Thursday, November 15, 2012

What is M. Todd Bennett reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: M. Todd Bennett, author of One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II.

His entry begins:
My wife and I recently travelled to Japan for the first time, and we have been semi-obsessed with all things Japanese ever since. Dining at our neighborhood izakaya. Keeping an eye on the Nippon Professional Baseball league standings. (Go Ham Fighters!) And reading as much as we can about Japanese culture, history, and politics. As you may already have guessed, we are baseball fans – attending five, yes, five, NPB games in Tokyo, Hiroshima and suburban Osaka – and so our reading regimen included Robert Whiting’s You Gotta Have Wa, a journalistic account of the culture clash that has all too often occurred between the American athletes who play in the NPB and their Japanese hosts. Using baseball as a prism, Whiting writes that the game reveals a great deal about broader Japanese as well as American values, and he argues that those values have...[read on]
About One World, Big Screen, from the publisher:
World War II coincided with cinema's golden age. Movies now considered classics were created at a time when all sides in the war were coming to realize the great power of popular films to motivate the masses. Through multinational research, One World, Big Screen reveals how the Grand Alliance--Britain, China, the Soviet Union, and the United States--tapped Hollywood's impressive power to shrink the distance and bridge the differences that separated them. The Allies, M. Todd Bennett shows, strategically manipulated cinema in an effort to promote the idea that the United Nations was a family of nations joined by blood and affection.

Bennett revisits Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, Flying Tigers, and other familiar movies that, he argues, helped win the war and the peace by improving Allied solidarity and transforming the American worldview. Closely analyzing film, diplomatic correspondence, propagandists' logs, and movie studio records found in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the former Soviet Union, Bennett rethinks traditional scholarship on World War II diplomacy by examining the ways that Hollywood and the Allies worked together to prepare for and enact the war effort.
Learn more about One World, Big Screen at the the University of North Carolina Press website.

M. Todd Bennett is assistant professor of history at East Carolina University.

Writers Read: M. Todd Bennett.

--Marshal Zeringue