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April 06 , 2010

Movies as History

Scenes of America, 1930-1970


Popular movies can enhance the study of history. A dominant form of entertainment throughout the 20th century, they can serve as nontraditional primary sources and offer remarkable opportunities to observe attitudes about social concerns, gender or racial issues, politics, and historical events that were current when the movies were made. This book is a topical guide for educators, providing detailed analysis of 35 movies, followed by discussion questions that will help students interpret how each movie's content and themes reflect the times when it was made. The book covers four main topics: the Great Depression, World War II, the early years of the Cold War, and the changing expectations and images of women in movies from 1930 to 1970. An historical overview chronicles how each topic was treated in movies from that time period. The movies should have wide appeal in grades 7 through 12 and can help students learn to think more critically about the images and messages that appear in popular media today.

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