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Blatt, Martin H., Thomas J. Brown, and Donald Yacovone. Hope & Glory. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2001.
This book examines the lasting influence of the most famous black military unit of the Civil War. Bringing together the best new research on the history of the 54th, the formation of collective memory and identity, and the ways Americans have responded to the story of the first black regiment, Hope and Glory does an exceptional job at examining the roles of race and society in the United States through history, literature, art, music, and popular culture.
Bungert, Heike. "Glory and the Experience of African-American Soldiers in the Civil War: An Attempt at Historical Film Analysis." Amerikastudien/American Studies 40.2 (1995): 271-82.
Bungert analyzes Glory and the PBS video The 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry in an attempt to show that films are worthy of scholarly attention and also help shape our historical consciousness. Bungert organizes her essay into six sections: 1)why film analysis is a worthy endeavor; 2)a richly detailed account of the historical experience of blacks during the Civil War; 3)a summary of the Glory plot structure, highlighting instances that serve to "weld together the black soldiers and their white officers," with a focus on Trip and his evolution from an "angry black man" to a symbol of reconciliation; 4) an interpretation of Glory -- that is, what message the film sends, providing a balanced assessment of the choices made by the filmmakers, characterizing some as understandable and beneficial but concluding that others are intended to convey a mythological national and racial unity; 5) a section discussing the positives and negatives of the PBS video made in response to Glory, which was intended to be from the black perspective; 6) assertion that the film demonstrates the black desire to recover their history and the dual white desire to reconcile blacks into the dominant WASP determined ideology and, increasingly, to acknowledge black contributions to history. Ultimately, as Bungert sees it, the film is intended to serve as an antidote to the "disuniting of America."
Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War. New York: Knopf, 2001.
Chadwick's book takes an in-depth look at how more than 800 Civil War films have sculpted an inaccurate image of "gallant soldiers, beautiful belles, sprawling plantations, and docile or dangerous slaves." To achieve a greater understanding of the Civil War, Chadwick tackles significant issues such as slavery and racial injustice. The chapter featuring Glory, which also includes analysis of Gettysburg, gives director Ed Zwick and the film high praise for not only using such accurate battle scene portrayals, but for confidently tackling the controversial and previously unmentioned topic of African-Americans in the Civil War.
Cullen, Jim. The Civil War in Popular Culture. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995.
Popular cultural works draw from common myths and then re-affirm those myths; sometimes they may alter the interpretation, other times overthrow them for new interpretations. Cullen's view is that we are still affected daily by the impact of the Civil War, and it is important to understand how it has shaped our knowledge today. Glory's highlighted chapter titled "A Few Good Men," compliments the film, calling it "a search for a just war," and "a story of how a black regiment and its white officers challenged history, racism and the fortunes of war." Cullen goes on to state the importance of Glory, saying that the film not only depicted a cause worth dying for, but also one worth killing for, making the film more complicated.
McCrisken, Trevor, and Andrew Pepper. "Hollywood's Civil War dilemma: to imagine or unravel the nation?" American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2005. 64-88.
McCrisken and Pepper counter the assessment of some other historians (e.g. McPherson and Rosenstone) by arguing that the choices made by the filmmakers in terms of fact versus fiction created a film that ultimately did not differ materially from the old-fashioned "meta-narrative" of Civil War or American history. The authors do credit the film for popularizing a little known event in U.S. history and for nominally critiquing the ethnocentric meta-narrative of U.S. history, but they also argue that choices such as emphasizing the perspective of Shaw, using no real black soldiers as characters, replacing the son of Frederick Douglass with an Irish Drill Sergeant, and ending the film with a close up of Shaw's memorial (with faceless black soldiers below him) serve to contain divisive racial differences and incorporate them into a story of national reconciliation not much different than the narrative of the Civil War. As McCrisken and Pepper see it, the only character who recognizes this is Trip, who distrusts Shaw, refuses to carry the flag (until being "redeemed"), and is keenly aware that he and Shaw do not have the same interests.
McPherson, James M. "Glory." Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies. Ed. Mark C. Carnes. New York: Holt, 1995.
McPherson calls Glory "one of the most powerful and historically accurate movies ever made about the war," and claims that "The portrayal of [the attack on Fort Wagner] is the most realistic combat footage in any Civil War movie." McPherson provides a succinct yet informative history of the Fifth-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, including their relationship to the war effort and significant effect on the feelings of dignity and pride among former slaves and free blacks. McPherson does list some historical inaccuracies (e.g. the soldiers were not mostly escaped slaves, many dramatic incidents are fictional), and does mildly lament that real characters were not used (such as the sons of Frederick Douglass), but argues that the fictions are in service of telling a story that is broader than that of the Fifty-fourth. As McPherson sees it, "[T]he story that producer Freddie Fields, director Edward Zwick, and screenwriter Kevin Jarre chose to tell is not simply about the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts but about blacks in the Civil War." McPherson concludes by hoping that Glory will replace Gone with the Wind as "America's cinematic version of the Civil War."
Poole, W. Scott. "'Ain't Nobody Clean': Glory! and the Politics of Black Agency." Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain. Ed. David B. Sachsman et al. West Lafayette: Purdue UP, 2007. 261-68.
Poole offers a rather negative critique of the film. Much of the essay focuses on the breaking of Trip –- that is, his evolution from an angry black man to a flag-waving charging soldier. Poole applauds the film for the character of Thomas, who brought the issue of class into the discussion of the antebellum African American. Poole concedes that the film does show the viewer a Trip that can begin angry and unpredictable only to eventually learn to channel his anger. On the other hand, Trip's anger at "whiteness," instead of the slaveholding South (which Poole argues is anachronistic), necessitates that he be broken down in order to plausibly explain his actions at the end of the film. This could have been avoided by using accurate details (the 54th were mostly free northern blacks). Not only is this a case where the history is more interesting than the film, but it demonstrates an unwillingness "to make a Civil War film that not only is full of black men but is in a real sense about black men."
Roquemore, Joseph. History Goes to the Movies. Garden City: Doubleday, 1999.
Similar to the vein of Cullen's and Chadwick's accounts, Roquemore reiterates the importance of our awareness that Hollywood can distort history and our views of actual events. The brief coverage of Glory compliments the film for its "hard-hitting account of the 54th Regiment, despite ample factual slippage."
Rosenstone, Robert. Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to Our Idea of History. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1995. 72-76.
Rosenstone argues that while Mississippi Burning uses "false" invention (ignores the discourse of history), Glory uses "true" invention (engages the discourse of history). After briefly criticizing the former, Rosenstone outlines four strategies of invention utilized by Glory that enabled the film to fictionalize while engaging the discourse of history: alteration, compression (of black characters), invention, and metaphor. Rosenstone chronicles how the filmmakers stayed true to the discourse of history (revealed a greater historical truth) and provides examples of each strategy. He concludes by mentioning that a main area of historical criticism may be the end of the film, in which Shaw and Trip are buried in a ditch in a near embrace, the implication of which is that racial problems were fixed by the 54th and the Civil War.
Stoddard, Jeremy D., and Alan Marcus. "The Burden of Historical Representation: Race, Freedom, and 'Educational' Hollywood Film." Film and History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies 36.1 (2006): 26-35.
Stoddard and Marcus, both former teachers, write this essay largely in response to their finding that high school history teachers use the films Glory and Amistad quite consistently and often show the entire film. They argue that the "burden of historical representation" is greater when films are portraying the historical agency of groups that are traditionally marginalized in most history curricula and high school history textbooks. Considering the underrepresentation of these groups in traditional classroom sources, the films may represent a major portion of what students learn about the role of African Americans in U.S. history. As such, they attempt to answer the question of whether or not those films meet that "burden of historical representation." Stoddard and Marcus discuss the promises and perils of using these films in the classroom and conclude that these films do not meet the strict burden when examined alone, and they provide suggestions for teachers wishing to use these films.
Vera, Hernan, and Andrew M. Gordon. Screen Savior. Totowa: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
Vera and Gordon take a different view from other Glory critics. In line with the title of their book, the authors find persistent misrepresentations of the ideal white American self as powerful, brave, generous, and natural-born leaders. In the eye of these authors, no apparent racial progress is attained in the fifty years that separate Glory from Gone with the Wind. The main character in the film Glory, Robert Gould Shaw is extolled as a flawless persona while the four main black characters, who were degradingly fictionalized, earned nothing more than stereotypes ranging from "Uncle Tom" and "the rural hick" to "the Wild Tom."

