 70,000 light-years in space, Voyager and its crew faced an uncertain and changeable future, echoing anxieties felt in the United States at the time. These fifteen essays explore the context, characters, and themes of Star Trek: Voyager, as they relate to the culture and zeitgeist of the 1990s. Essays on gender show how the series both challenges and reinforces typical SF stereotypes through the characters of Captain Janeway, Kes and Seven of Nine, while essays on identity examine the show’s intersections with disability studies, race and multiracial identities, family dynamics, and emerging AI and humanity. Using the epic journey of Homer’s Odyssey as a starting point for the series, and ending with an examination of the impacts of inception at the birth of the internet age, this book shows the many ways in which Voyager negotiated different perspectives for what the future of the galaxy and the USA could be.

Posted on

Newly Published: Excavating Indiana Jones

New on our bookshelf:

Excavating Indiana Jones: Essays on the Films and Franchise
Edited by Randy Laist

With his signature bullwhip and fedora, the rousing sounds of his orchestral anthem, and his eventful explorations into the arcana of world religions, Indiana Jones—archeologist, adventurer, and ophidiophobe—has become one of the most recognizable heroes of the big screen. Since his debut in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has gone on to anchor several sequels, and a fifth film is currently in development. At the same time, the character has spilled out into multiple multimedia manifestations and has become a familiar icon within the collective cultural imagination.

Despite the longevity and popularity of the Indiana Jones franchise, however, it has rarely been the focus of sustained criticism. In Excavating Indiana Jones, a collection of international scholars analyzes Indiana Jones tales from a variety of perspectives, examining the films’ representation of history, cultural politics, and identity, and also tracing the adaptation of the franchise into comic books, video games, and theme park attractions.

Posted on

True Crime Sale

April means we’re halfway to our next Halloween, and we think it’s a great time to celebrate all things macabre. This month, we’re offering readers 40% off our most riveting—and often downright frightening—books on real-life monsters and mayhem with our true crime sale. Through April 19th, use coupon code TRUECRIME40 on all of our reads about serial killers, unsolved crimes, famous robberies and more. Browse our true crime catalog here!

Posted on

Newly Published: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and Horror Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and Horror Cinema: A Revised and Expanded Filmography of Their Terrifying Collaborations, 2d ed.
Mark A. Miller and David J. Hogan

From their first pairing in Hamlet (1948) to House of the Long Shadows (1983), British film stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing forged perhaps the most successful collaboration in horror film history. In its revised and expanded second edition, this volume examines their 22 movie team-ups, with critical commentary, complete cast and credits, production information, details on cinematography and make-up, exhibition history and box-office figures. A wealth of background about Hammer, Amicus and other production companies is provided, along with more than 100 illustrations.

Lee and Cushing describe particulars of their partnership in original interviews. Exclusive interviews with Robert Bloch, Hazel Court and nearly fifty other actors, directors and others who worked on the Lee-Cushing films are included.

Posted on

Newly Published: Nick McLean Behind the Camera

New on our bookshelf:

Nick McLean Behind the Camera: The Life and Works of a Hollywood Cinematographer
Wayne Byrne and Nick McLean

Nick McLean was one of the most acclaimed camera operators in American cinema of the 1970s, during which time he shot many classics of the New Hollywood movement including McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Heaven Can Wait, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, Marathon Man, and Being There. As a cinematographer throughout the 1980s, McLean would film blockbusters such as Cannonball Run II, City Heat, The Goonies, and Short Circuit before being lured into television to photograph some of the biggest shows in town, including Evening Shade, Cybill, and the pop culture phenomenon Friends, for which he was thrice Emmy-nominated.

This candid biography takes readers on an entertaining journey through five decades of Hollywood filmmaking, detailing McLean’s personal and professional relationships with some of the biggest film stars and directors in Hollywood (such as Robert Altman, Warren Beatty, Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, John Travolta, Paul Newman, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, and Mel Brooks) while delivering a behind-the-scenes look at some revered classics and beloved blockbusters of American film and television.

Posted on

Newly Published: John Derek

New on our bookshelf:

John Derek: Actor, Director, Photographer
Michelangelo Capua

Actor and director John Derek was born in Hollywood, where his striking good looks helped get him a contract with David O’ Selznick. Derek’s career took off after Humphrey Bogart made him his costar in the cultish noir Knock at Any Doors. Derek appeared in such Academy Award-nominated films as All the King’s MenRun for CoverThe Ten Commandments and Exodus, and worked with directors like Nicholas Ray, Cecil B. DeMille, Otto Preminger and others.

He was a competent, dedicated performer even in his last, trivial roles. In the 1960s, his career in decline, he began directing his own films. Although critics panned the string of movies he made starring his three wives—Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Bo Derek—some were box-office hits, like Tarzan, the Ape Man. This biography covers his extraordinary life and career, with extensive analysis of his films.

Posted on

Newly Published: Film History Through Trade Journal Art, 1916–1920

New on our bookshelf:

Film History Through Trade Journal Art, 1916–1920
Jeff Codori

The period in film history between the regimentation of the Edison Trust and the vertical integration of the Studio System—roughly 1916 through 1920—was a time of structural and artistic experimentation for the American film industry. As the nature of the industry was evolving, society around it was changing as well; arts, politics and society were in a state of flux between old and new. Before the major studios dominated the industry, droves of smaller companies competed for the attention of the independent exhibitor, their gateway to the movie-goer. Their arena was in the pages of the trade press, and their weapons were their advertisements, often bold and eye-catching.

