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The Book of Westerns

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0826408181
ISBN-10: 0826408184
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Editorial Reviews


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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum Intl Pub Group (Sd) (January 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826408184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826408181
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,793,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Muzzlehatch VINE VOICE on January 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
First of all, as I allude to in my title, this is not - and does not pretend to be - a comprehensive history of the western film. The book is self-limited to American-made westerns produced between 1939 - a year that saw many great and important examples of the genre - and 1994 when the book was being written (it was published in 1996). It deals for the most part with serious "A" westerns - the singing cowboy material of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry among others, the serials, and parody/comic westerns are for the most part ignored or mentioned only in passing. And it is an academic study, written by a variety of mostly university professors who have studied the western in literature and film - not necessarily those who are well-versed in the whole of cinema or in popular culture. Some of the book can be rather difficult and strong on jargon, so be warned.

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)
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