Arts & Humanities Reviews, March 15, 2012

starred review starGustavson, Todd. 500 Cameras: 170 Years of Photographic Innovation. Sterling. 2011. 480p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781402780868. pap. $26.95. PHOTOG

In these pages, Gustavson (curator, technology, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital) provides a visually stunning overview of the history of cameras and related equipment. After introductions by Gustavson and Anthony Bannon (director, George Eastman House), the book follows photography chronologically from the earliest daguerreotype cameras to contemporary cell phones. Drawing on the extensive archives of the George Eastman House collection, Gustavson devotes individual chapters to the following camera types: dry plate, field, detective, snapshot, reflex, twin-lens reflex, folding, 35mm, professional, panoramic, stereo, subminiature, toy, specialty, and in-camera processing. Each chapter is color-coded, and the book includes a detailed index, making it a handy reference‚ though this lovely tome is more than just that. Each of the cameras is beautifully illustrated with color photographs and described in lively prose, and the book benefits from handsome design. VERDICT Covering everything from significant inventions to quirky little detective cameras, this is a delightful volume, both serious and fun. Every one interested in photography, from occasional shutterbugs to serious professionals, will absolutely love this book.‚ Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL

Harryhausen, Ray & Tony Dalton. Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories from 65 Years of Filmmaking. Aurum, dist. by Trafalgar Square. May 2012. c.192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781845135577. $55. FILM

It could be said that special effects wizardry in modern films isn’t a product of technology and cutting-edge computer software but rather owes its existence to a 13-year-old boy sitting in a movie theater in 1933 who was about to set forth on a lifelong journey that began with his viewing of King Kong . The ripples of that epiphany still resonate today through filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and Peter Jackson, who were influenced by Harryhausen’s work a generation later. This third volume in Harry hausen’s memoirs again relates his story through the models and effects he devised for many memorable productions beginning with 1949’s Mighty Joe Young . Each chapter covers a single title with a brief overview plus drawings, photos, models, storyboards, sketches, etc., with captions. VERDICT Harryhausen is a living legend and his remembrances of the epic fantasy films he helped create, which paved the way for effects-laden notables ranging from Star Wars to Jurassic Park to The Terminator to The Lord of the Rings , will be welcomed by his many fans and film heads. ‚ Mike Rogers, Library Journal

Wagoner, David. After the Point of No Return. Copper Canyon. Mar. 2012. c.120p. ISBN 9781556593826. pap. $16. POETRY

The author of more than two dozen books of poetry, along with nearly a dozen novels, two-time National Book Award nominee Wagoner (In Broken Country) again demonstrates that he speaks best in verse. His latest volume examines life’s ironies, idio syncrasies, and imitable possibilities: Is everything we think/ we know as certain truth/ a metaphor we make/ between our capable hands/ and our heads? Ranging from meditation on childhood to contemplation of life’s end, a Wagoner poem finds its strongest metaphors in the natural world but is not limited to it; some poems look for immortality through memory. The poems exhibit lovely imagery, clear language, and forms organic to content while also engaging in some wry humor‚ imagine Jesus as a messy roommate or Thoreau herding a loose cow. In the end, Wagoner strives to define what it means to be human by asking the larger questions. VERDICT A highly recommended book by an important poet.‚ Karla Huston, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, Madison

The following titles are reviewed in the March 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America. MIT. Mar. 2012. c.400p. ed. by Joan Ockman. illus. index. ISBN 9780262017084. $50. ARCHITECTURE

Eksteins, Modris. Solar Dance: Van Gogh, Forgery, and the Eclipse of Certainty. Harvard Univ. Apr. 2012. c.368p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780674065673. $27.95. FINE ARTS

Fuksas: Building. Actar. 2011. 520p. ed. by Ramon Prat. tr. from Spanish by Stephen Thorne. illus. ISBN 9788492861781. $59.95. ARCHITECTURE


Boyd, Brian. Why Lyrics Last: Evolution, Cognition, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Harvard Univ. Apr. 2012. c.226p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780674065642. $25.95. LIT

Steinbeck, John. Steinbeck in Vietnam: Dispatches from the War. Univ. of Virginia. Mar. 2012. c.240p. ed. by Thomas E. Barden. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780813932576. $29.95. LIT

Performing Arts

Bronson, Fred. The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook. Applause: Hal Leonard. Apr. 2012. 96p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781557838476. $45. FILM

Decherney, Peter. Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet. Columbia Univ. Apr. 2012. c.304p. illus. index. ISBN 9780231159463. $34.50. FILM

Jacobson, Marion. Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion in America. Univ. of Illinois. Apr. 2012. c.304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780252036750. $29.95. MUSIC

Johnson, David T. Richard Linklater. Univ. of Illinois. (Contemporary Film Directors). Apr. 2012. c.200p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780252036927. $70. pap. ISBN 9780252078507. $22. FILM

Lloyd, Ian. Elizabeth Taylor 1932‚ 2011: Queen of the Silver Screen. Andre Deutsch, dist. by Trafalgar Square. May 2012. 144p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 9780233003412. $27.95. FILM

Marshall, Garry. My Happy Days in Hollywood. Crown Archetype. Apr. 2012. c.288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307885005. $25. FILM


Dickman, Matthew & Michael Dickman. 50 American Plays. Copper Canyon. Mar. 2012. c.110p. ISBN 9781556593932. pap. $16. POETRY

Perillo, Lucia. On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths. Copper Canyon. May 2012. c.120p. ISBN 9781556593970. $22. POETRY


Luhrmann, T.M. When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. Knopf. Mar. 2012. c.448p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780307264794. $28.95. REL

Scheitle, Christopher P. & Roger Finke. Places of Faith: A Road Trip Across America’s Religious Landscape. Oxford Univ. 2012. c.240p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780199791521. pap. $27.95. REL



  1. Howard Stevens says:

    I’m looking forward to purchasing the new Harryhausen book. Hopefully, it won’t be as littered with errors, both factual and otherwise, as the first three books Mr. Dalton did with Harryhausen.