Posted on

Newly Published: Policing the Monstrous

New on our bookshelf:

Policing the Monstrous: Essays on the Supernatural Crime Procedural
Edited by Ashley Szanter

This collection of new essays examines how the injection of supernatural creatures and mythologies transformed the hugely popular crime procedural television genre. These shows complicate the predictable and comforting patterns of the procedural with the inherently unknowable nature of the supernatural. From Sherlock to Supernatural, essays cover a range of topics including the gothic, the post-structural nature of The X-Files, the uncanny lure of Twin Peaks, trickster detectives, forensic fairy tales, the allure of the vampire detective, and even the devil himself.

Posted on

Newly Published: Dan Mason

New on our bookshelf:

Dan Mason: From Vaudeville to Broadway to the Silent Screen
Joseph P. Eckhardt

In a career that spanned 57 years, Dan Mason (1853–1929) went from performing German dialect routines in variety halls to appearing in Broadway musicals to playing character roles in silent films. Along the way he also wrote, produced, directed and starred in his own plays. Best remembered for his role as the irascible “Skipper” in the Toonerville Trolley silent comedies, Mason created dozens of unique and colorful characters on stage and screen.

This first-ever biography of the American comedian explores the roots of his craft and the challenges he faced navigating the rapidly changing world of popular entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Alchemical Harry Potter

New on our bookshelf:

The Alchemical Harry Potter: Essays on Transfiguration in J.K. Rowling’s Novels
Edited by Anne J. Mamary

When Harry Potter first boards the Hogwarts Express, he journeys to a world which Rowling says has alchemy as its “internal logic.” The Philosopher’s Stone, known for its power to transform base metals into gold and to give immortality to its maker, is the subject of the conflict between Harry and Voldemort in the first book of the series. But alchemy is not about money or eternal life, it is much more about the transformations of desire, of power and of people—through love.

Harry’s equally remarkable and ordinary power to love leads to his desire to find but not use the Philosopher’s Stone at the start of the series and his wish to end the destructive power of the Elder Wand at the end. This collection of essays on alchemical symbolism and transformations in Rowling’s series demonstrates how Harry’s work with magical objects, people, and creatures transfigure desire, power, and identity. As Harry’s leaden existence on Privet Drive is transformed in the company of his friends and teachers, the Harry Potter novels have transformed millions of readers, inspiring us to find the gold in our ordinary lives.

Posted on

Newly Published: Super Skills, Super Reading

New on our bookshelf:

Super Skills, Super Reading: Literacy and Television Superheroes
Perry Dantzler

What comes to mind when you think about superheroes? Strength, bravery, and heroism are common answers. However, superheroes do not only have physical strength, but they also have mental strengths and skills. Superheroes tend to have intelligence and detection skills which allow them to develop other skills. In this analysis of superhero literacy aimed at students, the connection between superhero media and larger theories of literacy are explored. The author uses six superhero television shows to show how literacy is portrayed in superhero media and how it reflects and shapes cultural ideas of literacy. The shows covered are Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil.

Posted on

Newly Published: How Not to Make a Movie

New on our bookshelf:

How <I>Not</I> to Make a Movie: An Independent Filmmaker in Hollywood Hell
William Robert Carey

Part memoir, part primer, part cautionary tale, this book takes the reader along on a filmmaker’s 12-year journey through Hollywood Hell, culminating in the movie Angels In Stardust (2016), starring Alicia Silverstone, AJ Michalka and Billy Burke. Describing meetings with producers, agents, managers, hustlers, wannabes and famous celebrities, and how he overcame the host of problems encountered while trying to produce a movie, William Robert Carey’s humorous and confessional narrative illustrates why it takes a minor miracle, a cabinet of liquor and plenty of Pepto-Bismol to complete a film. Copies of his option agreement, script sales contract and director’s contract, crafted by LA entertainment attorneys, are included as a valuable guide for beginners.

Posted on

Newly Published: Sid Caesar and Your Show of Shows

New on our bookshelf:

Sid Caesar and Your Show of Shows: The Birth of the Television Sketch Comedy Series
Karen J. Harvey

In the early days of television, “comedy” often meant stale vaudeville routines and stand-up. Then, in 1950, a new comedy-variety show debuted on NBC—Your Show of Shows. Its gifted and mercurial star, Sid Caesar, talented ensemble cast and superb writing staff—including Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Lucille Kallen and Mel Tolkin—would create comedy designed for the new medium and provide a template for successful shows that followed. With rare illustrations and the most complete sketch guide yet compiled, this book highlights Caesar’s reputation as a brilliant comic actor and describes the writing and production of the weekly live broadcast that kept 60 million TV viewers home on Saturday nights.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Fortean Influence on Science Fiction

New on our bookshelf:

The Fortean Influence on Science Fiction: Charles Fort and the Evolution of the Genre
Tanner F. Boyle

Charles Fort was an American researcher from the early twentieth century who cataloged reports of unexplained phenomena he found in newspapers and science journals. A minor bestseller with a cult appeal, Fort’s work was posthumously republished in the pulp science fiction magazine Astounding Stories in 1934. His idiosyncratic books fascinated, scared, and entertained readers, many of them authors and editors of science fiction. Fort’s work prophesied the paranormal mainstays of SF literature to come: UFOs, poltergeists, strange disappearances, cryptids, ancient mysteries, unexplained natural phenomena, and everything in between. Science fiction authors latched on to Fort’s topics and hypotheses as perfect fodder for SF stories. Writers like Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, H.P. Lovecraft, and others are examined in this exploration of Fortean science fiction—a genre that borrows from the reports and ideas of Fort and others who saw the possible science-fictional nature of our reality.

