Originally published 09/26/2013
The much-hyped book is under fire from film critics and film historians.
Originally published 08/07/2013
Ben Urwand has apparently done what no historian has previously been able to do: Draw not just one but many substantial links between 1930s Hollywood and the Nazi Germany regime of Adolf Hitler.Urwand's revelations were first revealed in a June issue of online monthly Tablet. According to The New York Times, "that the German government meddled in the film industry during Hollywood's so-called golden age has long been known to film historians ... But Mr. Urwand, 35, offers the most stinging take by far, drawing on material from German and American archives to argue that the relationship between Hollywood and the Third Reich ran much deeper — and went on much longer — than any scholar has so far suggested."...
Originally published 07/18/2013
Alexander C. Kafka is deputy managing editor of The Chronicle Review.A debate is raging over Hollywood's alleged collusion with the Nazis. At stake: the moral culpability of Jewish studio heads during cinema's golden age.The catalyst is a forthcoming book from Harvard University Press, The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler, by the 35-year-old historian Ben Urwand. The book is still several months from publication, but emotions are running high after an early review in the online magazine Tablet, followed by an exchange of rhetorical fire in The New York Times between Urwand and Thomas Doherty, a professor of American studies at Brandeis University who this spring published his own account of the era, Hollywood and Hitler: 1933-1939 (Columbia University Press). The clash comes during a period of heightened scholarly attention to Nazi infiltration and counterinfiltration in Depression-era Los Angeles, complicating the story of Hollywood's stance toward fascism.
Originally published 06/13/2013
Adolf Hitler loved American movies. Every night at about 9:00, after the Führer had tired out his listeners with his hours-long monologues, he would lead his dinner guests to his private screening room. The lights would go down, and Hitler would fall silent, probably for the first time that day. He laughed heartily at his favorites Laurel and Hardy and Mickey Mouse, and he adored Greta Garbo: Camille brought tears to the Führer’s eyes. Tarzan, on the other hand, he thought was silly.As it turns out, Hitler’s love for American movies was reciprocated by Hollywood. A forthcoming book by the young historian Ben Urwand, to be published by Harvard University Press in October, presents explosive new evidence about the shocking extent of the partnership between the Nazis and major Hollywood producers. Urwand, a former indie rock musician and currently a member of Harvard’s prestigious Society of Fellows, takes the subject personally: His parents were Jewish refugees from Egypt and Hungary. Digging through archives in Berlin and Washington, D.C., he has unearthed proof that Hollywood worked together with the Nazis much more closely than we ever imagined.
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