Related to: 'A Brief History of Walt Disney'

Robinson

A Brief History of Gangsters

Brian J. Robb
Authors:
Brian J. Robb

The romanticised American gangster of the Prohibition era has proved an enduringly popular figure. Even today, names like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano still resonate. Robb explores the histories of key figures, from gangs in the Old West, through Prohibition and the Great Depression, to the likes of John Gotti and Frank Lucas in the 1970s and 1980s. He also looks at the gangster in popular culture, in hit TV series such as Boardwalk Empire. Although the focus is strongly on the archetypal American gangster, Robb also examines gangsters around the world, including the infamous Kray twins in London, French crime kingpin Jacques Mesrine, the Mafia Dons of Sicily, and the rise of notorious Serbian and Albanian gangs. Infamous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly makes an appearance, as does Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, while other sections provide details of the Chinese Triads and the Yakuza in Japan. Robb also explores the gangster in popular culture, especially in film and television. Recent hit TV series such as The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire and blockbuster movies like Public Enemies and Gangster Squad show that the gangster is here to stay.

Sphere

The Shop Girls: Betty's Story

Ellee Seymour
Authors:
Ellee Seymour
Robinson

A Brief Guide To The Hunger Games

Brian J. Robb
Authors:
Brian J. Robb

A comprehensive and compelling guide to Suzanne Collins's bestselling young-adult, dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Already a publishing phenomenon to rival Harry Potter (over 50 million copies sold), there are three sequels to the 2012 blockbuster movie of The Hunger Games scheduled for release between 2013 and 2015; Mockingjay Part 1 is due to be released in November 2014. Robb explores the inspiration behind the books, the author, the themes and influences of the three books, the movie adaptations and their cultural impact, the books' legacy and spin-offs. Suzanne Collins has created a series of characters and situations that have struck a chord not only with the target audience of teenagers, but which have also drawn in adult readers, making the series second only to Harry Potter in National Public Radio's popular poll of the Top 100 Teen Novels.Inspired when flicking TV channels between a reality television entertainment show and news footage of the war in Iraq, author Suzanne Collins conceived The Hunger Games as a parable for teen life and a warning of a dystopian future. Her parable incorporates Greek myth, Roman history and American entertainment.As the daughter of a US Air Force Officer who served in the Vietnam War, Collins had a unique insight into military life. Starting in children's television on such shows as Clarissa Explains It All, Collins went on to write children's fiction in The Underland Chronicles (drawing inspiration from Alice in Wonderland) and the Charlie McButton illustrated books. However, it was The Hunger Games series that has changed her life, giving the author a series of New York Times bestsellers and seeing her listed as one of Time magazine's most influential people of 2010.Robb explores themes in The Hunger Games, and the influences and inspirations that lie behind the books, highlighting where Suzanne Collins has drawn on mythology and history, reshaping them to fit her universe. He also examines the characters and situations created in the book and how these have impacted on the books' largely teen readership. He also looks at reactions to the books from fans and critics, both acclaim and criticisms faced by the author. He takes a look at the creativity of the fans who have drawn on Collins' work for their own takes on the world of The Hunger Games.Robb chronicles the adaptation of The Hunger Games from acclaimed, best-selling novel to blockbusting film. With a script by Suzanne Collins herself, the film has made stars of Jennifer Lawrence as Collins' heroine Katniss Everdeen, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne. Following the making of the film, including quotes from the writer, director and stars, this chapter will examine the efforts taken to make a success of The Hunger Games on screen. It will also look at the cultural impact of the film and consider the critical reception it met upon release in March 2012.With three more movies scheduled (Catching Fire is due to be released in November 2013) and Mockingjay will be made into two films to be released in 2014 and 2015), Robb looks at the future of The Hunger Games series on screen, with an emphasis on the second film, Catching Fire.As with the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games novels and films have inspired a host of spin-offs and extensions, from games and comic books to merchandise and new tales within the same universe. This chapter looks at these extensions of The Hunger Games franchise and analyses the effect Suzanne Collins work has had on the wider field of teen fiction and blockbuster movie-making.

Sphere

The Shop Girls: Irene's Story

Ellee Seymour
Authors:
Ellee Seymour
Robinson

A Brief History of Superheroes

Brian J. Robb
Authors:
Brian J. Robb

A fascinating written exploration of the superhero phenomenon, from its beginnings in the depths of Great Depression to the blockbuster movies of today. For over 90 years, superheroes have been interrogated, deconstructed, and reinvented. In this wide-ranging study, Robb looks at the diverse characters, their creators, and the ways in which their creations have been reinvented for successive generations. Inevitably, the focus is on the United States, but the context is international, including an examination of characters developed in India and Japan in reaction to the traditional American hero. Sections examine: the birth of the superhero, including Superman, in 1938; the DC family (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Justice Society/League of America), from the 1940s to the 1960s; the superheroes enlistment in the war effort in the 1940s and 50s; their neutering by the Comics Code; the challenge to DC from the Marvel family (The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The X-Men), from the 1960s to the 1980s; the superhero as complex anti-hero; superheroes deconstructed in the 1980s (The Watchmen and Frank Miller's Batman), and their politicization; independent comic book creators and new publishers in the 1980s and 90s; superheroes in retreat, and their rebirth at the movies in blockbusters from Batman to Spider-Man and The Avengers.