See Also

Barrett, Jenny. Shooting the Civil War: Cinema, History and American National Identity. New York: Distributed by Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Bogle, Donald. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. New York: Continuum, 1994.

Cameron, Kenneth M. America on Film. New York: Continuum, 1997.

Carr, Robert. "From Glory to Menace II Society: African American Subalternity and the Ungovernability of the Democratic Impulse under Super-Capitalist Orders." The Latin American Subaltern Studies Reader. Ed. Ileana Rodríguez. Durham: Duke UP, 2001. 227-40.

Correll, Barbara. "Rem(a)inders of G(l)ory: Monuments and Bodies in Glory and In the Year of the Pig." Cultural Critique 19 (Fall 1991): 141-77.

Cripps, Thomas. Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film, 1900-1942. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.

Eberwein, Robert. The War Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2005.

Eberwine, Robert. The Hollywood War Film. Malden: Wiley, 2010.

Gallagher, Gary W. Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood & Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2008.

Hansen, Chadwick. "The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Black Infantry as a Subject for American Artists." Massachusetts Review 15 (1975): 745-59.

Haspel, Paul. "Antietam, James Island, and Fort Wagner: The Battle Sequences in Edward Zwick's Glory." Studies in Popular Culture 30.1 (2007): 65-85.

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Marcus, Alan S., Scott Alan Metzger, et al. Teaching History with Film: Strategies for Secondary Social Studies. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Marcus, Lois Goldreich. "'The Shaw Memorial' by Augustus Saint-Gaudens: A History Painting in Bronze." Winterthur Portfolio 14 (Spring 1979): 1-24.

Price, Stuart. "American Mentality? Trauma, Imperialism and the Authentic Veteran in Mainstream Hollywood Narrative." Journal of Media Practice 6.2 (2005): 83-91.

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Sachsman, David B. Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain. West Lafayette: Purdue UP, 2007.

Savage, Kirk. Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in 19th-Century America. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1997.

Toplin, Robert Brent. History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1996.

Toplin, Robert Brent. Reel History: In Defense of Hollywood. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 2002.

Wills, Brian Steel. Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield: 2007.