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The Best Books, Shows, Films and Podcasts of 2017 for History Lovers

December 28, 2017 in History

By History Staff

Dunkirk, the epic war thriller written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan set in the Second World War around the Dunkirk evacuation. (Credit: Warner Bros/Lifestyle Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo)

As 2017 slips into the history books, take a look back at the year in culture—with the best new releases that drew from the past. Whatever medium your personal passion might be, these movies, books, TV shows and podcasts proved that what’s old can be new again.

Dunkirk, the epic war thriller written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan set in the Second World War around the Dunkirk evacuation. (Credit: Warner Bros/Lifestyle Pictures/Alamy Stock Photo)

Film

Directors took a hard look at the past with films that explored war and race through pivotal moments in history.

Director Christopher Nolan proved that there are still new ways to frame a war epic, with Dunkirk, a retelling of an Allied evacuation from France during World War II from three different perspectives. Director Dee Rees looked at the war from a distinctly American point-of-view with Mudbound, the story of two families, one black and one white, in the rural Mississippi Delta during the Jim Crow era following World War II. Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit examined the deadly 12th Street Riot of 1967 and provoked conversations about race relations and police brutality a half-century later. Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, a reinterpretation of a 1970s Civil War period piece, won high marks (and a Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival) for the director’s cinematic approach, but raised serious questions for its all-white cast. In a year when journalism became a political weapon, director Steven Spielberg partnered with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in a dramatization of the story behind the Pentagon Papers in The Post.


George Saunders’ novel Lincoln in the Bardo, shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. (Credit: Dave Stevenson/Alamy Live News)

Fiction

The year’s best historically inflected fiction offered reflections on wars and family ties across generations.

In a year when the Syrian refugee crisis loomed large, Pulitzer Prize–winner Viet Nguyen gathered short stories of people linked by the experience of the Vietnam War and its legacy in the collection The Refugees (Grove Press). Against the backdrop of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s young son Willie entered the liminal realm of ghosts in Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House) in the latest from Man Booker Prize–winner George Saunders. In her second novel, Pachinko (Grand Central Publishing), Min Jin Lee traced the story of one Korean family through the 20th century, from Japanese-occupied Korea to 1980s …read more

Source: HISTORY

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