Posted on

Newly Published: Circle in the Square Theatre

New on our bookshelf:

Circle in the Square Theatre: A Comprehensive History
Sheila Hickey Garvey

Based on years of research as well as interviews conducted with Circle in the Square’s major contributing artists, this book records the entire history of this distinguished theatre from its nightclub origins to its current status as a Tony Award-winning Broadway institution. Over the course of seven decades, Circle in the Square theatre profoundly changed ideas of what American theatre could be. Founded by Theodore Mann and José Quintero in an abandoned Off–Broadway nightclub just after WWII, it was a catalyst for the Off–Broadway movement. The building had a unique arena-shaped performance space that became Circle in the Square theatre, New York’s first Off–Broadway arena stage and currently Broadway’s only arena stage. The theatre was precedent-setting in many other regards, including operating as a non-profit, contracting with trade unions, establishing a school, and serving as a home for blacklisted artists. It sparked a resurgence of interest in playwright Eugene O’Neill’s canon, and was famous for landmark revivals and American premieres of his plays. The theatre also fostered the careers of such luminaries as Geraldine Page, Colleen Dewhurst, George C. Scott, Jason Robards, James Earl Jones, Cecily Tyson, Dustin Hoffman, Irene Papas, Alan Arkin, Philip Bosco, Al Pacino, Amy Irving, Pamela Payton-Wright, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Christie, John Malkovich, Lynn Redgrave, and Annette Bening.

Posted on

Newly Published: Mr. Sulu Grabbed My Ass, and Other Highlights from a Life in Comics, Novels, Television, Films and Video Games

New on our bookshelf:

Mr. Sulu Grabbed My Ass, and Other Highlights from a Life in Comics, Novels, Television, Films and Video Games
Peter David

Peter David, award-winning writer of comic books, novels, television, films and video games, has boatloads of stories to tell about his 30-year career. Whether it was attending George Takei’s wedding, being described as Will Smith’s bodyguard, or wandering around on the set of Babylon 5, David has been telling anecdotes of his life for years. Here they are all in one place, along with the story of a career that has taken him from writing Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk for twelve years to adventures in the Star Trek universe to the New York Times bestseller list.

Posted on

Vikings Catalog and Sale

On the threshold of winter, it is not untoward to turn one’s thoughts to hearty beards.  So it is here at McFarland, and ours have specifically turned to Vikings and representations of medieval Nordic-ness in myth, literature and popular culture.  We’ve collected all our related McFarland titles into this catalog, and you’ll find a full range of books covering topics such as the intellectual inspirations for Tolkien’s legendarium, the Vikings television series that successfully summoned their historical world, and insights into the people of the great Icelandic medieval sagas.  If you have an interest in Norse mythology in heavy metal music, McFarland has a book for that, too!  Through December 31, get 30% off these books with coupon code VIKINGS30.

Posted on

Newly Published: Leslie Stevens Goes to Hollywood

New on our bookshelf:

Leslie Stevens Goes to Hollywood: Daystar Productions, Kate Manx and the Making of Private Property
Dore Page

The ongoing popularity of Leslie Stevens’ 1960s television masterwork The Outer Limits, as well as later series creations Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, has kept his name familiar to television fans. Surprisingly, very little writing exists on his earlier Broadway contributions or his seminal film and television production company, Daystar Productions. Stevens’ personal life also remains relatively unknown.

This biography focuses on the origins of Daystar Productions as well as Stevens’ first years in Hollywood when he was married to actress Kate Manx. After meeting Manx in 1957, Stevens took her with him to Los Angeles and refashioned her into a dramatic film actress who would soon star in his startling, New Wave–style debut film, Private Property. That film, which Stevens made for just $40,000, would go on to gross several million dollars and open the doors to Hollywood for Manx and co-star Warren Oates. While Oates prospered, Manx was unable to sustain her brief success and her life soon spiraled out of control as Stevens’ career turned increasingly toward television.

Posted on

Newly Published: Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2019

New on our bookshelf:

Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2019
Harris M. Lentz III

The entertainment world lost many notable talents in 2019, including television icon Doris Day, iconic novelist Toni Morrison, groundbreaking director John Singleton, Broadway starlet Carol Channing and lovable Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew. Obituaries of actors, filmmakers, musicians, producers, dancers, composers, writers, animals and others associated with the performing arts who died in 2019 are included in this edition. Date, place and cause of death are provided for each, along with a career recap and a photograph. Filmographies are given for film and television performers.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Cinema of Ermanno Olmi

New on our bookshelf:

The Cinema of Ermanno Olmi
Ian Pettigrew

Ermanno Olmi is one of cinema’s great, unsung filmmakers. Emerging onto the Italian art film scene just as the last canonical neo-realist movies were released in the late 1950s and early 1960s, several of Olmi’s films, including Il Posto (1961), The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) and The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988), won top prizes at Cannes and Venice. However, the majority of his work has remained unappreciated. This, the first English language book on Olmi, explores the director’s style and evolving environmentalism, from his early, institutional short films, made while working at an Italian energy company, to his 19 feature films.

