June 25, 2015

The War On the Big Screen

Suzanne Broderick has published Real War vs. Reel War: Veterans, Hollywood, and WWII (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). The hardcover is $30, the ebook is $29.99. Here's a description of the contents from the publisher's website.

World War II has been the subject of hundreds, if not thousands, of films produced in the United States alone. From training camp scenes in See Here, Private Hargrove to images of brutal combat in Saving Private Ryan, filmmakers have been tasked with replicating pivotal moments in the war. But sometimes story lines and dramatic manipulations of audiences have led to less-than-faithful re-creations of what men and women have endured during times of conflict. 

In Real War vs. Reel War: Veterans, Hollywood, and World WarII, Suzanne Broderick looks at how on-screen portrayals hold up against wartime experiences of actual combatants—soldiers, sailors, pilots, code talkers, and prisoners of war. In addition, two women—real-life “Rosie the Riveters”—compare depictions of the homefront with their experiences during the war. These members of the Greatest Generation share personal memories and offer commentary on the films that have sought to capture what it was really like. Among the films discussed in this book are such classics as Battleground, Twelve O’Clock High, The Best Years of Our Lives, Since You Went Away, The Sands of Iwo Jima, and The Great Escape, as well as more contemporary films such as Swing Shift and Windtalkers.

By providing a “human” look at the military, the war effort, and how such people and events were depicted on screen, Real War vs. Reel War makes a unique contribution to the conversation about Hollywood’s role in shaping history. This book will appeal to historians, cultural critics, and anyone interested in war cinema.

Other titles of interest from the publisher in the same category include Ralph Donald and Karen MacDonald, Women in War Films: From Helpless Heroine to G.I. Jane (2014) and Bryn Upton, Hollywood and the End of the Cold War: Signs of Cinematic Change (2014).

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