Posted on

Newly Published: The Many Lives of The Evil Dead

New on our bookshelf:

The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise
Edited by Ron Riekki and Jeffrey A. Sartain

One of the top-grossing independent films of all time, The Evil Dead (1981) sparked a worldwide cult following, resulting in sequels, remakes, musicals, comic books, conventions, video games and a television series.

Examining the legacy of one of the all-time great horror films, this collection of new essays covers the franchise from a range of perspectives. Topics include The Evil Dead as punk rock cinema, the Deadites’ (demon-possessed undead) place in the American zombie tradition, the powers and limitations of Deadites, evil as affect, and the films’ satire of neoliberal individualism.

Posted on

Newly Published: “Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”

New on our bookshelf:

“Twice the Thrills! Twice the Chills!”: Horror and Science Fiction Double Features, 1955–1974
Bryan Senn

In the mid-1950s, to combat declining theater attendance, film distributors began releasing pre-packaged genre double-bills—including many horror and science fiction double features. Though many of these films were low-budget and low-end, others, such as Invasion of the Body SnatchersHorror of Dracula and The Fly, became bona fide classics. Beginning with Universal-International’s 1955 pairing of Revenge of the Creature and Cult of the Cobra, 147 officially sanctioned horror and sci-fi double-bills were released over a 20-year period. This book presents these double features year-by-year, and includes production details, historical notes, and critical commentary for each film.

Posted on

Booklist Starred Review: Hammer Complete

Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
Howard Maxford

“This superb encyclopedia is likely the definitive work on Britain’s most celebrated genre-film producer…skilfully compact prose shares space with tons of illustrations, including rare foreign-market posters…a voluminous index ensures that you won’t get lost navigating this giant tome…this is such an appealing book that it’s practically guaranteed to find its way into readers’ hands. A major achievement that can only strengthen its subject’s reputation.”—Booklist (starred review)

Posted on

Newly Published: The Nosferatu Story

New on our bookshelf:

The Nosferatu Story: The Seminal Horror Film, Its Predecessors and Its Enduring Legacy
Rolf Giesen

Director F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, made in 1921, right after the devastating Spanish Flu pandemic, has become the ultimate cult classic among horror film buffs around the world. For years there was much speculation about the production background, the filmmakers, and their star, the German actor Max Schreck. This book tells the complete story drawing on rare sources. This book tells the complete story, drawing on rare sources. The trail leads to a group of occultists with a plan to establish a leading film company that would produce a momentous series of horror movies. Along the way, the author touches upon other classic German fantasy silents, such as The GolemThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis.

Posted on

Newly Published: Nuts About Squirrels

New on our bookshelf:

Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodents That Conquered Popular Culture
Don H. Corrigan

Squirrels have made numerous appearances in mass media over the years, from Beatrix Potter’s Nutkin and Timmy Tiptoes, to Rocky the flying squirrel of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and to Conker and Squirrel Girl of video game fame. This book examines how squirrel legends from centuries ago have found new life through contemporary popular culture, with a focus on the various portrayals of these wily creatures in books, newspapers, television, movies, public relations, advertising and video games.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek

New on our bookshelf:

The Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek: Essays on J.J. Abrams’ Final Frontier
Edited by Matthew Wilhelm Kapell and Ace G. Pilkington

In an era of reboots, restarts and retreads, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trilogy—featuring new, prequel adventures of Kirk, Spock and the rest of the original series characters, aboard the USS Enterprise—has brought the franchise to a new generation and perfected a process that is increasingly central to entertainment media: reinvigorating the beloved classic.

This collection of new essays offers the first in-depth analysis of the new trilogy and the vision of the next generation of Star Trek film-makers. Issues of gender, race, politics, economics, technology and morality—always key themes of the franchise—are explored in the 21st century context of “The Kelvin Timeline.”

Posted on

Newly Published: Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors

New on our bookshelf:

Harry Potter and the Cedarville Censors: Inside the Precedent-Setting Defeat of an Arkansas Book Ban
Brian Meadors

In 2002, the Cedarville School Board in Crawford County, Arkansas, ordered the removal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books from library shelves, holding that “witchcraft or sorcery [should not] be available for study.” The Board picked some formidable adversaries. School librarian Estella Roberts, standing on policy, had the books reviewed—and unanimously approved—by a committee of teachers and administrators that included a child and a parent. Not satisfied with the Board’s half-measure permitting access to the books with parental approval, 4th-grader Dakota Counts and her father Bill Counts sued the school district in Federal court, drawing on the precedent Pico v. Island Trees to reaffirm that Constitutional rights apply to school libraries. Written by the lawyer who prosecuted the case, this book details the origins of the book ban and the civil procedures and legal arguments that restored the First Amendment in Cedarville.

Posted on

Newly Published: Cantor William Sharlin

New on our bookshelf:

Cantor William Sharlin: Musical Revolutionary of Reform Judaism
Jonathan L. Friedmann

William Sharlin (1920–2012) was a cantor, synagogue composer, teacher and musicologist. Raised in an Orthodox household, he turned toward Universalism and the liberal Reform movement. A member of the first graduating class of the first cantorial school in America, he was a founding member of the American Conference of Cantors and is recognized as the first to play a guitar in the synagogue. Sharlin developed the Department of Sacred Music at HUC in Los Angeles, where he taught for 40 years, trained women to be cantors before they were allowed in the seminary, and spent nearly four decades at Leo Baeck Temple.

Drawing on interviews conducted with Sharlin late in life, the author chronicles the career of one of the most inventive and creative figures in the history of the cantorate.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America

New on our bookshelf:

The Culture and Art of Death in 19th Century America
D. Tulla Lightfoot

Nineteenth-century Victorian-era mourning rituals—long and elaborate public funerals, the wearing of lavishly somber mourning clothes, and families posing for portraits with deceased loved ones—are often depicted as bizarre or scary. But behind many such customs were rational or spiritual meanings.
This book offers an in-depth explanation at how death affected American society and the creative ways in which people responded to it. The author discusses such topics as mediums as performance artists and postmortem painters and photographers, and draws a connection between death and the emergence of three-dimensional media.

Posted on

Newly Published: Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980–1989

New on our bookshelf:

Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980–1989
Roberto Curti

The Italian Gothic horror genre underwent many changes in the 1980s, with masters such as Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda dying or retiring and young filmmakers such as Lamberto Bava (MacabroDemons) and Michele Soavi (The Church) surfacing.

Horror films proved commercially successful in the first half of the decade thanks to Dario Argento (both as director and producer) and Lucio Fulci, but the rise of made-for-TV products has resulted in the gradual disappearance of genre products from the big screen.

This book examines all the Italian Gothic films of the 1980s. It includes previously unpublished trivia and production data taken from official archive papers, original scripts and interviews with filmmakers, actors and scriptwriters. The entries include a complete cast and crew list, plot summary, production history and analysis. Two appendices list direct-to-video releases and made-for-TV films.

Posted on

Newly Published: Perspectives on Digital Comics

New on our bookshelf:

Perspectives on Digital Comics: Theoretical, Critical and Pedagogical Essays
Edited by Jeffrey SJ Kirchoff and Mike P. Cook

This collection of new essays explores various ways of reading, interpreting and using digital comics. Contributors discuss comics made specifically for web consumption, and also digital reproductions of print-comics. Written for those who may not be familiar with digital comics or digital comic scholarship, the essays cover perspectives on reading, criticism and analysis of specific titles, the global reach of digital comics, and how they can be used in educational settings.

Posted on

Two New Books Reviewed in March Issue of Choice

Electric Airplanes and Drones: A History
“Certainly one of the most comprehensive histories of electric aviation and drones to date…engaging…extensive…thorough…a highly readable scholarly history relevant to aviation enthusiasts, students, or researchers…highly recommended.”

Field Recordings of Black Singers and Musicians: An Annotated Discography of Artists from West Africa, the Caribbean and the Eastern and Southern United States, 1901–1943
“This is an important reference source…highly recommended.”

 

Posted on

Newly Published: “I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”

New on our bookshelf:

“I’m Just a Comic Book Boy”: Essays on the Intersection of Comics and Punk
Edited by Christopher B. Field, Keegan Lannon, Michael David MacBride and Christopher C. Douglas

Comics and the punk movement are inextricably linked—each has a foundational do-it-yourself ethos and a nonconformist spirit defiant of authority. This collection of new essays provides for the first time a thorough analysis of the intersections between comics and punk. The contributors expand the discussion beyond the familiar U.S. and UK scenes to include the influence punk has had on comics produced in other countries, such as Spain and Turkey.

