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Hollywood and the Holocaust


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Henry Gonshak is professor of English at Montana Tech, where he teaches Holocaust Studies. His writings on the Holocaust, Israel, and Jewish-American culture have appeared in two book collections, New Perspectives on the Holocaust: A Guide for Teachers and Scholars and The Burdens of History: Post Holocaust Generations in Dialogue, as well as in a variety of publications, including Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, The American Jewish Congress Monthly, Response: A Contemporary Jewish Review, The Journal of American Culture and Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice.


Gonshak is responsible in debating his predecessor critics and eloquent in meditating on the ethical responsibilities of those who produce Hollywood films. Even though Gonshak is flexible in his aesthetics-comedy can work, historical accuracy is not necessarily required-most Hollywood films (which here include X-Men, 2000) do not have anything substantial to say about the Holocaust. Hollywood veers too often toward kitsch, and in his conclusion the author expresses the wish that Hollywood could learn from the more substantial Holocaust documentaries and fiction films produced in Europe. Insdorf discussed both Hollywood and European films, which ultimately makes for a more satisfying project. Yet Gonshak's selection allows each film more depth, and he takes full advantage of this opportunity by staging one scrupulously crafted discussion after another. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. * CHOICE *
Hollywood and the Holocaust offers an important look at Hollywood's ongoing representations of the Holocaust aimed at a general readership not usually addressed by volumes on this subject. * Dillon Tribune *
By what standards should we judge films about the Holocaust? That's the provocative question that hangs over Hollywood and the Holocaust by Henry Gonshak, an English professor at Montana Tech. In examining older films, Gonshak rightly puts them in the context of their times. . . . In joining the growing shelf of books on the subject of the Holocaust and movies, Gonshak offers some insights as to how far we've come. * The Jewish Advocate *

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