The reporting of the trade journals, as they witnessed the evolution of the industry from its infancy towards the future, is the basis of this history. Pulled from the pages of the journals themselves as archived by the Media History Digital Library, the observations of the trade press writers are accompanied by cleaned and restored advertisements used in the battle among the young film companies. They offer a unique and vital look at this formative period of film history.

Posted on

Newly Published: Sicily on Screen

New on our bookshelf:

Sicily on Screen: Essays on the Representation of the Island and Its Culture
Edited by Giovanna Summerfield

With its physical beauty and kaleidoscopic cultural background, Sicily has long been a source of inspiration for filmmakers.

Twelve new essays by international scholars—and additional writings from directors Roberta Torre, Giovanna Taviani, and Costanza Quatriglio—seek to offset the near-absence of scholarship focusing on the relationship between the Mediterranean island and cinema. Touching on class relations, immigration, gender and poverty, the essays examine how Sicily is depicted in fiction, satire and documentaries.

Situated between North and South, East and West, innovation and tradition, authenticity and displacement, Sicily acts as a microcosm of the world, a place to explore numerous narratives and develop intercultural dialogue. It is also the center of cinematographic discussions and events such as the Taormina Film Festival and the SalinaDocFest. The volume presents Sicily almost as a character and creator in its own right.

Posted on

Newly Published: Virtual Tribe

New on our bookshelf:

Virtual Tribe: Indigenous Identity in Social Media
Steven C. Dinero

In the post-colonial era, tribal peoples are particularly vulnerable to new technologies and industrialization, which threaten their cultures, homelands and ways of living. However, there is a surprising exception to this trend in the form of social media.

This book explores how tribal and indigenous peoples across the globe are using social media such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in fresh and inventive ways unique to their values and lifestyles.
These platforms help tribal peoples to communicate across boundaries and barriers as never before, and are helping to strengthen communal identity and development in the global age.

Posted on

New to Kindle, March 2020

The following titles are now available on Kindle:

A Century in Uniform: Military Women in American Films
African American Entertainers in Australia and New Zealand: A History, 1788–1941
Apocalypse TV: Essays on Society and Self at the End of the World
Apocalyptic Ecology in the Graphic Novel: Life and the Environment After Societal Collapse
Autogenic Training: A Mind-Body Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain Syndrome and Stress-Related Disorders, 3d ed.
Baseball in Europe: A Country by Country History, 2d ed.
Chasing the Bounty: The Voyages of the Pandora and Matavy
Colonels in Blue—Missouri and the Western States and Territories: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary
Electric Trucks: A History of Delivery Vehicles, Semis, Forklifts and Others
Ethics After Poststructuralism: A Critical Reader
Film History Through Trade Journal Art, 1916–1920
Final Battles of Patton’s Vanguard: The United States Army Fourth Armored Division, 1945–1946
George “Mooney” Gibson: Canadian Catcher for the Deadball Era Pirates
Girl of Steel: Essays on Television’s Supergirl and Fourth-Wave Feminism
Hollywood’s Hard-Luck Ladies: 23 Actresses Who Suffered Early Deaths, Accidents, Missteps, Illnesses and Tragedies
Italian Crime Fiction in the Era of the Anti-Mafia Movement
Japan’s Spy at Pearl Harbor: Memoir of an Imperial Navy Secret Agent
Joe Quigley, Alaska Pioneer: Beyond the Gold Rush
John Derek: Actor, Director, Photographer
Kenny Riley and Black Union Labor Power in the Port of Charleston
Managing Organizational Conflict
Nick McLean Behind the Camera: The Life and Works of a Hollywood Cinematographer
Parenting Through Pop Culture: Essays on Navigating Media with Children
Philip K. Dick: Essays of the Here and Now
Quaker Carpetbagger: J. Williams Thorne, Underground Railroad Host Turned North Carolina Politician
Rhode Island’s Civil War Dead: A Complete Roster
Rosalie Gardiner Jones and the Long March for Women’s Rights
Rosenblatt Stadium: Essays and Memories of Omaha’s Historic Ballpark, 1948–2012
Sacred and Mythological Animals: A Worldwide Taxonomy
Sailing Under John Paul Jones: The Memoir of Continental Navy Midshipman Nathaniel Fanning, 1778–1783
Section 27 and Freedman’s Village in Arlington National Cemetery: The African American History of America’s Most Hallowed Ground
Sicily on Screen: Essays on the Representation of the Island and Its Culture
Springsteen as Soundtrack: The Sound of the Boss in Film and Television
Taking Fire!: Memoir of an Aerial Scout in Vietnam
The 6th Michigan Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster
The Civil War in the South Carolina Lowcountry: How a Confederate Artillery Battery and a Black Union Regiment Defined the War
The General Aviation Industry in America: A History, 2d ed.
The Man Who Made Babe Ruth: Brother Matthias of St. Mary’s School
The Showgirl Costume: An Illustrated History
The USS Swordfish: The World War II Patrols of the First American Submarine to Sink a Japanese Ship
The Women of City Point, Virginia, 1864–1865: Stories of Life and Work in the Union Occupation Headquarters
Themes in Latin American Cinema: A Critical Survey, 2d ed.
Understanding Nazi Ideology: The Genesis and Impact of a Political Faith
Virtual Tribe: Indigenous Identity in Social Media
Why the Axis Lost: An Analysis of Strategic Errors
Posted on

Newly Published: Stars of Jazz

New on our bookshelf:

Stars of Jazz: A Complete History of the Innovative Television Series, 1956–1958
James A. Harrod

Imagine an educational television series featuring America’s greatest jazz artists in performance, airing every week from 1956 to 1958 on KABC, Los Angeles.

