This is the second entry in this series that I have read, the first being The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926-1931 (History of the American Cinema, 4). That one is still my favorite, more because that is one of the most interesting times in the history of cinema than because that is a better book than this one. Basically reading cinema history in reverse, this book tells you everything you'd want to know about the evolution of the film industry from the time the feature film came into being until the end of the silent era. It manages to be thorough and insightful without being dry, and lets you see things from the moviegoer's point of view as well as giving a complete overview of the film industry itself. It even talks about the founding of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and how it coincided with the end of the silent era. This produced some strange early Academy Award results, and this book discusses that. It also discusses all of the different state censorship boards that made it impossible to make one film that was viewable in all of the states. It was this commercial consideration that made the motion picture industry decide to police itself, although those police largely had little power until 1934. Highly recommended for the reader that really wants a complete history of film during the silent era. Having read this one second, I would recommend that if you want to read the book on talkies in the series that you read this book first to get an idea of the perspective of both the industry insiders and moviegoers as the dawn of sound approached.