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Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics, and Popular Culture Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan (December 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819563293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819563293
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,272,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Mr. Greene thoughtfully examined the racial politics that made the pictures both tough-minded and slightly repugnant. -- from the New York Times review of Burton's remake

From the Publisher

6 x 9 trim. 52 illus. LC 98-31193

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Customer Reviews

Reading this book, I felt vindicated.
Paul McComas
Eric Greene's book is a thoughtful discussion of the ideas present in the Apes movies.
Frederick L. Clemens
I found his writing to be witty and revealing.
T. Merino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
In film and telelvision, very few things happen by pure accident. Although Greene may seem at times to "read too much" into 'Planet of the Apes', in reality he presents a clear and very detailed analysis of the series and films in relation to the time in which they were produced. The connections between the two cannot be overlooked, and whether or not you agree with all of Greene's points, it is necessary to have all possible ideas presented in this type of study. This is exactly what we do with Shakespeare, for example--analyze his "art" in historical context. Whether Shakespeare intended all of the possible connections is, ultimately, irrelevent. Television and film, as a modern art form, can be examined in the same way. This book is a fine example of such analysis. Greene is a talented young writer and I look forward to more of his work.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve Reina on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
As far back as Aesop, the creative community has realized that talking animals can be especially effective surrogates for making social commentary. This book is an extensive treatment of this issue and therefore is especially for those interested in the mythical and social aspects of the Planet of the Apes series. Needless to say, if you want to know more about the movies as movies or you're interested in an apes price guide, you should probably look elsewhere. However, those looking here will not be disappointed with Greene's spot on ability to weave social analysis from the various naunces of the apes movies.

From 1968 to 1975 the apes series produced five movies and two separate television series. This is a very prodigious production rate commensurate with the series' ability to key into the American psyche. Much like the Simpsons today, the apes series gave its writing staff a chance to touch on issues like the war in Vietnam and race relations from an artistically safe vantage point. Like our fast food the Planet of the Apes series was a uniquely American foray into the land of Aesop. It was, perhaps our American "Animal Farm."
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David M. Monroe (monroe@mpm.edu) on June 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Eric Greene's Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture began its publishing history in 1996 as the finest offering to date of the small but noteworthy American Studies publishers, McFarland. Apparently, this did not escape the attention of the somewhat less small, even more noteworthy Wesleyan University Press (which has, among other things, an exceptional line in popular music studies going), who have kindly made Greene's excellent study of the vicissitudes of race across the Planet of the Apes oeuvre not only more widely available, but, in a new paperback edition, more affordable as well, though adding only a useful introduction by Wesleyan's own Richard Slotkin. Greene's brilliant, thoroughgoing analysis follows the shifting role of race in the films, television series, and even comic books inspired by Pierre Boulle's satiric novel, Planete de les singes, in light of their contexts in the shifting discourses and politics of the Civil Rights and Black Nationalist movements of the 60's and 70's. Interestingly, perhaps only Boulle's originary novel gets short shrift here, albeit undersatndably, as it was the American adaptations which explicitly layered the factor of race on Boulle's ostensibly more general social satire. Greene also reminds us that The Planet of the Apes generated the sort of transmedia merchandising phenomena more generally believed to have begun with Star Wars. An essential work for Apes fans and media students alike ...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Smith on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Movies are, more often than not, more of a comment on the times in which they were made than the times they represent. Rod Serling and Michael Wilson established their incredible careers writing stories about how human beings treat one another. So it's no coincidence that the futuristic Planet of the Apes films reflect the turbulent times in which they were written and produced - the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the height of the civl rights movement and the dawn of the Black power movement there was alot to say about how people treated other people with different colored skin. And while there are certainly other social issues being addressed in the Apes films, Greene has placed his finger squarely on the pulse of, perhaps, the major ideological force behind the films and their popularity. And he does so with a great sense of what makes a book of this sort entertaining as well as informative. I found the pacing to be excellent and the presentation far from dry. This is no textbook or dusty college paper! In fact, Greene educates and illuminates while giving lots of juicy stories, interviews, and backstage politics. He insightfully diagnoses each film for its symbolic content (both subtle and blatant) and for my money, he's spot on - from the casting of Charlton Heston in "Planet", to the use of School busses in "Battle." It has increased my enjoyment of the films many-fold. Read the book, then watch the films again and you will experience Planet of the Apes with a fresh perspective - one you haven't had since the first time you saw them. Personally, I am glad someone took the time to write about a body of work that means so much to so many people. I look forward to the update after Tim Burton's version debuts.
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