Stars of Jazz was hosted by Bobby Troup, the songwriter, pianist and vocalist. Each show provided information about the performance that heightened viewers’ appreciation. The series garnered praise from critics and numerous awards including an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. A landmark series visually, too, it presented many television firsts including experimental films by designers Charles and Ray Eames.

All 130 shows were filmed as kinescopes. Surviving films were donated to the UCLA Film & Television Archive, where 16 shows have been restored; 29 additional shows are in the collection. The remaining 85 kinescopes were long ago discarded.

This first full documentation of Stars of Jazz identifies every musician, vocalist, and guest who appeared on the series and lists every song performed on the series along with composer and lyricist credits. More than 100 photographs include images from many of the lost episodes.

Posted on

Newly Published: Text & Presentation, 2019

New on our bookshelf:

Text & Presentation, 2019
Edited by Amy Muse

This volume is the sixteenth in a series dedicated to presenting the latest findings in the fields of comparative drama, performance, and dramatic textual analysis. Featuring some of the best work from the 2019 Comparative Drama Conference in Orlando, this book engages audiences with new research on contemporary and classic drama, performance studies, scenic design and adaptation theory in nine scholarly essays, two event transcripts and six book reviews. This year’s highlights include an interview with playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and a roundtable discussion on the sixtieth anniversary of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.

Posted on

Newly Published: Themes in Latin American Cinema

New on our bookshelf:

Themes in Latin American Cinema: A Critical Survey, 2d ed.
Keith John Richards

This updated and expanded edition gives critical analyses of 23 Latin American films from the last 20 years, including the addition of four films from Bolivia. Explored throughout the text are seven crucial themes: the indigenous image, sexuality, childhood, female protagonists, crime and corruption, fratricidal wars, and writers as characters.

Designed for general and scholarly interest, as well as a guide for teachers of Hispanic culture or Latin American film and literature, the book provides a sweeping look at the logistical circumstances of filmmaking in the region along with the criteria involved in interpreting a Latin American film. It includes interviews with and brief biographies of influential filmmakers, along with film synopses, production details and credits, transcripts of selected scenes, and suggestions for discussion and analysis.

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Apocalypse TV

New on our bookshelf:

Apocalypse TV: Essays on Society and Self at the End of the World
Edited by Michael G. Cornelius and Sherry Ginn

The end of the world may be upon us, but it certainly is taking its sweet time playing out. The walkers on The Walking Dead have been “walking” for nearly a decade. There are now dozens of apocalyptic television shows and we use the “end times” to describe everything from domestic politics and international conflict, to the weather and our views of the future.

This collection of new essays asks what it means to live in a world inundated with representations of the apocalypse. Focusing on such series as The Walking Dead, The Strain, Battlestar Galactica, Doomsday Preppers, Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, they explore how the serialization of the end of the world allows for a closer examination of the disintegration of humanity—while it happens. Do these shows prepare us for what is to come? Do they spur us to action? Might they even be causing the apocalypse?

Posted on

Newly Published: Girl of Steel

New on our bookshelf:

Girl of Steel: Essays on Television’s Supergirl and Fourth-Wave Feminism
Edited by Melissa Wehler and Tim Rayborn

The CW’s hit adaptation of Supergirl is a new take on the classic DC character for a new audience. With diverse female characters, it explores different versions of the female experience. No single character embodies a feminist ideal but together they represent attributes of the contemporary feminist conversation.

This collection of new essays uses a similar approach, inviting a diverse group of scholars to address the many questions about gender roles and female agency in the series. Essays analyze how the series engages with feminism, Supergirl’s impact on queer audiences, and how families craft the show’s feminist narratives. In the ever-growing superhero television genre, Supergirl remains unique as viewers watch a female hero with almost godlike powers face the same struggles as ordinary women in the series.

Posted on

Newly Published: Parenting Through Pop Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Parenting Through Pop Culture: Essays on Navigating Media with Children
Edited by JL Schatz

With the ever-increasing amount of media children are consuming, it has become important for parents to learn how to help them navigate this consumption productively. All too often, the only approach to screen time by parents is a question of limiting how much and what kind. Instead, if parents and educators can adopt a more nuanced relationship to media and education, adults and children can come together in order to engage with and deconstruct the messages that are embedded in popular culture. This enables children to become more informed citizens.

This collection seeks to do just that by providing a series of essays on strategies to engage children with varying topics and programming to ensure that media consumption is an active process that promotes social and political awareness instead of apathetic entertainment.

Posted on

Newly Published: Japan’s Musical Tradition

New on our bookshelf:

Japan’s Musical Tradition: Hogaku from Prehistory to the Present
Miyuki Yoshikami

What makes Japanese music sound Japanese? Each genre of Japan’s pre–Western music (hogaku) morphed from the preceding one with singing at its foundation. In ancient Shinto prayers, words of power recited in a prescribed cadence communicated veneration and community needs to the divine spirit (kami). From the prayers, Japan’s word-based music evolved into increasingly more sophisticated recitations with biwa, shamisen, and koto accompaniment.

This examination reveals shortcomings in the typical interpretation of Japanese music from a pitch-based Western perspective and carefully explores how the quintessential musical elements of singing, instrumental accompaniment, scale, and format were transmitted from their Shinto inception through all of Japan’s music. Japan’s culture, with its unique iemoto system and teaching methods, served to exactly replicate Japan’s music for centuries. Considering Japan’s music in the context of its own culture, logic, and sources is essential to gaining a clear understanding and appreciation of Japan’s music and dissipating the mystery of the music’s “Japaneseness.” Greater enjoyment of the music inevitably follows.

