I picked up this book because I took Peter Decherney’s course Hollywood: History, Industry, Art offered by the University of Penn through edX, an educational online course service. This book is the text book for that course.
Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction is a pretty interesting book on its own. It is quite small and a very quick read, I read it twice before delving into the course associated with it. But in spite of its length, it is packed full of valuable and interesting information on the history of filmmaking and how it was effected by emerging technologies throughout the years.
The book starts before Hollywood even existed. It goes from the days of Thomas Edison and how he started to establish filmmaking techniques all the way up to today, showing how the movie industry is effected by technologies like Netflix.
It is a great primer on its subject matter and it gives a clear, almost bullet point like history of Hollywood throughout the years but it is very skeletal. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t give you a good outline, which will enable you to research subjects and events within the book in more detail, if you feel the need.
The book, as well as the course, are pretty useful and informative for those who want to know more about the history of the filmmaking industry in the United States. Both are definitely worth your time if it is something that interests you.