Posted on

New in Softcover: A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde

Now available in softcover:

A Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers
Tom Weaver

In this jam-packed jamboree of conversations, more than 60 movie veterans describe their experiences on the sets of some of the world’s most beloved sci-fi and horror movies and television series. Including groundbreaking oldies (Flash Gordon, One Million B.C.); 1950s and 1960s milestones (The War of the Worlds, Psycho, House of Usher); classic schlock (Queen of Outer Space, Attack of the Crab Monsters); and cult TV favorites (Lost in Space, Land of the Giants), the discussions offer a frank and fascinating behind-the-scenes look.

Among the interviewees: Roger Corman, Pamela Duncan, Richard and Alex Gordon, Tony “Dr. Lao” Randall, Troy Donahue, Sid Melton, Fess Parker, Nan Peterson, Alan Young, John “Bud” Cardos, and dozens more.

Posted on

Newly Published: American International Pictures

New on our bookshelf:

American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography
Rob Craig

American International Pictures was in many ways the “missing link” between big-budget Hollywood studios, “poverty-row” B-movie factories and low-rent exploitation movie distributors. AIP first targeted teen audiences with science fiction, horror and fantasy, but soon grew to encompass many genres and demographics—at times, it was indistinguishable from many of the “major” studios.
From Abby to Zontar, this filmography lists more than 800 feature films, television series and TV specials by AIP and its partners and subsidiaries. Special attention is given to American International Television (the TV arm of AIP) and an appendix lists the complete AITV catalog. The author also discusses films produced by founders James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff after they left the company.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Show Business Homicides

Now available in softcover:

Show Business Homicides: An Encyclopedia, 1908–2009
David K. Frasier

A companion volume to the author’s Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases (2002), this reference work chronicles 298 cases of what can be broadly defined as “celebrity” homicides from the early twentieth century onward. Cases are drawn from the realms of film, theatre, music, dance and other entertainment fields. In each instance, the person was either the actual or suspected perpetrator or the victim of a murder.

Included are entries on such well-known personalities as film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, actress Sharon Tate, music producer Phil Spector, rap artist Notorious B.I.G., and superstar Michael Jackson. Each entry covers the crime, its legal disposition, and the subject’s personal and professional background, comprehensively documented with notes and a separate bibliography.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Laird Cregar

Now available in softcover:

Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy
Gregory William Mank

In 1944, Laird Cregar played Jack the Ripper in The Lodger, giving one of the most haunting performances in Hollywood history. It was the climax of a strange celebrity that saw the young American actor—who stood 6’ 3” and weighed more than 300 pounds—earn distinction as a portrayer of psychopaths and villains. Determined to break free of this typecasting, he desperately desired to become “a beautiful man,” embarking on an extreme diet that killed him at 31. This first biography of Cregar tells the heartbreaking story of the brilliant but doomed actor. Appendices cover his film, theatre, and radio work. Many never before published photographs are included.  The limited hardcover edition is available here.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Country Boy

Now available in softcover:

Country Boy: A Biography of Albert Lee
Derek Watts

Best known for his unique musical style and blindingly fast hybrid picking technique, English guitarist Albert Lee is often referred to within the music industry as the “guitar player’s guitar player,” renowned for his work across several genres of music and for the respect that he has garnered from other industry giants.

This comprehensive biography tells the entire story of Lee’s long career and personal experiences, beginning with his upbringing in south London and his early experimentations with skiffle music (the British equivalent of American rockabilly). It covers Lee’s career in Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds and the British rock and country group Heads, Hands, and Feet, his move to the United States in the 1970s and his subsequent work with Eric Clapton, the Crickets, Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band, the Everly Brothers, and, more recently, with Bill Wyman and with Hogan’s Heroes. Lee’s career is set against the background of changes in popular music and shows how he, as a British artist with nomadic Romany roots, has influenced traditionally “American” musical genres. The work includes 66 photographs, many from Lee’s personal collection, two appendices, and an extensive bibliography.

Posted on

Newly Published: Superman and the Bible

New on our bookshelf:

Superman and the Bible: How the Idea of Superheroes Affects the Reading of Scripture
Nicholaus Pumphrey

In 1938, Superman debuted, jumping off the pages of Action Comics #1. In the cultural context of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. would see the rise of the superhero not only in comic books but in radio programs, animated cartoons and television shows. Superman forever changed one’s concept of the hero and became permanently engrained in both American and worldwide culture.

This study explores the Man of Steel’s narrative as a fresh perspective on readings of the Bible—his character is reflected in such figures as Moses, Samson and Jesus. The author argues that if we read the Bible it can be said we are reading about Superman.

Posted on

New in Softcover: Abbott and Costello on the Home Front

Now available in softcover:

Abbott and Costello on the Home Front: A Critical Study of the Wartime Films
Scott Allen Nollen

As two of the most popular entertainers of the mid-century film industry, comic greats Bud Abbott and Lou Costello offered an essential balm to the American public following the sorrows of the Great Depression and during the trauma of World War II. This is the first book to focus in detail on the immensely popular wartime films of Abbott and Costello, discussing the production, content, and reception of 18 films within the context of wartime events on the home front and abroad. The films covered include the service comedies Buck Privates, In the Navy, and Keep ’Em Flying; more mainstream comic relief films such as Pardon My Sarong and Who Done It?; and post-war experiments such as Little Giant and The Time of Their Lives. More than 120 stills and lobby cards from the author’s personal collection illustrate the text, including many showing outtakes or deleted scenes.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Horror Comic Never Dies

New on our bookshelf:

The Horror Comic Never Dies: A Grisly History
Michael Walton

Horror comics were among the first comic books published—ghastly tales that soon developed an avid young readership, along with a bad reputation. Parent groups, psychologists, even the United States government joined in a crusade to wipe out the horror comics industry—and they almost succeeded. Yet the genre survived and flourished, from the 1950s to today.

This history covers the tribulations endured by horror comics creators and the broader impact on the comics industry. The genre’s ultimate success helped launch the careers of many of the biggest names in comics. Their stories and the stories of other key players are included, along with a few surprises.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today

New on our bookshelf:

The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today
Dan Callahan

Modern screen acting in English is dominated by two key figures: Method acting guru Lee Strasberg—who taught the “the art of experiencing” over “the art of representing”—and English theater titan Laurence Olivier, who once said of the Method’s immersive approach, “try acting, it’s so much easier.”

This book explores in detail the work of such method actors as Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda, and charts the shift away from the more internally focused Strasberg-based acting of the 1970s, and towards the more “external” way of working, exemplified by the career of Meryl Streep in the 1980s.

Posted on

Newly Published: Snakes in American Culture

New on our bookshelf:

Snakes in American Culture: A Hisstory
Jesse C. Donahue and Conor Shaw-Draves

The literature on snakes is manifold but overwhelmingly centered on the natural sciences. Little has been published about them in the fields of popular culture or the history of medicine.

Focusing primarily on American culture and history from the 1800s, this study draws on a wide range of sources—including newspaper archives, medical journals, and archives from the Smithsonian Institute—to examine the complex relationship between snakes and humans.

Posted on

Newly Published: Elder Horror

New on our bookshelf:

Elder Horror: Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

As baby boomers gray, cinematic depictions of aging and the aged are on the rise. In the horror genre, fears of growing old take on fantastic proportions. Elderly characters are portrayed as either eccentric harbingers of doom—the crone who stops at nothing to restore her youth, the ancient ancestor who haunts the living—or as frail victims.

This collection of new essays explores how various filmic portrayals of aging, as an inescapable horror destined to overtake us all, reflect our complex attitudes toward growing old, along with its social, psychological and economic consequences.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Body, the Dance and the Text

New on our bookshelf:

The Body, the Dance and the Text: Essays on Performance and the Margins of History
Edited by Brynn Wein Shiovitz

This collection of new essays explores the many ways in which writing relates to corporeality and how the two work together to create, resist or mark the body of the “Other.” Contributors draw on varied backgrounds to examine different movement practices. They focus on movement as a meaning-making process, including the choreographic act of writing. The challenges faced by marginalized bodies are discussed, along with the ability of a body to question, contest and re-write historical narratives.

