Covering the full range of modern American filmmakers from established auteurs to first-time directors, this is an amazingly well researched and informed book that sets out to paint a picture of US cinema in all its varied forms. Of particular interest is the information on directors normally excluded from mainstream film encyclopedias - indie directors, pop video makers, first-timers, art-house filmmakers etc. - making for a book which gets to the parts other books just can't reach.
Set out as an alphabetical encyclopedia, each entry includes a complete filmography, contextual and biographical information on each filmmaker, and a specially commissioned critical article which discusses themes, styles and issues central to their work. The range of writers, from film journalists to PhD students to lecturers, makes for an unusually varied and lively authorial tone, though the best entries are the ones which move beyond the constraints of straight film criticism into proper articles. The critical article and full filmography make for a really complete account of the development of each director's career.
An indispensable reference tome whether you're a film writer or just your average movie goer, this book really delivers an informed and interesting read. The publishers say there will be subsequent volumes on British, European and World directors. If they're all as well done as this, I'll be buying every one.