There is hardly a shortage of books about Steven Spielberg, the most financially successful film director of all time. However, while it does not contain a wealth of new information, George Perry's guide makes a virtue of the economy required to pack Spielberg's oeuvre into just over a hundred pages. In time-honoured fashion, the writer begins with Spielberg's childhood--this is particularly appropriate for a subject who was shooting 8mm films before the age of twelve. Each of Spielberg's movies is then detailed in turn, with just enough information on the production and reception of each, resulting in a pacy, easily read volume which contains a surprisingly large amount of information.
Along the way, Perry finds time to deal with the themes and stylistic features of Spielberg's films, such as the characteristic tone of childlike innocence which has been alternately praised and vilified by critics. Whilst Perry generally admires the director's work, he maintains a healthy critical perspective when dealing with disasters such as Hook (calling it "a classic instance of Hollywood hubris"). Reaching as far into Spielberg's career as Saving Private Ryan, and also covering projects for which he acted as producer, this well researched, accessible book is rounded off with the Variety reviews of each of Spielberg's films. --John Oates [via]