To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics Hardcover – October 21, 2013
|New from||Used from|
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Barry Goldwater, Jr, former United States Congressman
"Hollywood wasn't always a stronghold of the political Left. Back in the days after World War II, many movie moguls and movie stars - Louis B. Mayer, Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, John Wayne, George Murphy - worked to revitalize the Republican Party. Donald Critchlow tells the exciting story of how they did, and how they helped elect Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan president."
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and co-author, The Almanac of American Politics
"While liberal movie stars vociferously proclaim that the blacklisted Hollywood Ten were innocent of any wrongdoing, Donald T. Critchlow presents the opposite view starting from the Great Depression and ending with the presidential election of Ronald Reagan. Written judiciously with passion and verve, this volume should be standard reading ..."
Irwin F. Gellman, Franklin and Marshall College, and author of Secret Affairs, The Contender, and The President and the Apprentice
"Few people have more insightful things to say about modern politics than the historian Donald Critchlow. Now Critchlow has focused his keen political and historical skills on Hollywood. The result is a provocative, smart, original, and entertaining book that should be required reading for all students of American politics and popular culture."
Steven M. Gillon, Scholar-in-Residence, The History Channel
"Don Critchlow has done it again. When Hollywood Was Right is the most comprehensive and detailed account of an epic that is too often told in black and white cartoonish tones. Critchlow captures the paradoxes of how the left-right clashes of the mid-twentieth century affected Hollywood, in many cases for the better. This fine-grained narrative, brimming with new detail Critchlow has unearthed from unused archives, leaves us wondering what is being lost in today's almost monolithically leftist Hollywood."
Steven Hayward, Thomas Smith Distinguished Fellow, Ashland University
"This incisive, first-rate study is based on extensive archival research. When Hollywood Was Right masterfully tells how anticommunism drove film industry executives, directors, and stars, allied with business leaders, to remake the Republican Party in California after World War II. As Professor Donald T. Critchlow astutely argues, the result had national implications. These conservatives backed Richard Nixon and ultimately put one of their own, Ronald Reagan, in the White House."
William J. Rorabaugh, University of Washington, and author of The Real Making of the President: Kennedy, Nixon, and the 1960 Election
"Donald Critchlow's When Hollywood Was Right helps puncture the myth that Hollywood has always been an unopposed bastion of liberalism. Surveying Hollywood's political landscape from the 1930s to 1980, Critchlow deftly reveals how Republican movie stars, studio moguls, and Southern California business leaders worked together to rebuild their party and help launch a conservative revolution that transformed the shape of American politics."
Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California, and author of Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics
"The stories Critchlow tells are fascinating in their own right. From a broader perspective, they also help inform our understanding of the complicated pathways by which some major American institutions - the film industry, journalism, academia - have, over time, come to tilt further to the left (not uniformly, as the book makes clear), while other institutions - religion, law, corporate America and the GOP itself - have come to lean further to the right."
Neil Gross, salon.com
"The idea of an era in which Hollywood exerted a substantial influence in Republican politics seems almost science fictional ... When Hollywood Was Right offers an insightful examination of just such a strange proposition."
"Critchlow goes beyond the production sets and screenplays. He shows how Hollywood actually aided the electoral prospects of Republican presidential candidates Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon."
The Weekly Standard
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The first third of the book details the HUAC and its impact on Hollywood. Much has been written about HUAC and this period in American history. The declassification of the Venona project makes me read about this period with a different perspective and I appreciate how Critchlow takes a careful and well-documented approach.
I especially liked the chapter on Nixon and his connection to Hollywood. Having had the opportunity to meet and talk with him in his New York office after he resigned in disgrace, I found his connection to Hollywood enlightening when thinking back on how he spoke about Reagan. When asked about Reagan’s chances of beating Jimmy Carter he said that there was more to Reagan than the public realized and that the actor had huge potential to win if he could convince the American people he was serious. Critchlow’s chapter was quite interesting and provided good context for why Nixon made those comments to me.
Finally, I never realized the extent of the clash between Reagan and Goldwater over the Panama Canal treaty.Read more ›
While Hollywood is primarily a very left-leaning town in terms of its political ideology, it wasn't always the case. What Critchlow successfully does is guide us through the journey the Republican/conservative ranks took through Hollywood from its inception, through FDR, the rise of Nixon and Goldwater, and the ultimate election of one of Hollywood's own, Ronald Reagan. It's a fantastic journey with all the requisite twists and turns for a story centered on Tinseltown.
After giving us a glimpse of the characters and a little background, the stage is set by the rise of FDR and democrats nationwide and the Hollywood blacklist. These two events put into a motion a series of events that would put republicans on the defensive. While Critchlow's style isn't as riveting as other historians, it is more than adequate to get through the book.
The book is well researched and Critchlow provides a wealth of footnotes. My biggest issue with the book is that it feels incomplete. At just over 200 pages there was plenty of room to bring the story up to present day. Hollywood's politics are as on display today as they've ever been, with the right leaning members of Hollywood forced to meet in private with their own group, The Friends of Abe, for fear of being blacklisted.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When FDR was president, the US was very polarized because of the New Deal. Some believed it was the key to ending the Depression, and others believed the government was over... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Samantha Glasser
This is a somewhat nuanced account of what used to be the Hollywood Right and why it has little power in the current era.Published 22 months ago by Mark R. Whittington
"When Hollywood Was Right" is a highly readable, well researched look into conservative stars in Hollywood in the post World War II period. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kevin Fontenot
When Hollywood Was Right by Donald T. Critchlow was an informative and well researched history. It held my interest and the author did a relatively good job writing it and putting... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Eric B. Borgman
After reading the blurbs and the title, I was surprised by how evenhanded this book was. Instead of being the conservative polemic I was expecting, it turned out to be a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by FredTownWard
As a fan of Ronald Reagan the cover of this book was an instant attraction. For me it was a good read because I am aware of how Hollywood has changed since the days of the good... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mary B. Steinsdoerfer
I have often been interested in the collusion of American politics and Hollywood. So much of recent political history has been either forgotten or ignored, that it is very easy to... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Narut Ujnat
I am not yet finished with this book, but my initial impressions are that the author has worked to keep this an objective history of the role of politics in Hollywood. Read morePublished 23 months ago by R. Dixon
WHEN HOLLYWOOD WAS RIGHT is an examination of the right wing (conservatism and the Republican Party) of politics in Hollywood from 1932-1980. Read morePublished 23 months ago by tvtv3