Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino

When I saw that Quentin Tarantino had released a new book I decided that I had to pick it up and read it. While I’m not the biggest fan of his and I haven’t even seen all of his movies, I do find his views on writing or the writing process rather interesting. From that angle I was hoping to glean some information along with anything else he’d add into the book.

It opens with Tarantino’s experience with movies growing up and how his parents often brought him with them to adult screenings. From this, he claims, he was able to better understand what adults did, what adults found funny or entertaining even if he didn’t fully understand it at the time. He credits these years with his ability to understand speech and how people acted. The entire first chapter is a great autobiographical look at his childhood and it would’ve been an excellent book if it had continued down this path.

Unfortunately it swiftly shifts into film analysis mostly from the early 1970s from such films as Bullitt ,Dirty Harry and The Outfit. With these analyses he does give away movie plots and plot points but all the movies are about a half century year old plus you’re warned ahead of time with the chapter title. To get much out of it, one would definitely need to have watched the films or have very strong ideas of them. For those movies that I hadn’t seen, I simply didn’t care.

Tarantino’s analysis was also incredibly basic. While he did interweave some of these analyses with interviews or other information from the people involved around the movie, it wasn’t anything greatly insightful. This may not be true of the films that I hadn’t read about or seen, but for those I have, I did not receive any real new information. It is also unfortunate that the work coming out of Tarantino within this book isn’t anything greater than would be expected out of a first year college student writing a research paper.

Along with the college student comparison, the book has enough errors to quickly become noticeable even through a casual reading. This was one of the few books I wasn’t taking detailed notes upon yet even I found these errors distracting and occurring often enough to note them down.

While I was greatly excited to continue reading the book especially after the first fantastic autobiographical chapter, the book never recovered. Perhaps this is only meant for Tarantino fans or for those who love 1970s cinema but the book fell flat after that astounding first chapter. For anyone not within that world, I would suggest a strong pass.

Eyewitnesses to the Indian Wars 1865 – 1890 Vol I The Struggle for Apacheria edited by Peter Cozzens

Eyewitnesses to the Indian Wars 1865 – 1890 Vol I The Struggle for Apacheria edited by Peter Cozzens is a collection pieced together about the history of the Apache with the United States Government and military. Within the 600+ pages are almost exclusive primary sources from many different sides, although primarily from the American side due to the written literature in which it contains.

The amount of information is vast and as this is only one volume, there are expected to be many more in other works. Beginning from the beginning where William FM Arny warns against the Apache and says that the war will be long and vicious, the book ultimately ends with the Geronimo troubles and the ultimate surrender of his followers. Other famous characters such as Cochise makes appearances along with numerous battles and massacres on both sides. Mundane accounts of such things as a description of fort life or certain surroundings are also included.

The work is finely edited with numerous sources and of varied types from the moment it occurred to even decades later, although no article is written too late after the fact. Therefore, everything ought to remain fresh in the minds of those who wrote it whether biased or honest.

Eyewitnesses to the Indian Wars Vol. I is an incredibly intricate and valuable source of information of the time. Whether either seasoned in the field and area of study or new to the topic, it will bring one in with an overarching narrative from beginning to end without leaving out any information. An article or two may be redundant but this almost never happens and does not happen often enough to worry. The book is a great addition especially considering the knowledge it contains.