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An Extraordinary Achievement of the American Way: Hollywood and the Americanization of the making of the atom bomb in Fat Man & Little Boy

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Abstract:

This article examines the Americanization of popular culture on the domestic front. It uses director Roland Joff's film Fat Man & Little Boy (UK release title: The Shadow Makers) as a case study to analyze the Americanization of the story of the creation of the atom bomb in postwar American culture. The study places the picture within its wider cultural historical context and traces the film's ideology not only back to the beginning of the nuclear age but to larger trends regarding science, technology and nationalism in the US history. Special emphasis is given to three main areas of investigation: the film's place in Hollywood's engagement with the saga of the making of the atomic bomb, its evocation of nostalgia and its omission of many international contributions, especially those by foreign-born scientists, to the Manhattan Project.

Keywords: Americanization; Fat Man & Little Boy; Los Alamos; Manhattan Project; Roland Joff; atomic bomb

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.28.1.41_1

Affiliations: University of Liverpool.

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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