Posted on

Newly Published: What Is a Game?

New on our bookshelf:

What Is a Game?: Essays on the Nature of Videogames
Edited by Gaines S. Hubbell

What is a videogame? What makes a videogame “good”? If a game is supposed to be fun, can it be fun without a good story? If another is supposed to be an accurate simulation, does it still need to be entertaining? With the ever-expanding explosion of new videogames and new developments in the gaming world, questions about videogame criticism are becoming more complex. The differing definitions that players and critics use to decide what a game is and what makes a game successful, often lead to different ideas of how games succeed or fail.

This collection of new essays puts on display the variety and ambiguity of videogames. Each essay is a work of game criticism that takes a different approach to defining the game and analyzing it. Through analysis and critical methods, these essays discuss whether a game is defined by its rules, its narrative, its technology, or by the activity of playing it, and the tensions between these definitions. With essays on Overwatch, Dark Souls 3, Far Cry 4, Farmville and more, this collection attempts to show the complex changes, challenges and advances to game criticism in the era of videogames.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ray Milland

New on our bookshelf:

Ray Milland: The Films, 1929–1984
James McKay

With no formal training as an actor, Welsh-born Ray Milland (1907–1986), a former trooper in the British Army’s Household Cavalry, enjoyed a half-century career working alongside some of the great directors and stars from the Golden Age of cinema. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the alcoholic writer in The Lost Weekend (1945), a defining moment that enabled him to break free from romantic leads and explore darker shades of his debonair demeanor, such as the veiled menace of his scheming husband in Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder (1954).

A consummate professional with wide range, Milland took the directorial reins in several of his starring vehicles in the 1950s, most notably in the intelligent Western A Man Alone (1955). He comfortably slipped into most genres, from romantic comedy to adventure to film noir. Later he turned to science fiction and horror movies, including two with cult filmmaker Roger Corman. This first complete filmography covers the actor’s screen career, with a concise introductory biography and an appendix listing his extensive radio and television credits.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory

Now available in a new single-volume softcover:

Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory: A History and Filmography of His Studio and His Keystone and Mack Sennett Comedies, with Biographies of Players and Personnel
Brent E. Walker

This is a comprehensive career study and filmography of Mack Sennett, cofounder of Keystone Studios, home of the Keystone Kops and other vehicles that showcased his innovative slapstick comedy. The filmography covers the more than 1,000 films Sennett produced, directed, wrote or appeared in between 1908 and 1955, including casts, credits, synopses, production and release dates, locations, cross-references of remade stories and gags, footage excerpted in compilations, identification of prints existing in archives, and other information. The book, featuring 280 photographs, also contains biographies of several hundred performers and technical personnel connected with Sennett.

Posted on

Newly Published: New Jack

New on our bookshelf:

New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist
New Jack and Jason Norman

You may have cheered him. You may have booed him out of the building. But until now, you’ve never really known “The Most Dangerous Man in Wrestling.”

For the first time, Jerome “New Jack” Young opens up about his rise to stardom in Extreme Championship Wrestling. From his crazed dives off balconies and scaffolds to his bloody weapons matches that trampled the line between reality and entertainment, this candid memoir reveals the man behind the infamy, with new disclosures about the Mass Transit incident, the brutal beat-down of Gypsy Joe, and the stabbing of a fellow wrestler in Florida.

Beyond the gimmicks that united white supremacists and the NAACP against him, New Jack discusses his violent youth that nearly led him to a life of crime, his career as a bounty hunter, a near-fatal drug addiction, the last months of ECW, and his place in wrestling history.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Nazi Films in America, 1933–1942

Now available in softcover:

Nazi Films in America, 1933–1942
Harry Waldman

From 1933 until America’s entry into World War II in 1941, nearly 500 Nazi films were shown in American theaters, accounting for nearly half of all foreign language film imports during the period. These poorly disguised propaganda films were produced by Germany’s top studios and featured prominent pro–German and Nazi actors, directors and technicians. The films were replete with overt and covert anti–Jewish imagery and themes, but in spite of this obvious intent to use the medium to justify Nazi ascendancy, viewers and film critics from such prominent publications as the New York TimesVariety, the Washington Post and the Chicago Times consistently overlooked the films’ anti–Semitic message, dubbing them harmless entertainment.

This is the complete history of German films shown in America from the founding of the Nazi government to America’s involvement in the war. Summaries, descriptions and discussions of these almost 500 films serve to examine the major filmmakers and distributors who kept the German film industry alive during the rule of Hitler and the Third Reich. Special emphasis is placed on films directly commissioned by Joseph Goebbels, head of the German Ministry for the Enlightenment of the People and Propaganda and the man directly responsible for ensuring that the anti–Semitic ideology of the new regime was reflected in all films produced after January 30, 1933. Rarely seen photographs and illustrations complete an in-depth study of the Nazi use of this global medium.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Edwin Booth

Now available in softcover:

Edwin Booth: A Biography and Performance History
Arthur W. Bloom

The great nineteenth-century stage actor Edwin Booth began his long career in 1849 as a young teenager, following in his father’s footsteps. This biography traces his life and career as a tragic actor, including his childhood; his early acting tours of California, Australia and Hawaii; his rise to fame as a touring star; his two marriages; his relationship with his brother John Wilkes Booth; his disastrous management of Booth’s Theatre in New York City; and his death in 1891. The book includes an extensive performance history detailing every known Edwin Booth performance during his more than 30 years on the stage, with reviews and other supplementary materials.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Empires of the Imagination

Now available in softcover:

Empires of the Imagination: A Critical Survey of Fantasy Cinema from Georges Méliès to The Lord of the Rings
Alec Worley

The warlocks and ghosts of fantasy film haunt our popular culture, but the genre has too long been ignored by critics. This comprehensive critical survey of fantasy cinema demonstrates that the fantasy genre amounts to more than escapism. Through a meticulously researched analysis of more than a century of fantasy pictures—from the seminal work of Georges Méliès to Peter Jackson’s recent tours of Middle–earth—the work identifies narrative strategies and their recurring components and studies patterns of challenge and return, setting and character.