Posted on

Newly Published: Neil “Soapy” Castles

New on our bookshelf:

Neil “Soapy” Castles: Memoir of a Life in NASCAR and the Movies
Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles with Perry Allen Wood

Henry Neil “Soapy” Castles grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and became involved in its pioneering auto racing scene at an early age. Graduating from soapbox derby cars to midgets and sprints and finally to stock cars, he sometimes crashed, sometimes won, saw friends die horribly, and became a champion.

Eventually he left the racetrack for Hollywood where he became a stuntman working alongside such stars as Rory Calhoun, Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers, Richard Pryor and Andy Griffith. In the 1990s, groundwater contamination at Castle’s truck repair business from an Exxon oil storage facility cost him an eye and most of his lungs. His decade-long class action lawsuit won him millions in compensation. Now in his mid-eighties, Castles is still going strong, procuring vehicles for movie and television projects.

Posted on

Biographies and Memoirs Catalog and Sale

McFarland’s biographies and memoirs cover the fascinating life stories of both iconic personalities and quiet heroes.  On sale now, browse hundreds of titles from history, sports, movies, music, science & technology, literature, military history, transportation and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code BIOGRAPHY, print editions of all biographies, autobiographies and memoirs are 20% off now through February 15.

Posted on

Newly Published: Film Appreciation through Genres

New on our bookshelf:

Film Appreciation through Genres
Michael Patrick Gillespie

Our love of films often leads us to discuss them in enthusiastic, if not necessarily sophisticated, conversations. Many moviegoers want a better understanding so that they might better articulate their experiences. This midpoint between theorizing and plot summary is not difficult to achieve.

Since their introduction just before the turn of the 20th century, the vast majority of narrative films have followed the same structure—now known as Classic Hollywood Cinema. This book examines what “classic” means, particularly in Westerns, gangster films, film noir, horror, science fiction, slapstick comedy and screwball comedy/romance. The reader is introduced to concepts of film theory, which leads to a better and deeper appreciation of the movies. A 20-page comprehensive industry glossary of film terms is included for easy reference.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Paranormal Surrounds Us

New on our bookshelf:

The Paranormal Surrounds Us: Psychic Phenomena in Literature, Culture and Psychoanalysis
Richard Reichbart

Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Joyce, E.M. Forster and Ingmar Bergman all made the paranormal essential to their depiction of humanity. Freud recognized telepathy as an everyday phenomenon. Observations on parapsychological aspects of psychoanalysis also include the findings of the Mesmerists, Jung, Ferenczi and Eisenbud.

Many academicians attribute such psychic discoveries to “poetic license” rather than to accurate understanding of our parapsychological capacities. The author—a practicing psychoanalyst and parapsychologist, and a lawyer familiar with Navajo culture—argues for a fresh appraisal of psi phenomena and their integration into psychoanalytic theory and clinical work, literary studies and anthropology.

Posted on

Newly Published: Tony Scott

New on our bookshelf:

Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
Larry Taylor

Tony Scott got his start as a film director when he joined his brother at the lucrative commercial directing company Ridley Scott Associates. After directing Top Gun—his second film, which changed not only the trajectory of his own life but of the entire action-movie industry—Scott’s career would be a roller coaster of blockbuster hits, personal films and confounding failures.

With extensive research and original interviews with actors, cinematographers and writers, this book documents Tony Scott’s larger-than-life persona from his early days to his untimely death, which left a hole in genre filmmaking yet to be filled.

Posted on

Newly Published: America Goes Hawaiian

New on our bookshelf:

America Goes Hawaiian: The Influence of Pacific Island Culture on the Mainland
Geoff Alexander

How did Hawaiian and Polynesian culture come to dramatically alter American music, fashion and decor, as well as ideas about race, in less than a century? It began with mainland hula and musical performances in the late 19th century, rose dramatically as millions shipped to Hawaii during the Pacific War, then made big leap with the advent of low-cost air travel.

By the end of the 1950s, mainlanders were hosting tiki parties, listening to exotic music, lazing on rattan furniture in Hawaiian shirts and, of course, surfing. The author describes how this cultural conquest came about and the people and events that led to it.

Posted on

Newly Published: Gene Kiniski

New on our bookshelf:

Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend
Steven Verrier

Gene Kiniski (1928–2010) was internationally known to a generation of wrestling fans and to Canadians everywhere as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” Older fans and wrestling historians remember him best for his accomplishments in the ring, his run-’em-over approach to the game, his growly demeanor, and his razor wit he could unleash at will. Drawing on recollections from fellow wrestlers, promoters, and friends, this first biography of Kiniski gives a full account of the life of a champion pro wrestler who won over fans throughout the U.S., Canada, and Japan in a career spanning more than three decades.

Posted on

Newly Published: Thrills Untapped

New on our bookshelf:

Thrills Untapped: Neglected Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928–1936
Michael R. Pitts

Giving deserved attention to nearly 150 neglected films, this book covers early sound era features, serials and documentaries with genre elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy, from major and minor studios and independents.

Full credits, synopses, critical analyses and contemporary reviews are provided for The Blue LightThe Cat CreepsCollege ScandalCosmic VoyageThe Dragon Murder CaseThe Haunted BarnLost GodsMurder in the Red BarnThe New GulliverReturn of the TerrorSeven Footprints to SatanS.O.S. IcebergWhile the Patient SleptThe White Hell of Pitz Palu and many others.

Posted on

Newly Published: In Theaters Everywhere

New on our bookshelf:

In Theaters Everywhere: A History of the Hollywood Wide Release, 1913–2017
Brian Hannan

Conflicts among Hollywood studios and exhibitors have been going on for years. At their heart are questions about how films should be released—where, when and at what speed. Both sides of this disagreement are losers, with exhibitors using the law via various Consent Decrees and studios retaliating by tightly controlling output.

In the Silent Era, movies were not released nearly as widely as they are now. This book tells the story of how the few became the many. It explores the contraction of the release cycle, the maximization of the marketing dollar, and the democratization of consumer access. It also offers a comprehensive list of wide releases and rebuts much of what previous scholars have found.

Posted on

Newly Published: Hammer Complete

New on our bookshelf:

Hammer Complete: The Films, the Personnel, the Company
Howard Maxford

Think you know everything there is to know about Hammer Films, the fabled “Studio that Dripped Blood?” The lowdown on all the imperishable classics of horror, like The Curse of FrankensteinHorror of Dracula and The Devil Rides Out? What about the company’s less blood-curdling back catalog? What about the musicals, comedies and travelogues, the fantasies and historical epics—not to mention the pirate adventures? This lavishly illustrated encyclopedia covers every Hammer film and television production in thorough detail, including budgets, shooting schedules, publicity and more, along with all the actors, supporting players, writers, directors, producers, composers and technicians. Packed with quotes, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, credit lists and production specifics, this all-inclusive reference work is the last word on this cherished cinematic institution.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly

New on our bookshelf:

The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly
James L. Neibaur

Hoping to follow his Laurel and Hardy success with a female comedy team, producer Hal Roach paired Thelma Todd with ZaSu Pitts in a 1931 series of two-reel shorts. Pitts left the studio for other pursuits, was replaced by Patsy Kelly and the series continued to be successful. Todd died under mysterious circumstances in 1935 and Kelly tried to carry on, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti. When Roberti died in 1938, the series ended.

This book takes the first film-by-film look at each of the comedies these women made, how they responded to different directors and how production adapted to changes along the way. Credits, production information, period reviews, and critical assessments are included.

Posted on

Newly Published: Holy Horror

New on our bookshelf:

Holy Horror: The Bible and Fear in Movies
Steve A. Wiggins

What, exactly, makes us afraid? Is it monsters, gore, the unknown? Perhaps it’s a biblical sense of malice, lurking unnoticed in the corners of horror films. Holy Writ attempts to ward off aliens, ghosts, witches, psychopaths and demons, yet it often becomes a source of evil itself.

Looking first at Psycho (1960) and continuing through 2010, this book analyzes the starring and supporting roles of the Good Book in horror films, monster movies and thrillers to discover why it incites such fear. In a culture with high biblical awareness and low biblical literacy, horrific portrayals can greatly influence an audience’s canonical beliefs.

