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New Books Reality Fictions: The Films ofFrederick Wiseman. Thomas W. Benson and Carolyn Anderson, Southern Illinois University Press, 1989. 405 pages. ISBN 0-8093-1364-2. $45.00. What were Wiseman and his cameramen (there have been four of them) intending to accomplish in his films? How did production circumstances such as the politics of PBS or the legal concerns regarding the identification of people who appear in the more sensitive ones influence the message? These questions, often ignored in current film studies scholarship oriented toward audience reception, are central to this book. Wiseman's documentaries on American institutions have the potential for special value to the historian. Any scholar who turns to study American military training, the day to day experience of public welfare administration, or the pressures involved in maintaining nuclear readiness must see his Basic Training (1970), Welfare (1974) or Missile (1988). This book provides background on the entire body of Wiseman's work and his method that are essential for getting the most from the filmmaker's insight. Recommended. From Hitler to Heimat: The Return of History as Film. Anton Kaes. Harvard University Press, 1989. 272 pages. ISBN 0-674-32455-2. $25.00. A Berkeley-based professor of German literature, Anton Kaes analyses five films that address recent German history: Hitler, A Filmfrom Germany; The Marriage ofMaria Braun; The Patriot; Germany, Pale Mother; and Heimat. Each film is challenging and provocative in its own right, but all concentrate on evoking the sense of the time in Germany before, during and after the Nazi period. The book's focus is on "memory, representation, and the dialogue between past and present." Kaes uses the tools of cinema and cultural criticism to deal with these issues effectively. The book will be especially useful to people looking for practical examples of the relevance of critical theory and literary analysis to their work as historians. Recommended. 72 ...


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