- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Continuum Intl Pub Group (January 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826408184
- ISBN-13: 978-0826408181
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,784,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Book of Westerns
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Almost thirty essays from leading critics explore how the Western genre has been influenced by changing social and cultural themes and concerns. It's unusual to see a critical survey of a genre devoted to mostly light writing and reading: this casts a serious light on the evolution of the Western and its changing approaches. -- Midwest Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The chapters for the most part are devoted to one film or one director, or in a couple of cases, an actor. There are several chapters that deal with the films of John Ford, the single most important of all directors who worked regularly in the genre; the longest chapter is devoted to the westerns of Delmer Daves, a relatively neglected figure much of whose work is still not readily available in decent copies for home viewing.
A chapter listing will probably give the reader a good idea as to whether this book might be of value; the author of each piece is in parentheses:
INTRODUCTION - Criticism and the Western (Douglas Pye)
COUNTRY MUSIC AND THE 1939 WESTERN - From Hillbillies to Cowboys (Peter Stanfield)
A BETTER SENSE OF HISTORY - John Ford and the Indians (Richard Maltby)
WHY DO COWBOYS WEAR HATS IN THE BATH? - Style Politics for the Older Man (Martin Pomphrey)
SOCIAL CLASS AND THE WESTERN AS MALE MELODRAMA (David Lusted)
JOHN WAYNE'S BODY (Deborah Thomas)
THE DIETRICH WESTERNS - Destry Rides Again and Rancho Notorious (Florence Jacobowitz)
METHOD WESTERNS - The Left-Handed Gun and One-Eyed Jacks (Jonathan Bignell)
GENRE AND HISTORY - Fort Apache and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Douglas Pye)
THE WESTERNS OF DELMER DAVES (Michael Walker)
A TIME AND A PLACE - Budd Boetticher and the Western (Mike Dibb)
THE COLLAPSE OF FANTASY - Masculinity in the Westerns of Anthony Mann (Douglas Pye)
DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (Robin Wood)
DODGE CITY (Charles Barr)
DUEL IN THE SUN - The Destruction of an Ideological System (Robin Wood)
NOTES ON PURSUED (Andrew Britton)
WESTWARD THE WOMEN - Feminizing the Wilderness (Peter William Evans)
SHANE THROUGH FIVE DECADES (Bob Baker)
JOHNNY GUITAR (V.E. Perkins)
DOUBLE VISION - Miscegenation and Point of View in The Searchers (Douglas Pye)
HELLER IN PINK TIGHTS (Richard Lippe)
NOT WITH A BANG - The End of the West in Lonely are the Brave, The Misfits and Hud (Edward Gallafent)
HOW THE WEST WAS WON - History, Spectacle and the American Mountains (Sheldon Hall)
ULZANA'S RAID (Douglas Pye)
PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (Brad Stevens)
CLASS FRONTIERS - The View from Heaven's Gate (Brian Woolland)
DANCES WITH WOLVES (Michael Walker)
UNFORGIVEN (Leighton Grist)
FOUR TOMBSTONES 1946-1994 (Edward Gallafent)
As you might surmise, much of the discussion on these films - and the choices of the films themselves - reflects feminist perspective, issues of gender and racial sensitivity, sex, etc. I wouldn't say the book derives from any specific political agenda, but I think it's safe to say that most of the writers here would be considered to the left of James Stewart and John Wayne without question. Most of them are also British, as are the editors - the book was first published in the UK - so the perspective is often more distanced and measured than you might find in the work of American writers.
The most valuable chapters to me thus far have been those on Boetticher - too short by far though - Mann, Dietrich, and the first several chapters. The later chapters, focused as they are usually on a specific film and with a specific agenda, aren't as interesting. But I'm still going back to this book regularly, and will read the chapter on Daves in particular more carefully when I've managed to see more of his films.
There are many really terrific, well-chosen stills accompanying the text (all in black-and-white), and a good index. Well-bound and a physically attractive book as well, at least in the dustjacketed hardcover edition I have. A very valuable book then for the serious western devotee interested in meatier critical essays on the subject; not something for the casual reader, certainly, and not for those who would like to see a critic's politics secondary, or absent, from their film reading.