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Annals of the Society for the History ofDiscoveries.

The field of the history of cartography has been transformed in the pasttwo decades.

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David Lowenthal Thesis Americans History

This book unapologetically takes the position that the primary reason for most of the failures of the independent production and distribution companies in the U.S. film industry during the nearly 90-year history of the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry relates to this issue (i.e., the lack of a "level playing field") and not "lack of hits" or "poor financial management" as others have suggested. The lack of hits and poor financial management arguments are merely industry rationalizations, used to shift the blame from where it belongs. In other words, the Hollywood insider group, represented most prominently by the top-level executives of the major studio/distributors, the top talent agencies and a few of the important entertainment law firms, have tipped the scales in their favor to the exclusion of outsiders. There is no "level playing field" in Hollywood and it has not been level for many years.

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Movies Affect the Education of Our Children--One hundred years ago, the education of children was predominantly the responsibility of parents, schools and churches. That responsibility has not changed, but in the modern world, it is increasingly difficult for parents, schools and churches to effectively compete for the attention of and influence over their own children. The invention and popularity within the last 100 years or so of the motion picture, the phonograph, radio, television, VCR's and CD's, among others, has made it possible for individuals and organizations besides parents, schools and churches (organizations with different motivations) to bombard our children with all sorts of ideas and messages typically under the guise of "entertainment". These messages form another formidable layer of "education" for our children and frustrated parents who do not approve of the kind of "education" being provided through such means have yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to the problem. As Michael Medved points out, "[n]early all parents want to convey to their children the importance of self-discipline, hard work, and decent manners; but the entertainment media celebrate vulgar behavior, contempt for all authority, and obscene language--which is inserted even in 'family fare' where it is least expected."

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Sam Goldwyn Was Wrong: All Movies Send Messages--Hollywood has come in for its share of criticism over the years, however, many people within and without the Hollywood-based U.S. film industry have chosen and will continue to choose to respond to the criticism with a shrug of the shoulders and a "So What?" In their view, it makes no difference that Hollywood is controlled by a narrowly-defined interest group, particularly since many who respond in this manner, are beneficiaries of that control. These individuals could care less that the Hollywood control group gained and has maintained its power through the nearly 90-year history of Hollywood using unethical, unfair, unconscionable, anti-competitive, predatory and/or illegal business practices. They rather routinely ask: "What difference does all of this make, after all, movies are merely entertainment, aren't they?" Well, let's see.

Actual conduct is more important than motivation, in any case. Thus, the fact that Hollywood is controlled by a narrowly defined interest group, to the general exclusion of all others, is more important than why such a phenomenon has occurred. The natural results of the concentration of power in the hands of a few is also of more concern than who the Hollywood control group actually is. It is simply not acceptable in a free, democratic and diverse society which values the free flow of information and the competition of ideas in an open marketplace, for the government of the people, to stand idly by and allow any narrowly defined interest group (regardless of whether such group is defined in terms of its race, religion, cultural background, ethnicity or otherwise) to control or dominate any important communications medium, including feature film. Once again, diversity is the key, and not just diversity at the lower levels of the industry, but at all levels.

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Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History ofCartography at the Newberry Library, Chicago, 1976- .

Williams-Meyers, A. J. “Pinkster Carnival: Africanisms in the Hudson River Valley.” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History 1985 9(1): 7-17.

Wright, Donald R. Out of Africa in the Body and Mind: The Black Diaspora and Pan Africanism. Journal of American Ethnic History 17 (Fall 1997): 71-75.

The beautifully illustrated , edited by Yan Ping and others, covers 2,000 years of maphistory in a cartobibliographic format.
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    Thornton, John K. “African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion.” American Historical Review 1991 96(4): 1101-1113.

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As noted earlier, Powdermaker goes on to say that "Hollywood . . . discourages and sometimes even forbids creativity in the very people whom it presumably pays to be creative." Thus, it is quite naive to suggest that there are no victims of Hollywood crimes. With all of the admiration one might muster for such a thing, some may reasonably choose to describe the Hollywood game as the "perfect crime". Its victims go far beyond the small production, distribution and exhibition companies in this country and around the world that are unfairly squeezed out of the marketplace each year by the predatory business practices of the majors, far beyond the many screenwriters whose ideas and screenplays are stolen annually without sufficient remedy, far beyond the diverse community of "outsider" filmmakers whose many stories cannot be told through film because they've been shut out of Hollywood, far beyond the thousands of struggling members of the creative community who don't even realize the playing field is titled in favor of the Hollywood insiders (or if they do, they're so fearful of being blacklisted they won't speak out), far beyond the hundreds of attractive young men and women who are lured to Hollywood every year by prospects of fame and fortune, only to end up having to sell their bodies to survive, or even worse, literally never being heard from again, far beyond all those persons who are cheated out of their fair share of the economic upside of their own films, far beyond the millions of moviegoers who are regularly deceived about the subject, suitability or quality of the films they pay money to see, far beyond the thousands of college level film students who have been misled into thinking there are reasonable opportunities waiting for them in the U.S. film industry, far beyond segments of the U.S. academic community whose intellectual honesty has been compromised by Hollywood intimidation -- to all citizens who have to cope with the powerful negative impact of irresponsible visual images and biased motion pictures on all of the world's societies.

African Cultural Survivals in America

In other words, in addition to the fact that over the years, many more actors and actresses of Jewish heritage appeared in Hollywood films than African-Americans, most of these top Jewish actors and actresses were appearing in more films per year and they were able to get parts over a longer period of time, thus their careers lasted longer. Imagine what a difference in economic impact alone if the African-American creative community had been treated as favorably as members of the Jewish creative community over the years. Of course, this brief look at the many levels of apparent Hollywood discrimination does not even consider the comparative record with respect to Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, Italian-Americans, people from the American South, and others.

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On September 30, 1955, actor James Dean " . . . was doing a reckless 85 miles an hour in his silver Porsche on Highway 41 . . . near Paso Robles (California). He was speeding, en route to a sports car race at Salinas, when he smashed into another vehicle. He was . . . DOA at Paso Robles Hospital. At first, public grief was modest." Warner Bros. studio " . . . was grieved for financial reasons-- and had not been released and films starring recently deceased actors generally had bad track records. Then, (and supposedly) without any studio help, a legend grew. It was only several months after his death that the cult began to grow to vast proportions. The release of set off the greatest wave of posthumous worship in Hollywood history; it exceeded that for Valentino. Some fans committed suicide . . . thirty years after his death, the fan mail (was still) . . . arriving . . . Warners found that it had a hot . . . property on its hands. As the cult spread, mementos of the actor--plastic models of his head, bits of his wrecked car, parts of his motorcycle--were auctioned at top prices." Industry insiders were not nearly as critical of this tasteless bit of auctioning as they were years later following Kirk Kerkorian's auction of MGM memorabilia. After all, Kerkorian was an outsider.

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