Posted on

Newly Published: The British Comic Book Invasion

New on our bookshelf:

The British Comic Book Invasion: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and the Evolution of the American Style
Jochen Ecke

What makes a successful comics creator? How can storytelling stay exciting and innovative? How can genres be kept vital?

Writers and artists in the highly competitive U.S. comics mainstream have always had to explore these questions but they were especially pressing in the 1980s. As comics readers grew older they started calling for more sophisticated stories. They were also no longer just following the adventures of popular characters—writers and artists with distinctive styles were in demand. DC Comics and Marvel went looking for such mavericks and found them in the United Kingdom. Creators like Alan Moore (WatchmenSaga of the Swamp Thing), Grant Morrison (The InvisiblesFlex Mentallo) and Garth Ennis (Preacher) migrated from the anarchical British comics industry to the U.S. mainstream and shook up the status quo yet came to rely on the genius of the American system.

Posted on

Newly Published: Gene Hackman

New on our bookshelf:

Gene Hackman: The Life and Work
Peter Shelley

Gene Hackman (b. 1930) has been described as the best actor of his generation. During almost half a century as an American film, television and stage actor, film producer and author, he was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning the Best Actor for The French Connection (1971) and the Best Supporting Actor for Unforgiven (1992), as well as three Golden Globes and two BAFTAs. This study examines his film work in detail, with a filmography/videography included.

Posted on

Newly Published: Immersive Theater and Activism

New on our bookshelf:

Immersive Theater and Activism: Scripts and Strategies for Directors and Playwrights
Nandita Dinesh

Immersive theater calls upon audience members to become participants, actors and “others.” It traditionally offers binary roles—that of oppressor or that of victim—and thereby stands the risk of simplifying complex social situations.

Challenging such binaries, this book articulates theatrical “grey zones” when addressing juvenile detention, wartime interventions and immigration processes. It presents scripts and strategies for directors and playwrights who want to create theatrical environments that are immersive and pedagogical; aesthetically evocative and politically provocative; simple and complex.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Making of Tombstone

New on our bookshelf:

The Making of Tombstone: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Modern Western
John Farkis

The day-by-day inside story of the making of Tombstone (1993) as told to the author by those who were there—actors, extras, crew members, Buckaroos, historians and everyone in between. Historical context that inspired Kevin Jarre’s screenplay is included. Production designers, cameramen, costume designers, composers, illustrators, screenwriter, journalists, set dressers, prop masters, medics, stuntmen and many others share their recollections—many never-before-told—of filming this epic Western.

Posted on

Holiday 2018 Sale—Get 25% Off All Books!

The holidays are a special time at McFarland—in addition to publishing scholarship, many of us also participate in the tree harvest, as Ashe County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States. If you live in the Southeast, you may have a little bit of McFarland in your living room right now! This season, please consider putting some McFarland under the tree for the readers in your life. To make your holiday shopping easier, we’re offering 25% off of ALL books through the end of the year! On our website, use coupon code HOLIDAY18, or call us at 800-253-2187. For inspiration, browse our new catalog of of gift ideas for readers. Happy holidays from your friends at McFarland!

Posted on

Newly Published: A Wanderer by Trade

New on our bookshelf:

A Wanderer by Trade: Gender in the Songs of Bob Dylan
Patrick Webster

Many of Bob Dylan’s most well-known works date from the 1960s, and can be seen as critical indicators of the changes in American society then and since. This book explores the unthreading of ideas about masculinity, femininity, sexuality, and identity through the lens of some of Dylan’s most popular love songs. The author revealingly employs specific aspects of cultural theory to explore the appeal of Bob Dylan’s music both now and during the time it was written.

Posted on

Newly Published: I Wanna Wrock!

New on our bookshelf:

I Wanna Wrock! The World of Harry Potter–Inspired “Wizard Rock” and Its Fandom
Paul A. Thomas

“Wizard rock”—music based on the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling—is an idiosyncratic subgenre, with band names like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys and The Whomping Willows. Drawing on input from insiders and fans, and interviews with more than a dozen wizard rockers, this book explores the history and aesthetics of the movement. An appendix lists dozens of popular bands, members and discographies: a must-have for fandom scholars and wizard rock devotees alike.

Posted on

Newly Published: Ballet Matters

New on our bookshelf today:

Ballet Matters: A Cultural Memoir of Dance Dreams and Empowering Realities
Jennifer Fisher

Part memoir, part dance history and ethnography, this critical study explores ballet’s power to inspire and to embody ideas about politics, race, women’s agency, and spiritual experience.

The author knows that dance relates to life in powerful individual and communal ways, reflecting culture and embodying new ideas. Although ballet can appear (and sometimes is) elite and exclusionary, it also has revolutionary potential.

Posted on

Newly Published: Theatre of the Ridiculous

New on our bookshelf:

Theatre of the Ridiculous: A Critical History
Kelly I. Aliano

Theatre of the Ridiculous is a significant movement that highlighted the radical possibilities inherent in camp. Much of contemporary theatre owes this form a great debt but little has been written about its history or aesthetic markers. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the important practitioners, along with critical commentary of their work.

Beginning with Ridiculous’ most recognizable name, Charles Ludlam, the author traces the development of this campy, queer genre, from the B movies of Maria Montez to the Pop Art scene of Andy Warhol to the founding of the Play-House of the Ridiculous and the dawn of Ludlam’s career and finally to the contemporary theatre scene.

Posted on

Newly Published: Movie Magick

New on our bookshelf today:

Movie Magick: The Occult in Film
David Huckvale

“Magick” as defined by Aleister Crowley is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This book explores expressions of movie magick in classic occult films like Hammer’s adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out and modern occult revival movies. These films are inspired by the aesthetics of fin de siècle decadence, the symbolist writings of Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Wagnerian music drama, the Faust legend, the pseudo-science of theosophy, 1960s occult psychedelia, occult conspiracy theories and obscure aspects of animation.

Posted on

Newly Published: Vying for the Iron Throne

New on our bookshelf today:

Vying for the Iron Throne: Essays on Power, Gender, Death and Performance in HBO’s Game of Thrones
Edited by Lindsey Mantoan and Sara Brady

Game of Thrones has changed the landscape of television during an era hailed as the Golden Age of TV. An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series has taken on a life of its own with original plotlines that advance past those of Martin’s books.

The death of protagonist Ned Stark at the end of Season One launched a killing spree in television—major characters now die on popular shows weekly. While many shows kill off characters for pure shock value, death on Game of Thrones produces seismic shifts in power dynamics—and resurrected bodies that continue to fight. This collection of new essays explores how power, death, gender, and performance intertwine in the series.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Manson Family on Film and Television

New on our bookshelf today:

The Manson Family on Film and Television
Ian Cooper

For half a century the Manson Family has captured the public imagination—the lurid, inexplicable violence in a glamorous Hollywood setting, the bizarre and lengthy trials, and Charles Manson’s strange charisma and willingness to embrace the role of evil icon.

For years, the story has been documented, dramatized and lampooned in dozens of films and television programs. This comprehensive study examines the various on-screen portrayals, from factual accounts based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s true crime classic Helter Skelter to prime-time TV dramas to a claymation spoof and even hardcore porn.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Rolling Stones in Concert, 1962–1982

New on our bookshelf today:

The Rolling Stones in Concert, 1962–1982: A Show-by-Show History
Ian M. Rusten

This day-by-day chronicle of every live concert by the Rolling Stones from 1962 through 1982 traces their development from a band playing small clubs around London to the global phenomenon we know today. Comprehensive coverage of the shows includes set lists, venues, concert reviews, anecdotes and notable events in the lives of the band members.

A list of the Stones’ radio recordings— some of which were performed before live audiences—and television performances is included, along with never-before-published posters, programs, tickets, handbills and photographs.