First addressing the difficult task of defining the genre, the work examines fantasy as a cultural force in both film and literature and explores its relation to science fiction, horror, and fairy tales. Fantasy’s development is traced from the first days of film, with emphasis on how the evolving genre reflected such events as economic depression and war. Also considered is fantasy’s expression of politics, as either the subject of satire or fuel for the fires of propaganda. Discussion ventures into the subgenres, from stories of invented lands inhabited by fantastic creatures to magical adventures set in the familiar world, and addresses clashes between fantasy and faith, such as the religious opposition to the Harry Potter phenomenon. From the money-making classics to little-known arthouse films, this richly illustrated work covers every aspect of fantasy film.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education

New on our bookshelf:

Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy
Edited by Doug Risner and Karen Schupp

The first of its kind, this volume presents research-based fictionalized case studies from experts in the field of dance education, examining theory and practice developed from real-world scenarios that call for ethical decision-making. Dilemmas faced by dance educators in the studio, on stage, in recreation centers and correctional facilities, and on social media are explored, accompanied by activities for humanizing dance pedagogy.

These challenges converge from educational policies and mandates developed over the past two decades, including teacher-proof “scripted” curriculum, high-stakes testing, standardization, and methods-centered teacher preparation; difficulties are often perpetuated by those who want to make change happen but do not know how.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Twin Towers in Film

New on our bookshelf:

The Twin Towers in Film: A Cinematic History of New York’s World Trade Center
Randy Laist

For thirty years, the twin towers of the World Trade Center soared above the New York City skyline, eventually becoming one of the most conspicuous symbolic structures in the world. They appeared in hundreds of films, from Godspell and Death Wish to Trading PlacesGhostbusters and The Usual Suspects. The politicians, architects and engineers who developed the towers sought to imbue them with a powerful visual presence. The resulting buildings provided filmmakers with imposing set pieces capable of conveying a range of moods and associations, from the sublime and triumphal to the sinister and paranoid.

While they stood, they captured the imagination of the world with their enigmatic symbolism. In their dramatic destruction, they became icons of a history that is still being written. Here viewed in the context of popular cinema, the twin towers are emblematic of how architecture, film and narrative interact to express cultural aspirations and anxieties.

Posted on

Newly Published: Sex, Death and Resurrection in Altered Carbon

New on our bookshelf:

Sex, Death and Resurrection in Altered Carbon: Essays on the Netflix Series
Edited by Aldona Kobus and Łukasz Muniowski

The 2018 Netflix series Altered Carbon is a vital contribution to the cyberpunk renaissance, among such titles as Snowpiercer or Blade Runner 2049. This collection of new essays answers the question: is this increasing popularity of cyberpunk a sign of recognition of the genre’s transgressive aspects, such as a stark critique of capitalism, or is it the opposite—a sign of the genre’s failure to successfully criticize modernity?

The contributors consider the series as taking on current issues, from a critique of neoliberalism, through the ethical aspects of biotechnology, up to thanatology. They provoke questions about what it means to be human in a world in which death does not exist. Essays evaluate the surging popularity of the series and cyberpunk at large from a variety of critical perspectives, shedding new light on a challenging and inventive series.

Posted on

Newly Published: Hollywood’s Hard-Luck Ladies

New on our bookshelf:

Hollywood’s Hard-Luck Ladies: 23 Actresses Who Suffered Early Deaths, Accidents, Missteps, Illnesses and Tragedies
Laura Wagner

In the era of Hollywood now considered its Golden Age, there was no shortage of hard-luck stories—movie stars succumbed to mental illness, addiction, accidents, suicide, early death and more.
This book profiles 23 actresses who achieved a measure of success before fate dealt them losing hands—in full public view. Overviews of their lives and careers provide a wealth of previously unpublished information and set the record straight on long-standing inaccuracies.

Actresses covered include Lynne Baggett, Suzan Ball, Helen Burgess, Susan Cabot, Mary Castle, Mae Clarke, Dorothy Comingore, Patricia Dane, Dorothy Dell, Sidney Fox, Charlotte Henry, Rita Johnson, Mayo Methot, Marjie Millar, Mary Nolan, Susan Peters, Lyda Roberti, Peggy Shannon, Rosa Stradner, Judy Tyler, Karen Verne, Helen Walker and Constance Worth.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Paul McCartney Catalog

New on our bookshelf:

The Paul McCartney Catalog: A Complete Annotated Discography of Solo Works, 1967–2019
Ted Montgomery

This complete discography of Paul McCartney’s solo and other post–Beatles work examines his entire catalog. It covers his studio and live albums and compilations, including the trance, electronic, classical and cover albums and selected bootleg recordings; all of the singles; videos and DVDs; and the 15 radio shows he made as Oobu Joobu. Each song is reviewed in depth, providing a wealth of information for both dedicated McCartney fans and those just discovering his music.

