Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the US Film Industry

"...a book that immediately joins the ranks of essential film references." - Chicagoist.

Hi, everybody! Just a quick plug here - today, Jan 20th, Flickering Empire, my new book on Chicago silent film, is available through the film studies branch Columbia University Press. Though I try to cite my sources and hold myself up to reasonable academic standards in even my most down-to-earth work, this is my first "scholarly" book, written in collaboration with Michael Glover Smith.
Our 2011 podcasts exploring old silent film studios here and here

Chicago's role in the early film industry is largely forgotten today, but for a few years there we were a prototype Hollywood, producing early examples of serials, color films, feature-length films, and a whole host of other things that had never been seen before. Flickering Empire is the first book-length study of Chicago's role in the nascent industry, from the moving pictures that were (and weren't) on display at the 1893 World's Fair to the collapse of the local industry a quarter of a century later.   To research the book I traveled the country seeking out the handful of films that survive, met with relatives of major players in the industry, and generally had a blast!

1 comment:

Lowell said...


I'm reading your book right now. I'm up to page 50.
And unless you took a steep turn downhill for the remainder of the book, it's very good.

I'm a writer myself. I wrote the book, "African Americans in Chicago" for Arcadia's
"Images of America" series and am always interested in little-known stories about
our conflicted city.

Keep up the good work.

Lowell Thompson

Adam's New Book: Sept 2013