Monday, February 18, 2013

What is Jim Cullen reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Jim Cullen, author of Sensing the Past: Hollywood Stars and Historical Visions.

His entry begins:
Sometimes you choose books; other times they choose you. Right now I’m reading T.J. Stiles’s The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. I backed into the book, which I’ve just started, in a funny way. Aware of its good reviews, I made a mental note of it at the time of its publication in 2009, though I never got around to it. A couple of years ago, I was at the book exhibit at an Organization of American Historians meeting, where the publisher of the paperback edition (Vintage) was giving away copies. But I was put off by the size of the book—it clocks in over 700 rather large pages – and the limits of what I could lug as carry-on baggage for my flight home the next day. I finally...[read on]
About Sensing the Past, from the publisher:
How do perceptions of the past--not just of particular events, but of the trajectory of history as a whole--shape our experience of the world? Sensing the Past tackles this question with an unlikely source of historical insight--the work of six major Hollywood stars: Clint Eastwood, Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Jodie Foster. By focusing on the career choices made by these iconic actors, Cullen uncovers a discrete set of historical narratives, revealing the surprising ways historical forces shape our understanding of the world.
Learn more about Sensing the Past at the Oxford University Press website, and visit Jim Cullen's American History Now blog.

Jim Cullen teaches history at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. He is the author of The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation, Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition, and other books. Cullen is also a book review editor at the History News Network.

The Page 99 Test: Sensing the Past.

Writers Read: Jim Cullen.

--Marshal Zeringue