Although films rarely act as mirror reflections of everyday reality, they are, nevertheless, powerful cultural expressions of the dreams and desires of the American public. In the third edition of their seminal work, Leonard Quart and Albert Auster provide a complete post-World War II survey of American cinema and its often complex and contradictory values. From the self-confident affirmations of the immediate postwar era, through the social and cinematic turbulence of the sixties and seventies, to the darker, more pessimistic works of the nineties, America cinema has reflected and refracted American concerns.
While adhering to the chronological structure and critical premises of the previous editions, American Film and Society Since 1945, Third Edition, adds key analyses of post-Cold War and Clinton-era cinema. While films of the nineties evoked no single political or cultural current, their diversity provides a panoramic view of this most complicated time. Movies that reaffirmed American patriotism (Saving Private Ryan) and debunked its politics (Bulworth), explored life in the inner city (Boyz N the Hood), dealt with homosexuality (Philadelphia), women's issues (Thelma & Louise), suburbia (American Beauty), and sexuality (Eyes Wide Shut) add up to a decade as multifaceted as any that Quart and Auster have considered. No other work provides such an exhaustive and rigorous account of this parallel history of the United States. The breadth and depth of this latest edition will hold appeal for scholars, students, and general readers alike.