Posted on

Halloween Sale: Horror Books

We realize that the stores have had their trees and Christmas decorations out for sale for weeks now.  At McFarland though, no one wants to leapfrog past our favorite holiday, Halloween!  McFarland has scheduled a sale for our books about horror – whether on film, television, literature, games, comics, culture or anything else.  When you order direct from our website using the coupon code HORROR25, print editions of all horror books are 25% off Friday, October 26 through Halloween, October 31.  Be prepared to be up late with the lights on…

Posted on

Newly Published: “Bare Knees” Flapper

New on our bookshelf today:

“Bare Knees” Flapper: The Life and Films of Virginia Lee Corbin
Tim Lussier

One of the most popular Hollywood child stars of the late 1910s, Virginia Lee Corbin was well known to fans worldwide. With her mother as her manager, Corbin retained her popularity as she grew older. She performed in vaudeville for a couple of years before continuing her film career. Corbin fit well into the flapper mold of the Jazz Age and appeared in many films throughout the 1920s. As she matured, her mother found it ever more difficult to control her. Corbin led a difficult life. After her mother’s suicide attempt, she found that all the money she had earned was gone. Her marriage (at age 18) failed and she was eventually separated from her children. The flapper struggled to remain relevant in the sound era and was trying to make a comeback when she died at 31 in 1942.

Posted on

Newly Published: Diabolical Possession and the Case Behind The Exorcist

New on our bookshelf today:

Diabolical Possession and the Case Behind The Exorcist: An Overview of Scientific Research with Interviews with Witnesses and Experts
Sergio A. Rueda

Reexamining the purported 1949 exorcism of a 13-year old boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland—the most famous and widely documented case in history—the author explores the subject of demonic possession in the light of science. Eyewitness accounts, unpublished photos and never before published documents from the archives of the Rhine Research Foundation provide fresh perspective on the events that inspired the novel, and later the film, The Exorcist.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Romanian Cinema of Nationalism

New on our bookshelf today:

The Romanian Cinema of Nationalism: Historical Films as Propaganda and Spectacle
Onoriu Colăcel

Prior to the collapse of communism, Romanian historical movies were political, encouraging nationalistic feelings and devotion to the state. Vlad the Impaler and other such iconic figures emerged as heroes rather than loathsome bloodsuckers, celebrating a shared sense of belonging. The past decade has, however, presented Romanian films in which ordinary people are the stars—heroes, go-getters, swindlers and sore losers. The author explores a wide selection, old and new, of films set in the Romanian past.

Posted on

Newly Published: Christopher Nolan

New on our bookshelf today:

Christopher Nolan: A Critical Study of the Films
Darren Mooney

Christopher Nolan is one of the defining directors of the 21st century. Few of his contemporaries can compete in terms of critical and commercial success, let alone cultural impact. His films have a rare ability to transcend audience expectations, appealing to both casual moviegoers and dyed-in-the-wool cineastes.

Nolan’s work ranges from gritty crime thrillers (Memento, Insomnia) to spectacular blockbusters (the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception). They have taken audiences from the depths of space (Interstellar) to the harsh realities of war (Dunkirk). They have pushed the boundaries of possibility in modern movie making. This critical history covers his complete filmography, tracing his career from film student to indie darling to Oscar-nominated auteur.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Hopefuls

New on our bookshelf today:

The Hopefuls: Chasing a Rock ’n’ Roll Dream in the Minnesota Music Scene
Paul V. Allen

Songwriters, performers and producers Erik Appelwick, Eric Fawcett, John Hermanson and Darren Jackson were important players in an early 2000s musical collective. This collective included genres such as folk, power pop, R & B, electro-funk and indie rock. Well-known bands Storyhill, Spymob, Alva Star, Kid Dakota, Vicious Vicious, Tapes ’n Tapes, Olympic Hopefuls and others were part of this movement.

These four men worked for their rock n’ roll dreams, producing well-crafted albums and exciting live performances along the way. Their shared biography draws from dozens of new interviews and hundreds of articles to document their intersecting musical journeys—from playing air guitar to KISS records to rocking gyms in high school cover bands to touring the world with some of pop music’s biggest names. Equal parts celebration and cautionary tale, this book discusses both the rewards and difficulties of life as an independent musician.

Posted on

Newly Published: Jean Gabin

New on our bookshelf today:

Jean Gabin: The Actor Who Was France
Joseph Harriss

Jean Gabin was more than just a star of iconic movies still screened in film festivals around the world. To many, he was France itself. During his 45-year career, he acted in 95 French films, including Le Quai des BrumesLa Grande IllusionTouchez Pas au Grisbi and French Cancan.

From his start as a reluctant song and dance man at the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère, Gabin became a first-magnitude actor under such directors as Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir. This revealing biography traces his involvement in the réalisme poétique and film noir movements of the 1930s and 1940s, his unhappy Hollywood years, his role in the World War II liberation of France, his tumultuous affairs with Michèle Morgan and Marlene Dietrich and his real-life role as a Normandy gentleman farmer.

Posted on

Newly Published: Edmond O’Brien

New on our bookshelf today:

Edmond O’Brien: Everyman of Film Noir
Derek Sculthorpe

One of the most versatile actors of his generation, Edmond O’Brien made an impact in a series of iconic noir films. From a man reporting his own murder in D.O.A. (1949) to the conflicted title character in The Bigamist (1953), he portrayed the confusion of the Everyman in the postwar world.

His memorable roles spanned genres from Shakespeare to westerns and comedies—he also turned his hand to directing. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the harassed press agent Oscar Muldoon in Joseph Mankiewicz’s bitter Cinderella fable The Barefoot Contessa (1954). This first in-depth study of O’Brien charts his life and career from the Broadway stage to Hollywood in its heyday and the rise of television, revealing a devoted family man dedicated to his craft.

Posted on

Newly Published: Post-Apocalyptic Patriarchy

New on our bookshelf today:

Post-Apocalyptic Patriarchy: American Television and Gendered Visions of Survival
Carlen Lavigne

Twenty-first century American television series such as RevolutionFalling SkiesThe Last Ship and The Walking Dead have depicted a variety of doomsday scenarios—nuclear cataclysm, rogue artificial intelligence, pandemic, alien invasion or zombie uprising. These scenarios speak to longstanding societal anxieties and contemporary calamities like 9/11 or the avian flu epidemic. Questions about post-apocalyptic television abound: whose voices are represented? What tomorrows are they most afraid of? What does this tell us about the world we live in today? The author analyzes these speculative futures in terms of gender, race and sexuality, revealing the fears and ambitions of a patriarchy in flux, as exemplified by the “return” to a mythical American frontier where the white male hero fights for survival, protects his family and crafts a new world order based on the old.

Posted on

Newly Published: Encyclopedia of Unaired Television Pilots, 1945–2018

New on our bookshelf today:

Encyclopedia of Unaired Television Pilots, 1945–2018
Vincent Terrace

Covering the years 1945–2018, this alphabetical listing provides details about 2,923 unaired television series pilots, including those that never went into production, and those that became series but with a different cast, such as The Green HornetThe Middle and Superman.

Rarities include proposed shows starring Bela Lugosi, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Orson Welles, Claudette Colbert and Mae West, along with such casting curiosities as Mona Freeman, not Gale Storm, as Margie in My Little Margie, and John Larkin as Perry Mason long before Raymond Burr played the role.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Music of Charlie Chaplin

New on our bookshelf today:

The Music of Charlie Chaplin
Jim Lochner

Charlie Chaplin the actor is universally synonymous with his beloved Tramp character. Chaplin the director is considered one of the great auteurs and innovators of cinema history. Less well known is Chaplin the composer, whose instrumental theme for Modern Times (1936) later became the popular standard “Smile,” a Billboard hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1954.

Chaplin was prolific yet could not read or write music. It took a rotating cast of talented musicians to translate his unorthodox humming, off-key singing, and amateur piano and violin playing into the singular orchestral vision he heard in his head.

Drawing on numerous transcriptions from 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Bite, the Breast and the Blood

New on our bookshelf today:

The Bite, the Breast and the Blood: Why Modern Vampire Stories Suck Us In
Amy Williams Wilson

Central to every vampire story is the undead’s need for human blood, but equally compelling is the human ingestion of vampire blood, which often creates a bond. This blood connection suggests two primal, natural desires: breastfeeding and communion with God through a blood covenant.

This analysis of vampire stories explores the benefits of the bonding experiences of breastfeeding and Christian and vampire narratives, arguing that modern readers and viewers are drawn to this genre because of our innate fascination with the relationship between human and maker.

Posted on

Newly Published: Shapers of American Childhood

New on our bookshelf today:

Shapers of American Childhood: Essays on Visionaries from L. Frank Baum to Dr. Spock to J.K. Rowling
Edited by Kathy Merlock Jackson and Mark I. West

The experience of growing up in the U.S. is shaped by many forces. Relationships with parents and teachers are deeply personal and definitive. Social and economic contexts are broader and harder to quantify.

