As historian Kasson eloquently points out in this often repetitive but useful survey of Temple’s role in Depression America, the young star entertained America at one of its lowest points, winning the hearts of a nation and giving hope to a hopeless society. “In all her 1930s movies beginning with Stand Up and Cheer!, Shirley Temple helped viewers summon the emotional resources to persevere in the world.” Kasson confines his deft critical writing to the 1930s, the height of Temple’s popularity, chronicling her rise to fame, her lasting impact on the movies and society, and her view of herself as a professional actor and not a child laborer. At the height of her popularity, he observes, “Shirley Temple’s films, products, and endorsements stimulated the American consumer economy at a crucial time, so much so that to some she appeared to be a relief program all by herself.” Kasson’s insightful book looks back to a moment in American society when, he argues, the movies mattered and when one magnetic star could help change people’s minds and hearts. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014 Release date: 04/01/2014 Genre: Nonfiction
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