Inside the Lost Museum; Curating, Past and Present by Steven Lubar. Harvard University Press, 2017. How museum collections and special displays live but then die. Here is a story of a nineteenth-century museum of natural history, anthropology, and curiosities that disappeared but has been resembled.
Warner Bros; The Making of an American Movie Studio by David Thomson. Yale University Press, 2017. Four immigrant brothers who arrived in Hollywood as unschooled Jewish immigrants and their transformation of movie-making.
Franz Liszt; Musician, Celebrity, Superstar by Oliver Hilmes & Stewart Spencer. Yale University Press, 2018 paper. Perhaps Europe’s first superstar, this Hungarian performer and composer toured extensively to sold-out audiences. He was also a womanizer and wouldn’t have managed his career so well had there been a celebrity press.
A Rift in the Earth; Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial by James Reston, Jr. Arcade, 2017. The cultural war that raged around this powerful tribute to Vietnam veterans.
No Way But This; In Search of Paul Robeson by Jeff Sparrow. Scribe, 2018. Football player turned superstar; singer, Hollywood actor, and social activist. This is a tale of political commitment, heritage, and trauma.
Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex by Haidee Hasson & Lee Grieveson. University of California Press, 2018 paper. The WWII military turned to the American film industry for training films, on to propaganda, and ultimately to helping with the mobilization of the home front.
The Cowboy and the Senorita; A Biography of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans by Chris Eoss & Howard Kazanjian. TwoDot, 2017 paper. They kept us interested but never convinced us that we were seeing anything of the true American west.
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy by Kathryn Fuller-Seeley. University of California Press, 2017 paper. A weekly situation comedy on radio, with its huge demands on writers and performers to meet those weekly deadlines.