Posted on

Newly Published: Springsteen as Soundtrack

New on our bookshelf:

Springsteen as Soundtrack: The Sound of the Boss in Film and Television
Caroline Madden

A catalog nearly fifty years in the making, Bruce Springsteen’s music remains popular and a frequent subject of study yet little critical attention has been given to its inclusion in film and television. This book examines a selection of films and TV shows from the 1980s to the present—including MaskHigh FidelityThe Sopranos and The Wrestler—that feature Springsteen’s music on the soundtrack.

Relating his thematic preoccupations with religion, the Vietnam War, the promise of the open road, economic disparity and blue-collar malaise, his songs color narrative and articulate the inner lives of characters. This book explores the many on-screen contexts of Springsteen’s work from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. to Springsteen on Broadway.

Posted on

Newly Published: Children Beware!

New on our bookshelf:

Children Beware!: Childhood, Horror and the PG-13 Rating
Filipa Antunes

How does a culture respond when the limits of childhood become uncertain? The emergence of pre-adolescence in the 1980s, which is signified by the new PG-13 rating for film, disrupted the established boundaries between childhood and adulthood. The concept of pre-adolescence affected not only America’s pillar ideals of family and childhood innocence but also the very foundation of the horror genre’s identity, its association with maturity and exclusivity.

Cultural disputes over the limits of childhood and horror were explicitly articulated in the children’s horror trend (1980–1997), a cluster of child-oriented horror titles in film and other media, which included Gremlins, The Gate, the Goosebumps series, and others. As the first serious analysis of the children’s horror trend, with a focus on the significance of ratings, this book provides a complete chart of its development while presenting it as a document of American culture’s adaptation to pre-adolescence. Each important children’s horror title corresponds to a key moment of ideological negotiation, cultural power struggles, and industrial compromise.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Big Top on the Big Screen

New on our bookshelf:

The Big Top on the Big Screen: Explorations of the Circus in Film
Edited by Teresa Cutler-Broyles

Circuses and film are a natural pairing, and the new essays making up this volume begin the exploration of how these two forms of entertainment have often worked together to create a spectacle of onscreen alchemy. The films discussed herein are an eclectic group, ranging from early silent comedies to animated, 21st century examples, in which circuses serve as liminal or carnivalesque spaces wherein characters—and by extension audience members—can confront issues as far-reaching as labor relations, sensuality, identity, ethics, and more.

The circus as discussed in these essays encompasses the big top, the midway, the sideshow and the freak show; it becomes backdrop, character, catalyst and setting; and it is welcoming, malicious or terrifying. Circus performers are family, friends, foe or all of the above. And film is the medium that brings it all together. This volume starts the conversation about how circuses and film can combine to form productive, exciting spaces where almost anything can happen.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Global Vampire

New on our bookshelf:

The Global Vampire: Essays on the Undead in Popular Culture Around the World
Edited by Cait Coker

The media vampire has roots throughout the world, far beyond the shores of the usual Dracula-inspired Anglo-American archetypes. Depending on text and context, the vampire is a figure of anxiety and comfort, humor and fear, desire and revulsion. These dichotomies gesture the enduring prevalence of the vampire in mass culture; it can no longer articulate a single feeling or response, bound by time and geography, but is many things to many people. With a global perspective, this collection of essays offers something new and different: a much needed counter-narrative of the vampire’s evolution in popular culture. Divided by geography, this text emphasizes the vampiric as a globetrotting citizen du monde rather than an isolated monster.

Posted on

Newly Published: Willful Monstrosity

Newly Published:

Willful Monstrosity: Gender and Race in 21st Century Horror
Natalie Wilson

Taking in a wide range of film, television, and literature, this volume explores 21st century horror and its monsters from an intersectional perspective with a marked emphasis on gender and race. The analysis, which covers over 70 narratives, is organized around four primary monstrous figures—zombies, vampires, witches and monstrous women. Arguing that the current horror renaissance is populated with willful monsters that subvert prevailing cultural norms and systems of power, the discussion reads horror in relation to topics of particular import in the contemporary moment—rampant sexual violence, unbridled capitalist greed, brutality against people of color, militarism, and the patriarchy’s refusal to die.

Examining ground-breaking films and television shows such as Get Out, Us, The Babadook, A Quiet Place, Stranger Things, Penny Dreadful, and The Passage, as well as works by key authors like Justin Cronin, Carmen Maria Machado, Helen Oyeyemi, Margo Lanagan, and Jeanette Winterson, this monograph offers a thorough account of the horror landscape and what it says about the 21st century world.

Posted on

Newly Published: Secondary Superheroes of Golden Age Comics

New on our bookshelf:

Secondary Superheroes of Golden Age Comics
Lou Mougin

When Superman debuted in 1938, he ushered in a string of imitators—Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Captain America. But what about the many less well-known heroes who lined up to fight crooks, super villains or Hitler—like the Shield, the Black Terror, Crimebuster, Cat-Man, Dynamic Man, the Blue Beetle, the Black Cat and even Frankenstein?

These and other four-color fighters crowded the newsstands from the late 1930s through the early 1950s. Most have since been overlooked, and not necessarily because they were victims of poor publication. This book gives the other superheroes of the Golden Age of comics their due.

Posted on

Newly Published: Chester Morris

New on our bookshelf:

Chester Morris: His Life and Career
Scott Allen Nollen with Yuyun Yuningsih Nollen

The prodigious but humble scion of a New York theatrical family, Chester Morris acted on Broadway as a teenager and earned an Academy Award nomination for his first role in a Hollywood “talkie,” Alibi (1929). He became leading man to filmdom’s top female stars and starred in the popular series of “Boston Blackie” mysteries before creating substantial characters in the theater and the burgeoning medium of television.

