[An] eye-poppingly informative new book.... To paraphrase Frank Loesser's 'Guys and Dolls,' with the publication of American Showman, the question 'What's playing at the Roxy?' can now be answered: 'First-rate cultural history.'
(Mindy Aloff Washington Post
[ American Showman] provides valuable insight into Roxy's dynamic contemporary moment--one characterized by world military strife, economic downturn, and a blossoming of technological innovation.
[An] exhaustive biography.
(Ethan Mordden Wall Street Journal
Dr. Melnick skillfully captures the substance and durability of Rothafel's prolific life.New York Times
(Sam Roberts New York Times
A penetrating, exhaustive contextualized study of Roxy's crucial role in every aspect of the early film industry...highly recommended.
American Showman is a fascinating, passionate, and definitive biography of Samuel 'Roxy' Rothafel.... Melnick unveils aspects of Rothafel's career that change our understanding of American film history from the late 1910s to the early 1930s.
(Charles Musser Journal of American History
For anyone interested in the historical transition from the Nickelodeon era to the classical Hollywood cinema, Ross Melnick's American Showman is a must read.
(Jan-Christopher Horak UCLA Film & Television Archive
An impeccably researched and definitive study of Samuel 'Roxy' Rothafel
(Bernard F. Dick American Studies
Roxy?'s extraordinary life, as Melnick illustrates, serves as a powerful lens through which to examine a dynamic age of cultural change in American life.
(Josh Glick Business History Review
Anyone who cares about the development of film exhibition in the early 20th century should consider it essential reading... even a casual film buff will find much to enjoy... the book is well written and not overly burdened with jargon.
(Leonard Maltin Indiewire
With so many greatly exaggerated reports of the death of cinema abroad, what a pleasure to read Ross Melnick's scrupulously researched, exhaustive biography of movie-palace impresario Samuel 'Roxy' Rothafel -- a biography that doubles as a cultural history, looking to a moment when the movies were the upstarts, making vaudeville and live theatre quake in their boots.
(Nick Pinkerton Sight & Sound
American Showman is at the cutting edge of contemporary film studies. It is to this book that future generations of film scholars engaged in cultural history will turn.
(John Belton, Rutgers University, author of American Cinema/American Culture