Posted on

Newly Published: Law Enforcement in American Cinema, 1894–1952

New on our bookshelf:

Law Enforcement in American Cinema, 1894–1952
George Beck

Widespread law enforcement or formal policing outside of cities appeared in the early 20th century around the same time the early film industry was developing—the two evolved in tandem, intersecting in meaningful ways. Much scholarship has focused on portrayals of the criminal in early American cinema, yet little has been written about depictions of the criminal’s antagonist. This history examines how different on-screen representations shifted public perception of law enforcement—initially seen as a suspicious or intrusive institution, then as a power for the common good.

Posted on

Newly Published: British Thrillers, 1950–1979

New on our bookshelf:

British Thrillers, 1950–1979: 845 Films of Suspense, Mystery, Murder and Espionage
Franz Antony Clinton

The three decades following WWII are considered the golden age of the British thriller film. Newer characters like James Bond, along with established icons such as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and The Saint, all contributed to the era’s bountiful array of cinematic mystery, danger, excitement and suspense. For the first time, the extensive output of British thrillers from 1950 to 1979 is covered in one volume.

Themed chapters cover a total of 845 films including spy thrillers, mystery thrillers, psychological thrillers, action-adventure thrillers, and crime thrillers. Within these chapters, films appear chronologically, each with a synopsis/review. Additional information provided for each film includes production companies and alternate British and U.S. titles, and the work includes eight useful appendices.

Posted on

Newly Published: Wonder Women and Bad Girls

New on our bookshelf:

Wonder Women and Bad Girls: Superheroine and Supervillainess Archetypes in Popular Media
Valerie Estelle Frankel

Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Shuri, and Black Widow. These four characters portray very different versions of women: the superheroine, the abuse victim, the fourth wave princess, and the spy, respectively. In this in-depth analysis of female characters in superhero media, the author begins by identifying ten eras of superhero media defined by the way they portray women. Following this, the various archetypes of superheroines are classified into four categories: boundary crossers, good girls, outcasts, and those that reclaim power. From Golden Age comics through today’s hottest films, heroines have been surprisingly assertive, diverse, and remarkable in this celebration of all the archetypes.

Posted on

Newly Published: Vampire Films Around the World

New on our bookshelf:

Vampire Films Around the World: Essays on the Cinematic Undead of Sixteen Cultures
Edited by James Aubrey

Vampires are arguably the most popular and most paradoxical of gothic monsters: life draining yet passionate, feared yet fascinating, dead yet immortal. Vampire content produces exquisitely suspenseful stories that, combined with motion picture filmmaking, reveal much about the cultures that enable vampire film production and the audiences they attract.

This collection of essays is generously illustrated and ranges across sixteen cultures on five continents, including the films Let the Right One In, What We Do in the Shadows, Cronos, and We Are the Night, among many others. Distinctly different kinds of European vampires have originated in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, and Serbia. North American vampires are represented by films from Mexico, Canada, and the USA. Middle Eastern locations include Tangier, Morocco, and a fictional city in Iran. South Asia has produced Bollywood vampire films, and east Asian vampires are represented by films from Korea, China, and Japan. Some of the most recent vampire movies have come from Australia and New Zealand. These essays also look at vampire films through lenses of gender, post-colonialism, camp, and otherness as well as the evolution of the vampiric character in cinema worldwide, together constituting a mosaic of the cinematic undead.

Posted on

Newly Published: Wax Museum Movies

New on our bookshelf:

Wax Museum Movies: A Comprehensive Filmography
George Higham

Spanning over a century of cinema and comprised of 127 films, this book analyzes the cinematic incarnations of the “uncanniest place on earth”—wax museums. Nothing is as it seems at a wax museum. It is a place of wonder, horror and mystery? Will the figures come to life at night, or are they very much dead with corpses hidden beneath their waxen shells? Is the genius hand that molded them secretly scarred by a terrible tragedy, longing for revenge? Or is it a sinner’s sanctum, harboring criminals with countless places to hide in plain sight?

This chronological analysis includes essential behind the scenes information in addition to authoritative research comparing the creation of “real” wax figures to the “reel” ones seen onscreen. Publicly accessible or hidden away in a maniac’s lair, wax museums have provided the perfect settings for films of all genres to thrillingly play out on the big screen since the dawn of cinema.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ethics in Comedy

New on our bookshelf:

Ethics in Comedy: Essays on Crossing the Line
Edited by Steven A. Benko

All humans laugh. However, there is little agreement about what is appropriate to laugh at. While laughter can unite people by showing how they share values and perspectives, it also has the power to separate and divide. Humor that “crosses the line” can make people feel excluded and humiliated. This collection of new essays addresses possible ways that moral and ethical lines can be drawn around humor and laughter. What would a Kantian approach to humor look like? Do games create a safe space for profanity and offense? Contributors to this volume work to establish and explain guidelines for thinking about the moral questions that arise when humor and laughter intersect with medicine, gender, race, and politics. Drawing from the work of stand-up comedians, television shows, and ethicists, this volume asserts that we are never just joking.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Landscapes of Western Movies

New on our bookshelf:

The Landscapes of Western Movies: A History of Filming on Location, 1900–1970
Jeremy Agnew

Western films have often been tributes to place and setting, with the magnificent backdrops mirroring the wildness of the narratives. As the splendid outdoor scenery of Westerns could not be found on a studio back lot or on a Hollywood sound stage, the movies have been filmed in the wide open spaces of the American West and beyond. This book chronicles the history of filming Westerns on location, from shooting on the East Coast in the early 1900s; through the use of locations in Utah, Arizona, and California in the 1940s and 1950s; and filming Westerns in Mexico, Spain, and other parts of the world in the 1960s. Also studied is the relationship between the filming location timeline and the evolving motion picture industry of the twentieth century, and how these factors shaped audience perceptions of the “Real West.”