This first book about Morris provides a detailed account of his life and career on stage, film, radio and television, and as a celebrated magician. It also constructs a fascinating record of his previously undocumented labor activism during the early years of the Screen Actors Guild and his tireless efforts to aid U.S. troops on the home front during World War II.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Interdisciplinary Theatre of Ping Chong

New on our bookshelf:

The Interdisciplinary Theatre of Ping Chong: Exploring Curiosity and Otherness on Stage
Yuko Kurahashi

This first-ever biography exploring the life of Ping Chong (1946), successful avant-garde artist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, focuses on his valuable contributions to modern theatre. Drawing on primary sources and her own attendance of Chong’s productions, the author takes a broad and informative approach to his work as a performer, playwright and director over 48 years.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Digital Dystopias of Black Mirror and Electric Dreams

New on our bookshelf:

The Digital Dystopias of Black Mirror and Electric Dreams
Steven Keslowitz

This critical examination of two dystopian television series—Black Mirror and Electric Dreams—focuses on pop culture depictions of technology and its impact on human existence. Representations of a wide range of modern and futuristic technologies are explored, from early portrayals of artificial intelligence (Rossum’s Universal Robots, 1921) to digital consciousness transference as envisioned in Black Mirror’s “San Junipero.”

These representations reflect societal anxieties about unfettered technological development and how a world infused with invasive artificial intelligence might redefine life and death, power and control. The impact of social media platforms is considered in the contexts of modern-day communication and political manipulation.

Posted on

Newly Published: Welcome to Arkham Asylum

New on our bookshelf:

Welcome to Arkham Asylum: Essays on Psychiatry and the Gotham City Institution
Edited by Sharon Packer, M.D. and Daniel R. Fredrick

Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane is a staple of the Batman universe, evolving into a franchise comprised of comic books, graphic novels, video games, films, television series and more. The Arkham franchise, supposedly light-weight entertainment, has tackled weighty issues in contemporary psychiatry. Its plotlines reference clinical and ethical controversies that perplex even the most up-to-date professionals. The 25 essays in this collection explore the significance of Arkham’s sinister psychiatrists, murderous mental patients, and unethical geneticists. It invites debates about the criminalization of the mentally ill, mental patients who move from defunct state hospitals into expanding prisons, madness versus badness, sociopathy versus psychosis, the “insanity defense” and more. Invoking literary figures from Lovecraft to Poe to Caligari, the 25 essays in this collection are a broad-ranging and thorough assessment of the franchise and its relationship to contemporary psychiatry.

Posted on

Newly Published: Sidney Lumet

Newly Published:

Sidney Lumet: The Actor’s Director
Aubrey Malone

Punctilious to a fault, Sidney Lumet favored intense rehearsal, which enabled him to bring in most of his films under budget and under schedule. An energized director who captured the heart of New York like no other, he created a vast canon of work that stands as a testament to his passionate concern for justice and his great empathy for the hundreds of people with whom he collaborated during a career that spanned more than five decades. This is the first full-scale biography of a man who is generally regarded as one of the most affable directors of his time. Using the oral testimonies of those who worked with him both behind and in front of the camera, this book explores Lumet’s personality and working methods.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Minds Behind Adventure Games

New on our bookshelf:

The Minds Behind Adventure Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers
Patrick Hickey, Jr.

Featuring interviews with the creators of 31 popular video games—including Grand Theft AutoStriderMaximum Carnage and Pitfall—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the origins of some of the most enjoyable and iconic adventure games of all time. Interviewees recount the endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers, the growth of the adventure genre, and reveal the creative processes that produced some of the industry’s biggest hits, cult classics and indie successes.

Posted on

Newly Published: Mixed Martial Arts and the Law

New on our bookshelf:

Mixed Martial Arts and the Law: Disputes, Suits and Legal Issues
Jason J. Cruz

Barbaric. Savage. Violent. Words often used by critics to describe the sport of mixed martial arts. To this can be added lucrative, popular and flourishing. MMA has seen astronomical growth since the 2000s, spurred on by its biggest promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
Along the way, legal issues have plagued the sport. This book provides an overview of the most important cases and controversies arising both inside and outside of the cage—antitrust suits by fighters against promoters, fighters suing other fighters, drug testing, contractual issues, and the need for federal regulation.

Posted on

Newly Published: Burt Reynolds on Screen

New on our bookshelf:

Burt Reynolds on Screen
Wayne Byrne

In a prolific career spanning six decades, actor Burt Reynolds was one of the world’s most famous stars of film and television. As much a folk hero as a Hollywood celebrity, he began as a stuntman and bit player in B Westerns and TV shows before landing a starring role on NBC’s Riverboat (1959–1961). His breakthrough role in Deliverance (1972) made him famous and the sleeper hit Smokey and the Bandit (1977) made his name a household word.

This first critical overview of Reynolds’ work examines his complete filmography, featuring candid discussions with costars and collaborators, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and a wealth of film stills.

Posted on

Newly Published: Hollywood and the Female Body

New on our bookshelf:

Hollywood and the Female Body: A History of Idolization and Objectification
Stephen Handzo

From the first, brief moving images of female nudes in the 1880s to the present, the motion picture camera made the female body a battleground in what we now call the culture wars. Churchmen feared the excitation of male lust; feminists decried the idealization of a body type that devalued the majority of women.

