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In this engaging and readable book, Peter Decherney tells the story of Hollywood, from its nineteenth-century origins to the emergence of internet media empires. He recounts how the studio system rose out of the ashes of Thomas Edison's trust to create the handful of companies that have dominated global screens and imaginations for more than 100 years. Throughout, he reveals that the elements we take to be a natural part of the Hollywood experience--stars, genre-driven storytelling, blockbuster franchises, etc.--are really the product of cultural, political, and commercial forces.
In many ways, Hollywood has remained the same for over a century. It has always been a global industry based in the U.S., and its storytelling has always unfolded across media, adapting plays, book, and comics and spinning off product tie-ins, television series, and social media campaigns. But major events have also continually remade Hollywood. The studios have weathered wars, disruptive new technologies, and competition by adopting a strategy of risk management and assimilation. This book explores the challenges of new technologies, including sound, home video, and computer graphics. And it examines Hollywood's responses to World War II, independent film movements, and regulations imposed by Washington.
Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction is filled with discussions of well-known movies, stars, and directors, encapsulating the past century of research on Hollywood while adding many original insights and stories. It is the perfect introduction for readers who want to better understand the history and functioning of our screen-saturated world.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Peter Decherney is Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author or editor of five books including Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet. Professor Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. He has received multiple teaching awards and is a Forbes.com contributor.