Posted on

Newly Published: A Van Beuren Production

New on our bookshelf:

A Van Beuren Production: A History of the 619 Cartoons, 875 Live Action Shorts, Four Feature Films and One Serial of Amedee Van Beuren
Hal Erickson

Prolific American film producer Amedee J. Van Beuren (1879-1938) did not start out in the film industry. After a decade spent in business and advertising, Van Beuren turned his intellect and creativity towards acquiring a foothold in film and began building his empire. He is best known to animation fans for his bizarre cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s, featuring such zanies as Molly Moo Cow, Cubby Bear and Tom and Jerry (not the cat-and-mouse duo). But the majority of the 1,499 films produced by Van Beuren between 1918 and 1937 were live-action short subjects—travelogues, comedies, musicals, sports reels and more. His roster of star performers included Bert Lahr, Shemp Howard, Ethel Waters and (indirectly) Charlie Chaplin. Van Beuren also made several feature films starring legendary big-game hunter Frank Buck, and a 12-episode serial headlining horror icon Lon Chaney, Jr.

Capped by a complete list of his films, this engrossing chronicle of Amedee Van Beuren’s vast output is the first all-inclusive history of one of moviedom’s most successful and least-known filmmakers.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ann Miller

New on our bookshelf:

Ann Miller: Her Life and Career
Peter Shelley

Ann Miller (1923–2004) was an American actress, dancer, singer and author. Best known as a tap dancer, Miller practiced all forms of dance, and some of her solo routines are considered as good as any recorded in film musical history. Despite a reputation as a kook who believed she was psychic, and the potentially flat image of a “glamour girl,” Miller’s wit, charm and genuine ability to act gave her and her characters depth.

This biography presents Ann Miller’s career in the context of her fascinating life. Her career began with child acting and included three Hollywood studio contracts, two retirements for marriage, and appearances in film, stage, variety shows, sitcoms and more. She made a comeback in the stage musical Sugar Babies, earning a Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony Award nomination. She was even appointed an international spokesperson for MGM in the ailing years of the studio.

Posted on

Newly Published: Animals and Ourselves

New on our bookshelf:

Animals and Ourselves: Essays on Connections and Blurred Boundaries
Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson Kathy Shepherd Stolley and Lisa Lyon Payne

The relationship between humans and animals has always been strong, symbiotic and complicated. Animals, real and fictional, have been a mainstay in the arts and entertainment, figuring prominently in literature, film, television, social media, and live performances. Increasingly, though, people are anthropomorphizing animals, assigning them humanoid roles, tasks and identities. At the same time, humans, such as members of the furry culture or college mascots, find pleasure in adopting animal identities and characteristics. This book is the first of its kind to explore these growing phenomena across media. The contributors to this collection represent various disciplines, to include the arts, humanities, social sciences, and healthcare. Their essays demonstrate the various ways that human and animal lives are intertwined and constantly evolving.

Posted on

Star Wars Sale

Since its genre-bending debut in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has contributed material to almost every existing film and television genre, including action, comedy, romance, children’s animation, and even a few turns to horror. But many of Star Wars’ most important and enduring themes are adapted from one genre—the Western—from Han Solo’s shoot-from-the-hip attitude, to crime boss Jabba the Hutt, to the rugged outposts of The Mandalorian.

Just in time for the second season premiere of The Mandalorian, we’re offering 40% off our book selection on the Wild West and the Final Frontier. Through October 30th, use coupon code MANDALORIAN40 on our catalog of Star Wars, space westerns and tales of the Old American West.

Posted on

Newly Published: Patterns of American Popular Heroism

New on our bookshelf:

Patterns of American Popular Heroism: From Roman and Biblical Roots to Modern Media
James G. Shoopman

The American popular hero has deeply bipolar origins: Depending on prevailing attitudes about the use or abuse of authority, American heroes may be rooted in the traditions of the Roman conquerors of The Aeneid or of the biblical underdog warriors and prophets.

This book reviews the history of American popular culture and its heroes from the Revolutionary War and pre-Civil War “women’s literature” to the dime novel tales of Jesse James and Buffalo Bill. “Hinge-heroes” like The Virginian and the Rider’s of the Purple Sage paved the way for John Wayne’s and Humphrey Bogart’s champions of civilization, while Jimmy Stewart’s scrappy rebels fought soulless bankers and cynical politicians. The 1960s and 1970s saw a wave of new renegades—the doctors of MASH and the rebel alliance of Star Wars—but early 21st Century terrorism called for the grit of world weary cops and the super-heroism of Wonder Woman and Black Panther to make the world safe.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Warners Wiseguys

Now available in softcover:

Warners Wiseguys: All 112 Films That Robinson, Cagney and Bogart Made for the Studio
Scott Allen Nollen

As three of the most prominent actors of the early studio system, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart played an unparalleled role in the rise of the Warner Brothers Studio. These “Warners Wiseguys” are now virtually synonymous with the studio’s era of gritty gangster films. This study of their interwoven studio-contract careers highlights the similarities of their personalities and their struggles with harsh typecasting. It details and comments critically on each of their combined 112 Warners films. Complete with commentary from the author and other film buffs. An appendix provides a filmographic guide to the films discussed, including lists of primary actors, release dates, directorial credits, and running times for each film.

