"Each chapter has a thesis explored at length, with analysis of selected films. The selection of film analyzed is well chosen with celebrated classics as well as the offbeat." (Journal of Film and Video, Fall 2009)
"McGee has written a rich, ambitious book. ... McGee's readings are richly informed by the work of his predecessors, and they are invariably thoughtful, bold, and challenging. Probably every reader who has seen the films discussed will find things to quarrel with, but almost certainly every reader will also find McGee's arguments a powerful inducement to give these films another careful look. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -- CHOICE, September 2007
"McGee is an astute observer of United States culture who offers trenchant discussion of the Western genre. He chooses his films strategically and reveals their textual strategies and historical meanings." Stan Corkin, University of Cincinnati
From the Back Cover
Original and compelling, From Shane to Kill Bill rethinks what American Western film has to offer us as a genre. Westerns have succeeded in dramatizing the individual, defining the frontier myth, and promoting the limits of masculinity. In tracing the development of the Western from 1939 to the present, this entertaining book demonstrates that the genre is also a successful vehicle for articulating class resentments and the social contradictions in American culture.
Offering sensitive readings that extend and deepen our understanding of the American West – from Shane, Stagecoach, and The Searchers to Heaven’s Gate, Unforgiven, and Kill Bill – this book discusses the Western in new and insightful ways. McGee appreciates the limits of this film genre, but also articulates its positive political value as an expression of social desires typically unspoken in American public discourse. Informative and compelling, this book suggests new understandings of this much-discussed genre.
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