Key individuals in public life have also had a marked impact on American childhood. These 18 new essays examine the influence of pivotal figures in the culture of 20th and 21st century childhood and child-rearing, from Benjamin Spock and Walt Disney to Ruth Handler, Barbie’s inventor, and Ernest Thompson Seton, founder of the Boy Scouts of America.

Posted on

Four New Titles Reviewed in October Issue of Choice

Freedom Narratives of African American Women: A Study of 19th Century Writings
“Compelling…crucially contributing to feminist recovery work and scholarship in African American studies, Freedom Narratives of African American Women is required reading for those interested in 19th-century America…essential.”

The Postmodern Joy of Role-Playing Games: Agency, Ritual and Meaning in the Medium
“Groundbreaking study…this volume is required reading for RPG and gaming scholars…essential.”

The American Soldier, 1866–1916: The Enlisted Man and the Transformation of the United States Army
“This is a rewarding study of enlisted men in the post–Civil War era…recommended.”

Organized Crime in the United States, 1865–1941
“Challenges widely accepted views…an interesting historical analysis…recommended.”

Posted on

Newly Published: The Films of Budd Boetticher

New on our bookshelf today:

The Films of Budd Boetticher
Robert Nott

Budd Boetticher (1916–2001) was a bullfighter, a pleasant madman and a talented journeyman filmmaker who could—with the right material and drive—create a minor Western film classic as easily as he could kill a bull. Yet pain and passion naturally mixed in both endeavors. Drawing on studio archives and featuring insightful interviews with Boetticher and those who worked with him, this retrospective looks at each of his 33 films in detail, covering his cinematic career from his days as an assistant’s assistant on the set of Hal Roach comedies to his last documentary some 45 years later.

Posted on

Newly Published: Video Gaming in Science Fiction

New on our bookshelf today:

Video Gaming in Science Fiction: A Critical Study
Jason Barr

As video gaming and gaming culture became more mainstream in the 1970s, science fiction authors began to incorporate aspects of each into their work. This study examines how media-fueled paranoia about video gaming—first emerging almost fifty years ago—still resonates in modern science fiction. The author reveals how negative stereotypes of gamers and gaming have endured in depictions of modern gamers in the media and how honest portrayals are still wanting, even in the “forward thinking” world of science fiction.

Posted on

Newly Published: Pirates in History and Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf today:

Pirates in History and Popular Culture
Edited by Antonio Sanna

This collection of new essays covers the myriad portrayals of the figure of the pirate in historical records, literary narratives, films, television series, opera, anime and games. Contributors explore the nuances of both real and fictional pirates, giving attention to renowned works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and the anime One Piece, as well as less well known works such as pirate romances, William Clarke Russell’s The Frozen Pirate, Lionel Lindsay’s artworks, Steven Speilberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and Pastafarian texts.

Posted on

New in Softcover: The Complete Kay Francis Career Record

Now available in softcover:

The Complete Kay Francis Career Record: All Film, Stage, Radio and Television Appearances
Lynn Kear and John Rossman

This book is the definitive guide to the film, stage, radio and television career of Kay Francis, one of the most glamorous stars from the golden age of Hollywood. For each film, the authors provide a thorough synopsis plus cast and crew information (including biographies), opening dates, production notes, behind-the-scenes details, and reviews. In addition, information is provided on her stage, radio, and television appearances, and a section is devoted to collecting Kay Francis memorabilia, including such items as cigarette cards, sheet music and soundtracks. Also covered is the stage and vaudeville career of Kay Francis’ mother, Katherine Clinton. A brief biography of Kay Francis is provided, along with an insightful foreword by film scholar James Robert Parish. Truly a treasure trove for Kay Francis fans and anyone interested in classic filmmaking in the 1930s and 1940s, the book includes more than 130 illustrations, many of them rare.

Posted on

Newly Published: Original Jethro Tull

New on our bookshelf today:

Original Jethro Tull: The Glory Years, 1968–1980
Gary Parker

Jethro Tull was one of the truly innovative rock bands to emerge from the late 1960s. At their peak the idiosyncratic group, fronted by multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson, resembled a troupe of roving English minstrels.

Crafting a signature progressive rock sound that resisted easy categorization, they were often derided by critics as too British, too eccentric, too theatrical. Over the span of a decade, Tull released a string of sublime albums featuring intricate compositions in a wide range of musical styles, with little regard for the showbiz maxim “give the public what it wants.”

Focusing on the years 1968–1980, this history includes insider accounts based on exclusive interviews with key members and rare photographs from Ian Anderson’s personal collection.

Posted on

Newly Published: George Orwell on Screen

New on our bookshelf today:

George Orwell on Screen: Adaptations, Documentaries and Docudramas on Film and Television
David Ryan

British author and essayist George Orwell shot to fame with two iconic novels: the anti–Stalinist satire Animal Farm and the dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four.

A few years after his death in 1950, the CIA bankrolled screen adaptations of both novels as Cold War propaganda. Orwell’s depiction of a totalitarian police state captivated the media in the 1980s. Today, mounting anxieties about digital surveillance and globalization have made him a hot property in Hollywood.

Drawing on interviews with actors, writers, directors and producers, this book presents the first comprehensive study of Orwell on film and television. Beginning with CBS’s 1953 live production of Nineteen Eighty-Four that mirrored the McCarthy witch hunts, the author covers 20 wide-ranging adaptations, documentaries and biopics, including two lost BBC dramatizations from 1965.

Posted on

King Arthur Sales Starts Now

What is known of the legendary King Arthur is mostly derived from folklore and literature.  Though today, one is just as likely to have been introduced to King Arthur by a cartoon boy pulling a sword from a stone.  You’ll find books covering all disciplines in our new King Arthur catalog
For film studies, McFarland’s latest catalog includes such titles as Kevin J. Harty’s groundbreaking Cinema Arthuriana and The Reel Middle Ages.  For students (and professors) of Arthurian literature, William W. Kibler and R. Barton Palmer have brought us a very useful book for the classroom, Medieval Arthurian Epic and Romance.   It offers new translations from Latin, Middle English and Old French of texts that exemplify the most important traditions of Arthurian literature in the Middle Ages.  In addition to Arthuriana in folklore, literature and film, this new catalog also includes our line of popular works debating the evidence about historic sites and figures, including Hengest, Gwrtheyrn and the Chronology of Post-Roman BritainWhen you order direct from our website using the coupon code Arthur25, print editions of all Arthuriana books are 25% off September 15 through September 30.
Posted on

Newly Published: Single Season Sitcoms of the 1990s

New on our bookshelf today:

Single Season Sitcoms of the 1990s: A Complete Guide
Bob Leszczak

During the “Must See TV” 1990s, Americans enjoyed such immensely popular sitcoms as FriendsSeinfeldHome Improvement and The Drew Carey Show. Shows that did not make the ratings cut numbered in the hundreds—the emergence of new networks and cable channels airing original programming resulted in a vast increase in short-lived sitcoms over the previous decade. Some of these “flops” were actually quite good and deserved a better fate.

The author revisits them—along with the “dramedies” of the day—with detailed entries providing production and broadcast information, along with critical analyses, and recollections by cast and crew members. A subsection highlights sitcoms that returned for an abbreviated second season. Dozens of cast and crew photographs are included.

Posted on

Newly Published: Adapted from the Original

New on our bookshelf today:

Adapted from the Original: Essays on the Value and Values of Works Remade for a New Medium
Edited by Laurence Raw

Critics and audiences often judge films, books and other media as “great” —but what does that really mean? This collection of new essays examines the various criteria by which degrees of greatness (or not-so) are constructed—whether by personal, political or social standards—through topics in cinema, literature and adaptation. The contributors recognize how issues of value vary across different cultures, and explore what those differences say about attitudes and beliefs.