Posted on

Newly Published: Buffalo Bill Cody

New on our bookshelf:

Buffalo Bill Cody: The Man Who Shaped the Wild West Legend
Lew Freedman

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) rose from humble origins in Iowa to become one of the most famous and most photographed people in the world. He became a leading scout during the American Indian Wars, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a renowned show business fixture whose traveling Wild West exhibitions played to millions of spectators the world over for 30 years. He hobnobbed with presidents, kings, queens and European heads of state, befriending many legendary individuals of the West, from General George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull to Wild Bill Hickok and Annie Oakley. Aside from these achievements, Cody’s most important legacy may be how he shaped the world’s enduring views of the American West through his shows, which he considered to be educational events rather than entertainment. This biography is a fresh look at the life of Buffalo Bill.

Posted on

Newly Published: EcoComix

New on our bookshelf:

EcoComix: Essays on the Environment in Comics and Graphic Novels
Edited by Sidney I. Dobrin

Exploring image and imagination in conjunction with natural environments, the animal, and the human, this collection of essays turns the ecocritical and ecocompositional gaze upon comic studies. The comic form has a long tradition of representing environmental rhetoric. Through discussions of comics including A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, We3, Concrete, and Black Orchid, these essays bring the rich work of ecological criticism into dialogue with the multi-faceted landscape of comics, graphic novels, web-comics, cartoons, and animation. The contributors ask not only how nature and environment are portrayed in these texts but also how these textual forms inform how we come to know nature and environment–or what we understand those terms to represent. Interdisciplinary in approach, this collection welcomes diverse approaches that integrate not only ecocriticism and comics studies, but animal studies, posthumanism, ecofeminism, queer ecology, semiotics, visual rhetoric and communication, ecoseeing, image-text studies, space and spatial theories, writing studies, media ecology, ecomedia, and other methodological approaches.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to the New Hollywood

New on our bookshelf:

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide to the New Hollywood: Success in the Era of Netflix and Streaming Video
Gabriel Campisi

Netflix and its competitors like Disney+, Amazon Prime and Hulu have brought unprecedented levels of entertainment to consumers everywhere, providing the richest, most abundant aggregate of motion pictures and cinematic television the world has ever seen. Behind the facade, however, things are not as pleasant. A very costly paradigm shift is underway, altering not only conventional business and finance models, but also threatening long-established avenues of entertainment such as movie theaters, traditional television, and home video, and wreaking havoc on independent filmmakers and veteran producers alike.

This book attempts to make sense of ongoing economic and creative shifts of infrastructure and intellectual property, to understand where the industry is headed, and to distinguish which business models should be maintained and which ones should be left behind. Featuring exclusive interviews with some of the industry’s most prolific filmmakers and executives, it dives into the trenches of Hollywood to provide readers with the knowledge necessary to rethink the business, see past the turmoil, recognize the new opportunities, and take advantage of exciting new possibilities. Change sparks innovation, and innovation brings about great opportunity—but only for the well-informed and prepared.

Posted on

Newly Published: Disney Channel Tween Programming

New on our bookshelf:

Disney Channel Tween Programming: Essays on Shows from Lizzie McGuire to Andi Mack
Edited by Christopher E. Bell

Much has been written about the Walt Disney Company’s productions, but the focus has largely been on animation and feature film created by Disney. In this essay collection, the attention is turned to The Disney Channel and the programs it presents for a largely tween audience. Since its emergence as a market category in the 1980s, the tween demographic has commanded purchasing power and cultural influence, and the impressionability and social development of the age group makes it an important range of people to study. Presenting both a groundbreaking view of The Disney Channel’s programming by the numbers and a deep focus on many of the best-known programs and characters of the 2000s—shows like The Wizards of Waverly Place, That’s So Raven and Hannah Montana—this collection asks the simple questions, “What does The Disney Channel Universe look and sound like? Who are the stories about? Who matters on The Disney Channel?”

Posted on

Newly Published: Rerolling Boardgames

New on our bookshelf:

Rerolling Boardgames: Essays on Themes, Systems, Experiences and Ideologies
Edited by Douglas Brown and Esther MacCallum-Stewart

Despite the advent and explosion of videogames, boardgames—from fast-paced party games to intensely strategic titles—have in recent years become more numerous and more diverse in terms of genre, ethos and content. The growth of gaming events and conventions such as Essen Spiel, Gen Con and the UK Games EXPO, as well as crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter, has diversified the evolution of game development, which is increasingly driven by fans, and boardgames provide an important glue to geek culture. In academia, boardgames are used in a practical sense to teach elements of design and game mechanics.

Game studies is also recognizing the importance of expanding its focus beyond the digital. As yet, however, no collected work has explored the many different approaches emerging around the critical challenges that boardgaming represents. In this collection, game theorists analyze boardgame play and player behavior, and explore the complex interactions between the sociality, conflict, competition and cooperation that boardgames foster. Game designers discuss the opportunities boardgame system designs offer for narrative and social play. Cultural theorists discuss boardgames’ complex history as both beautiful physical artifacts and special places within cultural experiences of play.

