An Army of Phantoms

American Movies and the Making of the Cold War (The New Press, 2011)




Andrew Hultkranz, Bookforum: “It’s always good to revisit the cold war to remind yourself that, despite an orgy of supporting evidence, you’re not living through the most fucked-up period in American history. As J. Hoberman’s factually dense, swiftly narrated history of Hollywood’s symbiosis with the atomic-age body politic makes clear, the cold war was, pace our current moment, the third great battle over the nation’s identity and purpose, trailing only the Revolutionary and Civil Wars in significance.


Steven J. Ross, Los Angeles Review of Books:  “J. Hoberman, the Village Voice’s longtime movie critic, raises the question of what it meant during the Cold War years to be a patriotic American, and in particular what it meant for the movies.”


Akiva Gottleib. The National: “Should one historicise mid-century patriotic mythmaking and fearmongering as “entertainment as propaganda or propaganda as entertainment?” asks J Hoberman, by way of introducing his wildly entertaining historical survey.”


JC Gabel, Time Out Chicago: “Hoberman is a gifted film and cultural critic, making this dense, nearly 350-page character study of America’s post-WWII paranoia essential reading for any Cold War aficionado and classic movie fan.”


Jon Weiner, Dissent: “The blacklist throws a shadow over everything here, following the House Un-American Activities Committee’s first hearings in Hollywood in 1947. It’s been the subject of many other books, of course, most notably Victor Navasky’s Naming Names, on friendly witnesses and the reasons they gave for cooperating. But Hoberman goes much deeper into the tremendous effect the blacklist had on American films…

“Culture Workers of Cold War Hollywood”