Posted on

Newly Published: Terrifying Texts

New on our bookshelf today:

Terrifying Texts: Essays on Books of Good and Evil in Horror Cinema
Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

From Faust (1926) to The Babadook (2014), books have been featured in horror films as warnings, gateways, prisons and manifestations of the monstrous. Ancient grimoires such as the Necronomicon serve as timeless vessels of knowledge beyond human comprehension, while runes, summoning diaries, and spell books offer their readers access to the powers of the supernatural—but at what cost?
 This collection of new essays examines nearly a century of genre horror in which on-screen texts drive and shape their narratives, sometimes unnoticed. The contributors explore American films like The Evil Dead (1981), The Prophecy (1995) and It Follows (2014), as well as such international films as Eric Valette’s Malefique (2002), Paco Cabeza’s The Appeared (2007) and Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981).

Posted on

Newly Published: Storytelling in the Modern Board Game

New on our bookshelf today:

Storytelling in the Modern Board Game: Narrative Trends from the Late 1960s to Today
Marco Arnaudo

Over the years, board games have evolved to include relatable characters, vivid settings and compelling, intricate plotlines. In turn, players have become more emotionally involved—taking on, in essence, the role of coauthors in an interactive narrative.

Through the lens of game studies and narratology—traditional storytelling concepts applied to the gaming world—this book explores the synergy of board games, designers and players in story-oriented designs. The author provides development guidance for game designers and recommends games to explore for hobby players.

Posted on

Newly Published: Six Plays of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

New on our bookshelf today:

Six Plays of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Edited by Jamil Khoury, Michael Malek Najjar and Corey Pond

A bold and singular collection of six plays by Arab and Jewish playwrights explores the human toll of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The Admission by Motti Lerner, Scenes From 70* Years by Hannah Khalil, Tennis in Nablus by Ismail Khalidi, Urge for Going by Mona Mansour, The Victims by Ken Kaissar, and The Zionists by Zohar Tirosh-Polk.

Rather than striving to achieve balance and moral equivalency between “competing” narratives, the plays investigate themes of identity, justice, occupation, exile, history and homeland with honesty and integrity. The plays do not “take sides” or adhere to ideological orthodoxies but challenge tribalism and narrow definitions of nationalism, while varying widely in thematic content, dramatic structure, and time and place.

Where politicians and diplomats fail, artists and storytellers may yet succeed—not in ratifying a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, but in building the sort of social and political connectivity that enables resolution.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Politics of Race, Gender and Sexuality in The Walking Dead

New on our bookshelf today:

The Politics of Race, Gender and Sexuality in The Walking Dead: Essays on the Television Series and Comics
Edited by Elizabeth Erwin and Dawn Keetley

From the beginning, both Robert Kirkman’s comics and AMC’s series of The Walking Dead have brought controversy in their presentations of race, gender and sexuality. Critics and fans have contended that the show’s identity politics have veered toward the decidedly conservative, offering up traditional understandings of masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality, racial hierarchy and white supremacy.

This collection of new essays explores the complicated nature of relationships among the story’s survivors. In the end, characters demonstrate often-surprising shifts that consistently comment on identity politics. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with critics, these essays offer a rich view of how gender, race, class and sexuality intersect in complex new ways in the TV series and comics.

Posted on

Newly Published: Hardcore Horror Cinema in the 21st Century

New on our bookshelf today:

Hardcore Horror Cinema in the 21st Century: Production, Marketing and Consumption
James Aston

The first of its kind, this study examines the exemplars of hardcore horror—Fred Vogel’s August Underground trilogy, Shane Ryan’s Amateur Porn Star Killer series and Lucifer Valentine’s “vomit gore” films.

The author begins with a definition and critical overview of this marginalized subgenre before exploring its key aesthetic convention, the pursuit of realist horror. Production practices, exhibition and marketing strategies are discussed in an in-depth interview with filmmaker Shane Ryan. Audience reception is covered with a focus on fan interaction via the Internet.

Posted on

Newly Published: Foreign Language Films and the Oscar

New on our bookshelf today:

Foreign Language Films and the Oscar: The Nominees and Winners, 1948–2017
Michael S. Barrett

The Academy Awards—that yearly Hollywood bash that brings together the glamour and glitz of the international film industry—is highly revered yet has been minimally explored beyond the category of Best Picture. Over the last decade, more than 2,000 films have been submitted for the title of Best Foreign Language Film. Of those, 312—including Italy’s 8 ½, Sweden’s Through a Glass Darkly and Mexico’s Pan’s Labyrinth, as well as Denmark’s lesser-known Harry and the Butler, Yugoslavia’s I Even Met Happy Gypsies and Nicaragua’s Alsino and the Condor—have received nominations.

This guide lists each nominee—from the first-honored Shoeshine in 1948 through Iran’s second Oscar winner, The Salesman, in 2017—chronologically and includes synopses, basic facts about personnel and production qualities, and rankings among annual competitors that often differ from those of the Academy.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Sex Pistols Invade America

New on our bookshelf today:

The Sex Pistols Invade America: The Fateful U.S. Tour, January 1978
Mick O’Shea

In November 1977, Warner Bros. secured the rights to release the album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols in America. The following January, the Sex Pistols—already the “scourge” of Britain—were discovered by unsuspecting American audiences in an infamous U.S. tour, accompanied by sensational media coverage and moral panic.

Malcolm McLaren, the band’s manager, eschewed the established rock ‘n’ roll markets of New York and Los Angeles in favor of off-the-radar venues in Memphis, San Antonio and Baton Rouge, sowing the seeds for countercultural clashes in the conservative South. Two weeks later the band split up but punk had invaded mainstream American culture.

Drawing on input from fans, the author chronicles the Pistols’ first and only U.S. tour and separates fact from fallacy in the mythology surrounding those 12 days of mayhem.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Muslim World in Post–9/11 American Cinema

New on our bookshelf today:

The Muslim World in Post–9/11 American Cinema: A Critical Study, 2001–2011
Kerem Bayraktaroğlu

Focusing on the decade following 9/11, this critical analysis examines the various portrayals of Muslims in American cinema. Comparison of pre– and post–9/11 films indicates a stereotype shift, influenced by factors other than just politics. The evolving definitions of male, female and child characters and of setting and landscape are described. The rise of the formidable American female character who dominates the weak Muslim male emerges as a common theme.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Hero and the Grave

New on our bookshelf today:

The Hero and the Grave: The Theme of Death in the Films of John Ford, Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone
Alireza Vahdani

The theme of death is an essential component of film narrative, particularly in how it affects the hero. Filmmakers from different cultures and backgrounds have developed distinct yet archetypal perspectives on death and the protagonist’s response. Focusing on Western and Japanese period genre films, the author examines the work of John Ford (1894–1973), Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998) and Sergio Leone (1929–1989) and finds similarities regarding death’s impact on the hero’s sense of morality.

Posted on

Newly Published: Carolina Beach Music Encyclopedia

New on our bookshelf today:

Carolina Beach Music Encyclopedia
Rick Simmons

While rock groups such as the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean defined the beach music of Southern California during the 1960s, a different, R&B influenced sound could be heard along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Drawing on extensive research and exclusive interviews, this richly illustrated reference work covers the music, songwriters and performers who contributed to the genre of classic Carolina beach music from 1940 to 1980. Detailed entries tell the stories behind nearly 500 classic recordings, with release dates, label information, chart performance and biographical background on more than 200 artists.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Magnificent Max Baer

New on our bookshelf today:

The Magnificent Max Baer: The Life of the Heavyweight Champion and Film Star
Colleen Aycock with David W. Wallace

Boxing might not have survived the 1930s if not for Max Baer. A contender for every heavyweight championship 1932–1941, California’s “Glamour Boy” brought back the “million-dollar gate” not seen since the 1920s. His radio voice sold millions of Gillette razor blades; his leading-man appeal made him a heartthrob in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933). The film was banned in Nazi Germany—Baer had worn a Star of David on his trunks when he TKOed German former champ Max Schmeling.

Baer defeated 275-pound Primo Carnera in 1934 for the championship, losing it to Jim Braddock the next year. Contrary to Cinderella Man, (2005), Baer—favored 10 to 1—was not a villain and the fight was more controversial than the film suggested. His battle with Joe Louis three months later drew the highest gate of the decade.

This first comprehensive biography covers Baer’s complete ring record, his early life, his career on radio, film, stage and television, and his World War II army service.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Image of Disability

New on our bookshelf today:

The Image of Disability: Essays on Media Representations
Edited by JL Schatz and Amber E. George

A mainstay of modern life, the global media gives out information about disabilities that is often inaccurate or negative and perpetuates oppressive stigmas and discrimination.