Posted on

Newly Published: Cal Tjader

New on our bookshelf:

Cal Tjader: The Life and Recordings of the Man Who Revolutionized Latin Jazz, 2d ed.
S. Duncan Reid

Within one of the most complex musical categories yet to surface, Cal Tjader quietly pioneered the genre as a jazz vibraphonist, composer, arranger and bandleader from the 1950s through the 1980s. Reid tells the life story of a humble musician, written in a familiar, conversational tone that reveals Tjader’s complex charisma. Tjader left behind a legacy and a labyrinth of influence, attested by his large audience and innovation that would change the course of jazz. Expanded and revised, this intimate biography now includes additional interviews and anecdotes from Tjader’s family, bandmates, and community, print research, and rare photographs, presenting a full history of an undervalued musician, as well as a detailed account of the progression of Latin Jazz.

Posted on

Newly Published: Henry Box Brown

New on our bookshelf:

Henry Box Brown: From Slavery to Show Business
Kathleen Chater

Henry Box Brown is well known in America for escaping slavery by being packed in a box and mailed from Virginia to Philadelphia. The passing of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 made it unsafe for Brown to remain in America. He relocated to England where he had a very successful career, initially as a speaker on abolitionism before he began speaking on other subjects and then branched out into other forms of entertainment, including magic. He married Jane Floyd, who, with their children, appeared in his acts.

This book concentrates on the relatively unknown period of his life in Britain, detailing both how he was received and how he developed as a performer. It is the biography of a brave, intelligent individualist who was always willing to learn and to take chances, becoming the first black man to achieve landmarks in British law and entertainment.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Best Murders Are British

New on our bookshelf:

The Best Murders Are British: Essays on the International Appeal of English Crime Dramas
Edited by Jim Daems

A staple of television since the early years of the BBC, British crime drama first crossed the Atlantic on public broadcasting stations and specialty cable channels, and later through streaming services. Often engaging with domestic anxieties about the government’s power (or lack thereof), and with larger issues of social justice like gender equality, racism, and homophobia, it has constantly evolved to reflect social and cultural changes while adapting U.S. and Nordic noir influences in a way that retains its characteristically British elements.

This collection examines the continuing appeal of British crime drama from The Sweeney through Sherlock, Marcella, and Happy Valley. Individual essays focus on male melodrama, nostalgia, definitions of community, gender and LGBTQ representation, and neoliberalism. The persistence of the English murder, as each chapter of this collection reveals, points to the complexity of British crime drama’s engagement with social, political, and cultural issues. It is precisely the mix of British stereotypes, coupled with a willingness to engage with broader global social and political issues, that makes British crime drama such a successful cultural export.

Posted on

Newly Published: Beyond Donkey Kong

New on our bookshelf:

Beyond Donkey Kong: A History of Nintendo Arcade Games
Ken Horowitz

Before the enormously successful NES console changed the video game landscape in the 1980s, Nintendo became famous for producing legendary arcade machines like Donkey Kong and Mario Bros.
Drawing on original interviews, news reports and other documents, this book traces Nintendo’s rise from a small business that made playing cards to the top name in the arcade industry. Twenty-eight game titles are examined in-depth, along with the people and events that defined the company for more than four decades.

Posted on

Newly Published: Poverty in American Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Poverty in American Popular Culture: Essays on Representations, Beliefs and Policy
Edited by Wylie Lenz

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war” on poverty in the form of sweeping federal programs to assist millions of Americans. Two decades later, President Reagan drastically cut such programs, claiming that welfare encouraged dependency and famously quipping, “Some years ago, the federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.” These opposing policy positions and the ideologies informing them have been well studied. Here, the focus turns to the influence of popular art and entertainment on beliefs about poverty’s causes and potential cures.
These new essays interrogate the representation of poverty in film, television, music, photography, painting, illustration and other art forms from the late 19th century to the present. They map when, how, and why producers of popular culture represent—or ignore—poverty, and what assumptions their works make and encourage.

Posted on

Newly Published: Supernatural Out of the Box

New on our bookshelf:

Supernatural Out of the Box: Essays on the Metatextuality of the Series
Edited by Lisa Macklem and Dominick Grace

Supernatural is one of the most successful horror TV shows ever, providing fifteen seasons of the adventures of Dean and Sam Winchester as they hunt monsters and save the world. It has nurtured a passionate fan base, which has been far more directly integrated into the show than is typical. Wry and self-aware, Supernatural repeatedly breaks out of the televisual box to acknowledge its fans and its own fictionality.

Though there have already been several studies of Supernatural, this volume is the first to focus extensively and intensively on the show’s metafictional elements. This essay collection argues that Supernatural is not merely a horror show, but is a show about how horror works as a genre, and how fans interact with their favorite material. From exploring how the show has equated authorship with divinity, to considering its incorporation of fandom and closely reading several key episodes, the essays in this volume seek to examine the multiple layers of textuality found in Supernatural.

