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Shooting Cowboys and Indians: Silent Western Films, American Culture, and the Birth of Hollywood; Cowboys as Cold Warriors: The Western and U.S. History

Book Reviews 395 Shooting Cowboys and Indians: Silent Western Films, American Culture, and the Birth of Hollywood. Andrew Brodie Smith. Boulder: Univ. Press of Colorado. 2003. viii, 230 pp. $34.95. Cowboys as Cold Warriors: The Western and U.S. History. Stanley Corkin. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press. 2004. viii, 273 pp. Cloth, $69.50; paper, $23.95. Westerns have been a perennial favorite of the U.S. movie industry and its audiences since the development of narrative cinema. Yet academics have generally dismissed the very early western, describing it as profit-driven, static, gimmicky, and sensational. In Shooting Cowboys and Indians, Andrew Brodie Smith challenges these simplistic characterizations of the genre. The first serious study to focus primarily on the silent-era western, Smith’s meticulously researched history focuses on the earliest years of narrative filmmaking, from its silent-picture origins in the 1890s to the birth of talking pictures in the 1920s. Using studio records, trade journals, and the films themselves, this book persuasively demonstrates how the history of silent-era westerns is inextricably linked to the genre’s evolution and the development of the film industry. Smith’s study contributes to knowledge of what Ann Fabian calls the ‘‘commercialization of the western past’’ and revises current thinking about http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Literature Duke University Press

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