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Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film Paperback – June 14, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The definitive book about the relationship between Hollywood and the military." -- Crosswinds Weekly



"A 'revised and expanded' edition that can only be called definitive. It's hard to imagine anyone in the near future undertaking much less completing a study of such thoroughness and detail." -- Journal of Military History



"This is excellent film history in a much neglected area of scholarship." -- Library Journal



"Massive and instructive.... Suid offers detailed synopses of the plots of the films, his analyses of their critical worth, and his takes on the films' contributions -- or lack thereof -- to the American military image." -- VVA Veteran



"The most detailed source of information about the stories Hollywood tells about the American military and how the Pentagon seeks to portray itself in the film media." -- Air Power History



"Well worth the price for those interested in the relationship between Hollywood and the military establishment or, more generally, between warfare and American culture." -- Army History



"As a behind-the-lens history, Suid's Guts and Glory is a perfect complement to the films he discusses at length." -- Cineaste



"Without question, Larry Suid's research completely covers Hollywood's myriad role in shaping public opinion about national conflicts and his many conclusions amplify exactly what went on between Pentagon officials and big-name directors as each side jockeyed the other hoping to find an advantageous concession." -- Film & History



"An excellent contribution to the growing studies on American films and to the war film genre in particular." -- Film and History



"Suid adroitly describes the often rocky relationship between the military and the film industry, the result of which is the public's view of the military." -- Marine Corps Gazette



"Sweeping, comprehensive, detailed, revealing; the book is always interesting, occasionally surprising, and sometimes amusing. Suid has set out to analyze the making American war movies from the earliest days of film at the beginning of the Twentieth Century -- before there was a Hollywood." -- NYMAS Newsletter



"A seminal and monumental contribution to the history of the American military in film." -- On Point



"An indispensable reference work. Meticulously documented, it is a classic in its own right and an essential research tool for anyone seriously interested in this field." -- Quarterly Review of Film and Video



"An interesting, intelligent and never-pedantic analysis of a partnership that helped shape America's view of its military and the world." -- Wall Street Journal



"Brings Hollywood pictures of war into focus." -- Wilson Quarterly



"A pioneering work in the history of war films." -- John Chambers



"[ Guts and Glory] examines a selection of war movies from 1915 to the 1970s, and is noteworthy for focusing attention on the relationship between the Hollywood establishment and the American military-industrial complex." -- Choice

About the Author

Lawrence H. Suid, a military historian, is the author of several books and has recently appeared on The History Channel, Turner Classic Movies, and CNN.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; Rev Exp edition (June 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813190185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813190181
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By fastreader on July 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a mighty tome that has something intelligent to say about virtually every war movie made in Hollywood, and even some that weren't from the Hollywood studios.
More amazing yet, where I have a good remembrance of, and a firm opinion about, a given movie, I find that Suid has hit the nail on the head with his comments. Especially notable was the treatment he gives to two fairly recent films, Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. Almost everyone I know, and the critics as well, hailed SPR as a work of genius. I thought it was dreck, that it got just about everything wrong that it could have gotten wrong, and finally I walked out of the film when the beleaguered Yank says he's run out of ammo and does anyone have any "bandoliers"? Over the course of half a dozen pages, Suid explains to my satisfaction exactly what I found SPR unsatisfying.
He even gives a preview of such very recent films as Blackhawk Down, and there too he's right on the money.
Full disclosure: I know Suid, because he interviewed me about a book that became a film that is mentioned (mostly favorably) in his text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Film and military historian Lawrence H. Suid's Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film is an updated version of a published twenty-six years ago, now encompassing cinematic depictions of the First World War up to the Gulf War and Somalia. Thus, younger readers will be glad to see movies such as Black Hawk Down (2002) and Windtalkers (2002) come under Suid's updated study. His chronological approach amply highlights the US military in the vicissitudes of Hollywood image making since the film industry's inception. As such, Guts and Glory is, at its crux, a study in cinematic sociology, with ramifications for political science. Suid's span runs from classics to lesser-known movies. He includes fantasies such as The Final Countdown (1980), smarmy failures such as Pearl Harbor (2001), the humorous - like Stripes (1981), assorted millennial and survivalist works, and those that otherwise suffered from "the ambiguity of conflicting images" such as Pork Chop Hill (1959) (201).

World events are often midwife to the film industry; hence, Suid discusses at length the effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis and growing atomic arsenals (229ff) in the making of the American military image. With their extended implications for the American mythos, politics and popular sentiment impact the minds of producers and screenwriters. For most films, producers worked closely with the Pentagon, providing them scripts to get their comments. This was more for material than spiritual support.

Throughout, there is a pleasing balance in Suid's analyses. He lauds films such as The Killing Fields (1984) and Southern Comfort (1981) for at least nominally standing "above the political issues" to let "the visual images of slaughter speak for themselves" (468).
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Guts and Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film
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