Posted on

Newly Published: Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism

New on our bookshelf:

Discovering Kubrick’s Symbolism: The Secrets of the Films
Nicole M. Berg

Bringing to light the long-shrouded symbolism and startling spiritual depth that renowned director Stanley Kubrick packed into every detail of his iconic films, this book excavates the subtle ways Kubrick calls attention to universal truths and shocking realities still pervading our society. It cites the master director’s use of encoded graphic symbols, signifying light effects, doppelgangers, esoteric color-coding, and framing techniques that communicate Kubrick’s underlying topics.
Beginning with an exploration of the inspirational themes of his classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, including the multilayered meaning of the Monolith, this book traces the themes and symbols encrypted in the films that followed during the director’s impressive career. It reveals the oblique methods Kubrick used to underscore a wide range of humanitarian alarms covered in films as diverse as A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut, and the fascinating links these films have to one another. Surprising revelations discovered in Dr. Strangelove, Spartacus, Lolita, and Paths of Glory are also unveiled for the first time.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Rise and Fall of the Future

New on our bookshelf:

The Rise and Fall of the Future: America’s Changing Vision of Tomorrow, 1939–1986
Gordon Arnold

Mid–20th century America envisioned a wondrous future of comfort, convenience and technological advancement. Popular culture—including World’s Fairs, science fiction and advertising—fed high hopes even when war and hardship threatened. American ingenuity and consumer culture promised to deliver flying cars, undersea cities, household robots and space travel. By the 1960s political assassinations, the civil rights and women’s movements, the Vietnam War and the “generation gap” eroded that optimism, refocusing attention on the issues of the present. The nation’s utopian dream was brief but revealing. Based on a wide range of sources, this book takes a fresh look at America’s precipitous fall from futurism to disillusionment.

Posted on

Newly Published: John Alton

New on our bookshelf:

John Alton: Essays on the Cinematographer’s Art and Craft
Edited by Leon Lewis

Devoted to his craft—sometimes to the detriment of his reputation—cinematographer John Alton (1901–1996) was sought after by such directors as Vincente Minnelli, Richard Brooks and Anthony Mann but was disdained by others of comparable talent. An auteur in the truest sense, Alton established a landmark body of work described by Variety film critic Todd McCarthy as “The essence, and ultimate example, of film noir … logically created by a cinematographer, not a director.” This collection of new essays by filmmakers and film scholars explores the central role Alton’s distinctive style of “painting with light” played in formulating the aesthetics of noir, as well as his contributions to other genres.

Posted on

Newly Published: Baseball and Football Pulp Fiction

New on our bookshelf:

Baseball and Football Pulp Fiction: Six Publishers, with a Directory of Stories, 1935–1957
Michelle Nolan

This first-ever volume focusing on sports pulp fiction devoted to America’s two most popular pastimes of the 1935–1957 era—baseball and football—provides extensive detail on authors, along with examination of key plots, themes, trends and categories. Commentary relates the works to real-life baseball and football of the period.

The history of the genre is traced, beginning with the debut of Dime Sport (later renamed Dime Sports), the first magazine from a major publisher to provide competition for Street & Smith’s long-established Sport Story Magazine. Complementing the text is a complete catalog of fiction from the six major publishers who competed with S&S, also noting the cover themes for 1,054 issues.

Posted on

Newly Published: Lessons from Hogwarts

New on our bookshelf:

Lessons from Hogwarts: Essays on the Pedagogy of Harry Potter
Edited by Marcie Panutsos Rovan and Melissa Wehler

Before she was a renowned children’s author, J.K. Rowling was an educator. Her bestselling series, Harry Potter, places education at the forefront, focusing not only on Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s adventures but also on their magical education.
This multi-author collection shines a light on the central role of education within the Harry Potter series, exploring the pedagogical possibilities of using Harry Potter to enhance teaching effectiveness. Authors examine topics related to environments for learning, approaches to teaching and learning, and the role of mentorship. Created for scholars, teachers, and fans alike, this collection provides an entry into pedagogical theories and offers critical perspectives on the quality of Hogwarts education—from exemplary to abusive and every approach in between. Hogwarts provides many lessons for educators, both magical and muggle alike.

Posted on

Newly Published: Love and the Fighting Female

New on our bookshelf:

Love and the Fighting Female: A Critical Study of Onscreen Depictions
Allison P. Palumbo

The fighting female archetype—a self-reliant woman of great physical prowess—has become increasingly common in action films and on television. However, the progressive female identities of these narratives cannot always resist the persistent and problematic framing of male-female relationships as a battle of the sexes or other source of antagonism.

Combining cultural analysis with close readings of key popular American film and television texts since the 1980s, this study argues that certain fighting female themes question regressive conventions in male-female relationships. Those themes reveal potentially progressive ideologies regarding female agency in mass culture that reassure audiences of the desirability of empowered women while also imagining egalitarian intimacies that further empower women. Overall, the fighting female narratives addressed here afford contradictory viewing pleasures that reveal both new expectations for and remaining anxieties about the “strong, independent woman” ideal that emerged in American popular culture post-feminism.

Posted on

Newly Published: Terrors of the Flesh

New on our bookshelf:

Terrors of the Flesh: The Philosophy of Body Horror in Film
David Huckvale

The horror and psychological denial of our mortality, along with the corruptibility of our flesh, are persistent themes in drama. Body horror films have intensified these themes in increasingly graphic terms. The aesthetic of body horror has its origins in the ideas of the Marquis de Sade and the existential philosophies of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, all of whom demonstrated that we have just cause to be anxious about our physical reality and its existence in the world.