In response to representations that have been incomplete, misguided or unimaginative, this collection of new essays encourages scholars and allies to refashion media so as to disrupt the status quo and move toward more liberatory politics. Images in film, television and social media are assessed through the lenses of disabilities studies, media studies, cultural studies and intersectional studies involving critical race theory and gender.

Posted on

Newly Published: Humorists vs. Religion

New on our bookshelf today:

Humorists vs. Religion: Critical Voices from Mark Twain to Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Iain Ellis

Critical humorists and religion are steeped in a long-standing cultural antagonism. This book recounts the dramatic skirmishes between religion—its dogma and edicts, political manifestations, and the nature of faith—and the satire, parody, jokes and hyperbole of popular wits. The writings of Twain, Vonnegut, Mencken and Hitchens are included, along with the films of Monty Python, the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, the animated television series The Simpsons and South Park, the comedy of George Carlin and Bill Maher, the music of Randy Newman and Pussy Riot, the performance monologue of Julia Sweeney and the magic of Penn Jillette.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Automobile and American Life, 2d ed.

New on our bookshelf today:

The Automobile and American Life, 2d ed.
John Heitmann

Now revised and updated, this book tells the story of how the automobile transformed American life and how automotive design and technology have changed over time. It details cars’ inception as a mechanical curiosity and later a plaything for the wealthy; racing and the promotion of the industry; Henry Ford and the advent of mass production; market competition during the 1920s; the development of roads and accompanying highway culture; the effects of the Great Depression and World War II; the automotive Golden Age of the 1950s; oil crises and the turbulent 1970s; the decline and then resurgence of the Big Three; and how American car culture has been represented in film, music and literature. Updated notes and a select bibliography serve as valuable resources to those interested in automotive history.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Lives of Justine Johnstone

New on our bookshelf today:

The Lives of Justine Johnstone: Follies Star, Research Scientist, Social Activist
Kathleen Vestuto

As a Ziegfeld Follies girl and film actress, Justine Johnstone (1895–1982) was celebrated as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her career took an unexpected turn when she abruptly retired from acting at 31. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to medical research and social activism. As a cutting-edge pathologist, she contributed to the pre-penicillin treatment of syphilis at Columbia University, participated in the development of early cancer treatments at Caltech, and assisted Los Angeles physicians in oncology research. As a divorced woman in the 1940s, she adopted and raised two children on her own. She later helped find work for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters and became a prominent participant in social and political causes.

The first full-length biography of Johnstone chronicles her extraordinary success in two male-dominated fields—show business and medical science—and follows her remarkable journey into a fascinating and fulfilling life.

Posted on

Newly Published: The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture

New on our bookshelf today:

The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture
Karen Dillon

The cultural fantasy of twins imagines them as physically and behaviorally identical. Media portrayals consistently offer the spectacle of twins who share an insular closeness and perform a supposed alikeness—standing side by side, speaking and acting in unison.

Treating twinship as a cultural phenomenon, this first comprehensive study of twins in American literature and popular culture examines the historical narrative—within the discourses of experimentation, aberrance and eugenics—and how it has shaped their representations in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Posted on

Games & Hobbies Summer Sale Starts Now!

The best four days in gaming, Gen Con 2018, starts this week in Indianapolis. McFarland will be in the exhibit hall at booth #142. Visit us to peruse our books and to get the buzz about McFarland’s latest offerings. (Also, Lisa Camp will be in the booth representing the editorial team, and welcomes proposals for nonfiction manuscripts.)

For those of us that can’t make it to Gen Con, McFarland’s Games & Hobbies catalog covers books about role-playing games, tabletop games, video games, chess, and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code GAME25, print editions of all games & hobbies books are 25% off August 1 through August 15. Happy reading!

Posted on

Newly Published: Bond, the Beatles and My Year with Marilyn

New on our bookshelf today:

Bond, the Beatles and My Year with Marilyn: 50 Years as a Movie Marketing Man
Charles “Jerry” Juroe

In his remarkable 50-year career, D-Day veteran, international film publicist and executive and production associate Charles “Jerry” Juroe met, knew or worked with almost “anyone who was anyone,” from Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock to Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn, Brando and the Beatles.

He made his name working on the iconic James Bond films, running publicity and advertising for both United Artists and legendary producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s EON Productions. From Dr. No to GoldenEye, Juroe traveled the globe with Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. His entertaining memoir reads like insider history of Hollywood.

Posted on

July Transportation Sale: Get 25% off ALL Transportation Titles

Some of you may share a guilty failing of our editors.  When they receive proposals and manuscripts, while reading about almost any car–learning how it took shape, its quirks and qualities, how it changed over the production run–desire starts to sprout.  Previously ignored vehicles (and even disliked vehicles) show their hidden appeal.  On more than one occasion, an editor has looked at ads and undertaken calculations (financial, emotional, marital) for said cars.
 
If you’re the same, peruse our transportation catalog with caution!  In addition to a broad range of books about automobiles, you’ll find offerings about aircraft, locomotives, bicycles, ships, military vehicles and transportation-related topics.  When you order direct from our website using the coupon code TRANSPORT25, print editions of all transportation books are 25% off July 16 through July 31. Happy motoring and happy reading!
Posted on

Newly Published: Dharma of the Dead

New on our bookshelf today:

Dharma of the Dead: Zombies, Mortality and Buddhist Philosophy
Christopher M. Moreman

With the increased popularity of zombies in recent years, scholars have considered why the undead have so captured the public imagination. This book argues that the zombie can be viewed as an object of meditation on death, a memento mori that makes the fact of mortality more approachable from what has been described as America’s “death-denying culture.” The existential crisis in zombie apocalyptic fiction brings to the fore the problem of humanity’s search for meaning in an increasingly global and secular world. Zombies are analyzed in the context of Buddhist thought, in contrast with social and religious critiques from other works.

Posted on

Weekly Deal: Martial Arts

This week, get 20% off all books about martial arts with the coupon code MARTIAL!

Now with Kung Fu Grip!: How Bodybuilders, Soldiers and a Hairdresser Reinvented Martial Arts for America

Mixed Martial Arts and the Quest for Legitimacy: The Sport vs. Spectacle Divide

Classic Movie Fight Scenes: 75 Years of Bare Knuckle Brawls, 1914–1989

Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War

The American Martial Arts Film

The Hong Kong Filmography, 1977–1997: A Reference Guide to 1,100 Films Produced by British Hong Kong Studios

Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe: Historical Origins, Style and Philosophy

The Asian Influence on Hollywood Action Films

 

Posted on

Newly Published: Jennifer Higdon

New on our bookshelf today:

Jennifer Higdon: Composing in Color
Christina L. Reitz

Renowned composer Jennifer Higdon is best known for her symphonic pieces blue cathedral, Concerto for Orchestra, City Scape, Concerto 4-3 and Violin Concerto (2010 Pulitzer Prize). These compositions illustrate her breadth of style and avant-garde technique. The author examines these works—with commentary by Higdon—as well as the music of her first opera, with a focus on compositional history, musical characteristics, formal analysis and critical reception.

Posted on

Newly Published: Growing Up with Vampires

New on our bookshelf today:

Growing Up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media
Edited by Simon Bacon and Katarzyna Bronk

Vampire narratives are generally thought of as adult or young adult fare, yet there is a long history of their appearance in books, film and other media meant for children. They emerge as expressions of anxiety about change and growing up but sometimes turn out to be new best friends who highlight the beauty of difference and individuality.

This collection of new essays examines the history of vampires in 20th and 21st century Western popular media marketed to preteens and explores their significance and symbolism.

Posted on

Newly Published: I Was Flesh Gordon

New on our bookshelf today:

I Was Flesh Gordon: Fighting the Sex Ray and Other Adventures of an Accidental Porn Pioneer
Jason Williams with Derek McCaw

Hollywood, the 1970s. Jason Williams, a former college athlete from very conservative Orange County, hopes to become a film actor in a town where everyone’s looking for a break. He jumps at the chance for the lead in a science fiction parody, an X-rated (later R) spoof of Flash Gordon.

Sure, he has to get naked on camera—but so do lots of cute girls. He has no idea the production will be the start of an odyssey that will take him through the highs and lows of Tinseltown, and make him the most known unknown in movies—Flesh Gordon!