He Was Some Kind of a Man: Masculinities in the B Western

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, May 19, 2009 - Performing Arts - 222 pages
2 Reviews

He Was Some Kind of a Man: Masculinities in the B Western explores the construction and representation of masculinity in low-budget western movies made from the 1930s to the early 1950s. These films contained some of the mid-twentieth-century’s most familiar names, especially for youngsters: cowboys such as Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, and Red Ryder. The first serious study of a body of films that was central to the youth of two generations, He Was Some Kind of a Man combines the author’s childhood fascination with this genre with an interdisciplinary scholarly exploration of the films influence on modern views of masculinity.

McGillis argues that the masculinity offered by these films is less one-dimensional than it is plural, perhaps contrary to expectations. Their deeply conservative values are edged with transgressive desire, and they construct a male figure who does not fit into binary categories, such as insider/outsider or masculine/feminine. Particularly relevant is the author’s discussion of George W. Bush as a cowboy and how his aspirations to cowboy ideals continue to shape American policy.

This engagingly written book will appeal to the general reader interested in film, westerns, and contemporary culture as well as to scholars in film studies, gender studies, children’s literature, and auto/biography.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Smilee306 - LibraryThing

There is already a fantastic review of this work, Roderick McGillis's tome to masculinity as observed in B Westerns, on this site that covers all of the important points so instead I'd like to provide ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TimBazzett - LibraryThing

Where to begin in discussing a book which seemingly lays waste to all my childhood heroes of the silver screen? And yet it doesn't. Because author McGillis is, I think, very fair and even-handed in ... Read full review


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9 Corporate Cowboys and the Shaping of a Nation
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List of Films Mentioned

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About the author (2009)

Roderick McGillis is a professor of English at the University of Calgary. He is the author of the award-winning The Nimble Reader (1996), A Little Princess: Gender and Empire (1996), and Les Pieds Devant (2007), and the editor of George MacDonald: Literary Heritage and Heirs (2007). He is a former editor of The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and former president of the Children’s Literature Association.

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