I get so many books in the mail for me to distribute to reviewers for The Journal of Screenwriting that opening the daily deliveries is like having a birthday party every day – and then I forget that every now and then the book that arrives is one for which I’ve written something – an essay, a chapter, etc – and that brings an extra smile to my face.
Seeing my name in print never ceases to amaze me as it was a goal of mine from a very young age – hence my helming of the 8th grade newspaper at St. Pius X School, the 12th grade “Fourth Estate” at Bedford Senior High and the columns I’ve written for my college newspaper, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The Los Angeles Times collectively.
Today I was pleased to receive The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color edited by Doulas Brode, Shea T. Brode and Cynthia J. Miller – it has my chapter: “Hidden Behind Hoopskirts: The Many Women of Hollywood’s Civil War” and as Doug says in the Introduction, this chapter gave me a chance to focus on the portrayal of enslaved females for wherever there was a Southern belle in an old Hollywood movie, there, too would be her maid.
Granted, as a new collection of essays by scholars – and in hardback – the book costs $105 and there are no used copies out yet. But you can always ask your local or college library to stock a copy and then be the first to check it out!
Whether on the big screen or small, films featuring the American Civil War are among the most classic and controversial in motion picture history. From D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915) to Free State of Jones (2016), the war has provided the setting, ideologies, and character archetypes for cinematic narratives of morality, race, gender, and nation, as well as serving as historical education for a century of Americans.
In The American Civil War on Film and TV: Blue and Gray in Black and White and Color, Douglas Brode, Shea T. Brode, and Cynthia J. Miller bring together nineteen essays by a diverse array of scholars across the disciplines to explore these issues. The essays included here span a wide range of films, from the silent era to the present day, including Buster Keaton’s The General (1926), Red Badge of Courage (1951), Glory (1989), Gettysburg (1993), and Cold Mountain (2003), as well as television mini-series The Blue and The Gray (1982) and John Jakes’ acclaimed North and South trilogy (1985-86).
As an accessible volume to dedicated to a critical conversation about the Civil War on film, The American Civil War on Film and TV will appeal to not only to scholars of film, military history, American history, and cultural history, but to fans of war films and period films, as well.