This book examines the relationship between these writers and the various manifestations of body horror in film. The most characteristic examples of this genre are those directed by David Cronenberg, but body horror as a whole includes many variations on the theme by other figures, whose work is charted here through eight categories: copulation, generation, digestion, mutilation, infection, mutation, disintegration and extinction.

Posted on

New in Softcover: The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films

Now available in softcover:

The Pleasure and Pain of Cult Horror Films: An Historical Survey
Bartłomiej Paszylk

The horror genre harbors a number of films too bold or bizarre to succeed with mainstream audiences, but offering unique, startling and often groundbreaking qualities that have won them an enduring following. Beginning with Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage in 1921, this book tracks the evolution and influence of underground cult horror over the ensuing decades, closing with William Winckler’s Frankenstein vs. the Creature from Blood Cove in 2005. It discusses the features that define a cult film, trends and recurring symbols, and changing iconography within the genre through insightful analysis of 88 movies. Included are works by popular directors who got their start with cult horror films, including Oliver Stone, David Cronenberg and Peter Jackson.

Posted on

Newly Published: Encyclopedia of American Short Films, 1926–1959

New on our bookshelf:

Encyclopedia of American Short Films, 1926–1959
Graham Webb

Short subject films have a long history in American cinemas. These could be anywhere from 2 to 40 minutes long and were used as a “filler” in a picture show that would include a cartoon, a newsreel, possibly a serial and a short before launching into the feature film. Shorts could tackle any topic of interest: an unusual travelogue, a comedy, musical revues, sports, nature or popular vaudeville acts. With the advent of sound-on-film in the mid-to-late 1920s, makers of earlier silent short subjects began experimenting with the short films, using them as a testing ground for the use of sound in feature movies. After the Second World War, and the rising popularity of television, short subject films became far too expensive to produce and they had mostly disappeared from the screens by the late 1950s. This encyclopedia offers comprehensive listings of American short subject films from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Posted on

Newly Published: Bungalow Modernity

New on our bookshelf:

Bungalow Modernity: A Study of Twentieth Century Fictions of Home
Mary Lou Emery

Despite its cozy image, the bungalow in literature and film is haunted by violence even while fostering possibilities for personal transformation, utopian social vision and even comedy. Originating in Bengal and adapted as housing for colonialist ventures worldwide, the homes were sold in mail-order kits during the “bungalow mania” of the early 20th century and enjoyed a revival at century’s end. The bungalow as fictional setting stages ongoing contradictions of modernity—home and homelessness, property and dispossession, self and other—prompting a rethinking of our images of house and home. Drawing on the work of writers, architects and film directors, including Katherine Mansfield, E. M. Forster, Amitav Ghosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, Willa Cather, Buster Keaton and Walter Mosley, this study offers new readings of the transcultural bungalow.

Posted on

Newly Published: Victoria, Queen of the Screen

New on our bookshelf:

Victoria, Queen of the Screen: From Silent Cinema to New Media
Leigh Ehlers Telotte

Both in life and death, Queen Victoria is among the most popular monarchs to be committed to film. Her reign was characterized by an explosion in media coverage that began to rely on images rather than words to tell her story. Even though Victoria has been labeled the “first media monarch,” the sheer magnitude of her screen presence has been neither chronicled nor fully appreciated until now.

This book examines the growth and evolution of Queen Victoria’s on-screen image. From the satirical cartoons and silent films of the 19th century to the television shows, video games, and webcomics of the 21st, it demonstrates how the protean Victoria character has evolved, ultimately meaning many different things to many different people in many different ways. Each chapter looks at a facet of her character and includes analysis of how these media present Queen Victoria as a real person and shape her as a character acting within a narrative. The book includes a comprehensive and international filmography.

Posted on

Newly Published: So You Want to Direct TV

New on our bookshelf:

So You Want to Direct TV?: Sixteen Professionals Share Their Paths to Success
Jacob Pinger

Becoming a TV director is nothing like other professions. There is no road map. Traditionally, the only way to break in was through access to a powerful mentor to show you the way, but today creative people with a drive to direct are finding their own ways into the industry. In this book of interviews, working TV directors show you exactly how they did it. No two stories are exactly alike. These deeply personal interviews with a racially and culturally diverse range of eight women and eight men are candid and full of practical insights.

For the first time in the 100-plus year history of the entertainment industry there are increasing opportunities to rise into the director’s chair. This book reflects the hope and promise of a new era. Open the cover and discover the mentor you deserve.

Posted on

Newly Published: World War II Veterans in Hollywood

New on our bookshelf:

World War II Veterans in Hollywood
Art Evans

Profiling World War II veterans who became famous Hollywood personalities, this book presents biographical chapters on celebrities like Audie Murphy, “America’s number one soldier”; Clark Gable, the “King of Hollywood”; Jimmy Stewart, combat pilot; Gene Autry, the “singing cowboy,” who flew the infamous Hump; the amorous Mickey Rooney; Jackie Coogan, “the Kid” who crashed gliders in the jungle; James Arness, who acquired his Gunsmoke limp in the mountains of Italy; Tony Bennett, who discovered his voice during the Battle of the Bulge; and Lee Marvin, a Marine NCO who invaded 29 islands. Profiles of these and 21 others include little-known stories and details.

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.