This history of Hollywood’s treatment of women’s bodies traces the full span of the motion picture era. Primitive peepshow images of burlesque dancers gave way to the “artistic” nudity of the 1910s when model Audrey Munson and swimmer Annette Kellerman contended for the title of American Venus. Clara Bow personified the qualified sexual freedom of the 1920s flapper. Jean Harlow, Mae West and the scantily clad chorus girls of the early 1930s provoked the Legion of Decency to demand the creation of a Production Code Administration that turned saucy Betty Boop into a housewife. Things loosened up during World War II when Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth ruled the screen. The postwar years saw the blonde bombshells and “mammary madness” of the 1950s while the 1960’s brought bikini-clad sex kittens. With the replacement of the Production Code by a ratings system in 1968, nudity and sex scenes proliferated in the R-rated movies of the 1970s and 1980s. Recent movies, often directed by women, have pointed the way toward a more egalitarian future. Finally, the #MeToo movement and the fall of Harvey Weinstein have forced the industry to confront its own sexism. Each chapter of this book situates movies, famous and obscure, into the context of changes in the movie industry and the larger society.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Haunted House on Film

New on our bookshelf:

The Haunted House on Film: An Historical Analysis
Paul Meehan

A popular phenomenon since antiquity, the image of the haunted house is one that has translated elegantly into the modern medium of film. The haunted house transcends genre, appearing in mysteries, gothic romances, comedies and horror films. This book is the first comprehensive historical and critical study of themes surrounding haunted houses in film. Covering more than 100 films, it spans from the Mystery House thrillers of the silent era to the high-tech, big budget productions of the 21st Century. Included are the works of such acclaimed directors as D.W. Griffith, Robert Wise, Mario Bava, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro. The book also covers the real-life “haunted house” phenomenon and movies based on paranormal case files, including those featured in films like the Conjuring series.

Posted on

Newly Published: Don’t Go Upstairs!

New on our bookshelf:

Don’t Go Upstairs!: A Room-by-Room Tour of the House in Horror Movies
Cleaver Patterson

Throughout cinematic history, the buildings characters inhabit–whether stately rural mansions or inner-city apartment blocks–have taken on extra dimensions, often featuring as well developed characters themselves. Nowhere is this truer than in the horror film, where familiar spaces–from chaotic kitchens to forgotten attics to overgrown greenhouses–become settings for diabolical acts or supernatural visitations.

Showing readers through a selection of prime movie real estate, this book explores how homes come to life in horror with an analysis of more than sixty films, including interviews and insights from filmmakers and scholars, along with many rare stills. From the gruesome murder in the hallway of The House by the Cemetery (1981) to the malevolent haunting in the nursery of Eel Marsh House in The Woman in Black (2012), no door is left unopened.

Posted on

Newly Published: Science Fiction and the Dismal Science

New on our bookshelf:

Science Fiction and the Dismal Science: Essays on Economics in and of the Genre
Edited by Gary Westfahl, Gregory Benford, Howard V. Hendrix and Jonathan Alexander

Despite the growing importance of economics in our lives, literary scholars have long been reluctant to consider economic issues as they examine key texts. This volume seeks to fill one of these conspicuous gaps in the critical literature by focusing on various connections between science fiction and economics, with some attention to related fields such as politics and government. Its seventeen contributors include five award-winning scholars, five science fiction writers, and a widely published economist.

Three topics are covered: what noted science fiction writers like Robert A. Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Kim Stanley Robinson have had to say about our economic and political future; how the competitive and ever-changing publishing marketplace has affected the growth and development of science fiction from the nineteenth century to today; and how the scholars who examine science fiction have themselves been influenced by the economics of academia. Although the essays focus primarily on American science fiction, the traditions of Russian and Chinese science fiction are also examined. A comprehensive bibliography of works related to science fiction and economics will assist other readers and critics who are interested in this subject.

Posted on

Beer, Wine and Spirits Sale

While many of our readers, authors and staff have an appreciation for the drinking of beer, practically as many also have a fondness for the culture of beer.  Drink and culture converge at McFarland, where we have a small but growing line of books that look at the social and historical impact of beer, wine and spirits.  Now through January 15, get 30% off of these books with coupon code BEER30.  Grab a book, grab your beverage of choice, and kick back and enjoy two of life’s great pastimes!  Furthermore, if you’re an author with an idea for a book about beer culture, tell us what you’ve got on tap at proposals@mcfarlandpub.com.

Posted on

Books about the Holidays

Check out our latest catalog of books about the holidays—Jolly Elves with Hearty Beards—and get 20% off books about the holidays thru January 6 with coupon code MIDWINTER19!

Also, our catalog-wide Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale continues through December 2.  Use coupon code HOLIDAY19 to receive 20% off your entire purchase.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Western Films of Robert Mitchum

New on our bookshelf:

The Western Films of Robert Mitchum: Hollywood’s Cowboy Rebel
Gene Freese

Robert Mitchum was—and still is—one of Hollywood’s defining stars of Western film. For more than 30 years, the actor played the weary and cynical cowboy, and his rough-and-tough presence on-screen was no different than his one off-screen. With a personality fit for western-noir, Robert Mitchum dominated the genre during the mid-20th century, and returned as the anti-hero again during the 1990s before his death. This book lays down the life of Mitchum and the films that established him as one of Hollywood’s strongest and smartest horsemen. Going through early classics like Pursued (1947) and Blood on the Moon (1948) to more recent cult favorites like Tombstone (1993) and Dead Man (1995), Freese shows how Mitchum’s nuanced portrayals of the iconic anti-hero of the West earned him his spot in the Cowboy Hall of Fame.