Robinson

A Brief Guide to Star Wars

Brian J. Robb
Authors:
Brian J. Robb

George Lucas was a rebel, refusing to make films in the style of the dying studio system, relentlessly pushing the technology of the day, and almost alone in understanding the potential of merchandising; but he was a rebel who built an empire. From the staggering unexpected success of the original Star Wars in 1977, when cinema attendances exceeded 20 million for the first time since 1963, through The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, then the 'dark times', the 16 years leading to the blockbusting prequel trilogy - this is the fascinating story of how it all happened.Life-long Star Wars fan and movie journalist Brian J. Robb edited the official Star Wars magazine for a decade and visited the sets of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in Australia (observing director George Lucas at work), as well as the famous Skywalker Ranch. He has interviewed many of the stars and crew of all six Star Wars movies.

Abdel Sellou

Abdel Sellou now lives in Algeria with his wife and three children, where he runs a chicken farm. He remains close to Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, who lives in Morocco with his second wife and two children.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

David Browne

David Browne is the former music critic for Entertainment Weekly, where he worked for over 15 years. A former reporter and columnist for the New York Daily News, he has also contributed to The New York Times, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, MOJO, Spin and other publications.

Elaine Dundy

Elaine Dundy was born in New York. As an actress she worked in Paris and London and then became a writer. She has written plays, biographies and novels including the bestselling THE DUD AVOCADO, her first novel.

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry--including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies at Yale University.

Katie Nicholl

Katie Nicholl is a journalist, broadcaster, and contributor to Vanity Fair and the Mail on Sunday. Katie works with the BBC and Sky News in the UK, CBC in Canada, and Channel 9 in Australia. She also works extensively in America where she appears regularly on primetime TV shows including Entertainment Tonight. Also the author of New York Times bestselling royal biographies William and Harry, The Making of a Royal Romance, and Kate: The Future Queen, Katie is a widely recognized authority on royal affairs.

Marcus Berkmann

Marcus Berkmann has spent more than thirty years sitting in front of various television screens swearing at incompetent England batsmen. In his leisure time he has written columns on sport for Punch, the Independent on Sunday and the Daily Express. He is a regular contributor to Private Eye and has been the Spectator's pop music critic for over twenty years. His books include Rain Men: The Madness of Cricket, Zimmer Men: The Trials and Tribulations of the Ageing Cricketer, Fatherhood: The Truth and A Matter of Facts: The Insider's Guide to Quizzing

Michael Bloch

Michael Bloch was born in 1953 and trained for the law. From 1979 he assisted Maître Suzanne Blum, the Parisian lawyer of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. He is the author of several books on the Windsors as well as other acclaimed works of non-fiction.

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom is an internationally bestselling author, screenwriter, playwright, and award-winning journalist. He is the author of six consecutive number one New York Times bestsellers and has sold over thirty-five million copies of his books in forty-five languages worldwide, including Tuesdays with Morrie, which is the bestselling memoir of all time.Albom also works as a columnist and broadcaster and has founded eight charities in Detroit and Haiti, where he operates an orphanage. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.

Nicholas Murray

Nicholas Murray was born in Liverpool in 1952. He has written acclaimed biographies of Bruce Chatwin, Matthew Arnold and the poet Andrew Marvell. He is married and lives in the Welsh Marches.

Noel Streatfeild

Noel Streatfeild was born in Sussex in 1895 and was one of three sisters. After working in munitions factories and canteens for the armed forces when the First World War broke out, Noel followed her dream of being on stage and went to RADA where she became a professional actress.She began writing children's books in 1931 and Ballet Shoes was published in 1936. She quickly became one of the most popular authors of her day. She was one of the first winners of the Carnegie Medal and was awarded an OBE in 1983.

Paul Rees

Paul Rees is a former award-winning Editor of the fabled British rock weekly Kerrang! and was Editor-in-Chief of Q magazine for ten years. His work has also appeared in such publications as the Sunday Times Culture, the Observer, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Telegraph, the Sunday Express and Classic Rock.He is the author of six previous books, among these the best-selling Robert Plant: a Life, The Three Degrees: the Men Who Changed British Football Forever, which was long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, and The Gospel According to Luke.

Robert Lacey

Robert Lacey is an internationally renowned historian and biographer and co-founder of Cover magazine. His ground-breaking and highly-acclaimed MAJESTY - ELIZABETH II AND THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR was published in 1977 on the occasion of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

William McInnes

William McInnes is one of Australia's most popular writers and actors. His books include the bestselling memoirs A Man's Got to Have a Hobby and That'd Be Right. In 2012 his book Worse Things Happen at Sea, co-written with his wife, Sarah Watt, was named the best non-fiction title in the ABIA and Indie Awards. Also an award-winning actor and best known for his leading roles in Blue Heelers and SeaChange, William has won two Logies and an AFI Award for Best Actor in the film Unfinished Sky. He recently starred in the TV dramas Deep Water and Rake. William grew up in Queensland and lives in Melbourne with his two children.