An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War

J. Hoberman (Author)


Acclaimed by the Los Angeles Review of Books as "the most detailed year-by-year look at Hollywood during the first decade of the Cold War ever published, one that takes film analysis beyond the screen and sets it in its larger political context," An Army of Phantoms is a "delightful" and "amazing" (Dissent) work of film history and cultural criticism by J. Hoberman, one of the foremost film critics writing today, addressing the dynamic synergy of American politics and American popular culture.

By "tell[ing] the story not just of what's on the screen but what played out behind it" (The American Scholar), Hoberman orchestrates a colorful, sometimes surreal pageant wherein Cecil B. DeMille rubs shoulders with Douglas MacArthur, atomic tests are shown on live TV, God talks on the radio, and Joe McCarthy is bracketed with Marilyn Monroe. From cavalry Westerns, apocalyptic sci-fi flicks, and biblical spectaculars, movies to media events, congressional hearings and political campaigns, An Army of Phantoms "remind[s] you what criticism is supposed to be: revelatory, reflective and as rapturous as the artwork itself" (Time Out New York).

Product Details

$22.99  $21.15
New Press
Publish Date
September 04, 2012
5.5 X 1.1 X 8.1 inches | 1.05 pounds
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About the Author

J. Hoberman is the author, co-author, or editor of a dozen books, including The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties (The New Press) and Film After Film (Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?). He has written for Artforum, Bookforum, the London Review ofBooks, The Nation, the New York Review of Books, and the New York Times; has taught cinema history at Cooper Union since 1990; and was, for over thirty years, a film critic for the Village Voice. He lives in New York.


"Utterly compulsive reading ... There's something majestic about the reach of Hoberman's ambitions ... An Army of Phantoms may prove to be the definitive text on its subject."
--Film Comment

"An energetic and adventurous book ... scholarly, even encyclopedic, yet written occasionally in a style akin to the Hush-Hush columns of L.A. Confidential."
--London Review of Books

"A welcome acknowledgment of how complicated the story of one particular period really is."
--National Review

"An epic: an alternately fevered and measured account of what might be called the primal scene of American cinema."

"An important, overflowing and often compelling study of movie history ... Smartly conceived, and its richness defies capture in a book review."