J. Hoberman’s ninth book takes us through one of Hollywood’s least-celebrated, most interesting periods (1946–56), and doubles as a history of postwar America itself: It’s a meticulous rendering of an often-misremembered time.
The author—who writes for The Village Voice and London Review of Books—is especially interested in the industry’s response to the Cold War: He looks at the blacklist, Joe McCarthy, and the “Red Menace” as well as John Wayne, Anthony Mann, and Marilyn Monroe. (An Army of Phantoms is the follow-up to Hoberman’s excellent book on 1960s cinema, The Dream Life, and the second volume in a planned trilogy.) He also delves deeply into specific films and genres—Hoberman’s a trenchant critic—and some of his close readings are revelatory.
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