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Awake in the Dark

The Best of Roger Ebert: Second Edition

With a Foreword by David Bordwell
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema criticism without peer.

Arriving fifty years after Ebert published his first film review in 1967, this second edition of Awake in the Dark collects Ebert’s essential writings into a single, irresistible volume. Featuring new Top Ten Lists and reviews of the years’ finest films through 2012, this edition allows both fans and film buffs to bask in the best of an extraordinary lifetime’s work. Including reviews from The Godfather to GoodFellas and interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Meryl Streep, as well as showcasing some of Ebert’s most admired essays—among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films—Ebert’s Awake in the Dark is a treasure trove not just for fans of this era-defining critic, but for anyone desiring a compulsively readable chronicle of the silver screen.

Stretching from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today, Awake in the Dark reveals a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm helped shape the way we think about the movies. But more than this, Awake in the Dark is a celebration of Ebert’s inimitable voice—a voice still cherished and missed.

544 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2017

Film Studies

Media Studies


“Roger Ebert understands how to pop the hood of a movie and tell us how it runs, while still enjoying the ride with his box of popcorn or, in some cases, a bottle of aspirin. Awake in the Dark captures both those sides of Ebert and shows him to be a serious friend of film, someone who loves the movies as much as he understands them.”

Steven Spielberg | on first edition

“Roger Ebert loves movies more, and better, than almost any critic I’ve ever met. He also has a keen understanding of the way they work, which you will find out as you make your way through this irreplaceable collection of reviews, reminiscences, and critiques. There’s a lifetime of thought and appreciation between these pages—a life, really—and you simply can’t say that about most other collections of film criticism.”

Martin Scorsese | on first edition

“Roger Ebert is the grand poobah of them all.”

Robert Altman | on first edition

“Roger Ebert has become a member of our households, our families. He is the one who tells us all about the movies. And, as his passion for the cinema is so deep, and his knowledge so profound, he is the one we can always trust.”

Werner Herzog | on first edition

“This is a fittingly grand and sweeping collection of Roger Ebert’s writing on film. Ebert is the most widely read and most trusted film writer in America because he is still, in some way, an amateur viewer—he goes to the movies as a pilgrim, ready to be amazed, wanting to be enlightened. He believes in the power of the medium, and has not, after all these decades, become the least bit calloused to it. And no one is more eloquent in expressing why and how the best movies work, and why they’re so incredibly necessary.”

Dave Eggers | on first edition

“A meaty and comprehensive collection . . . of impassioned film writing. . . . Ebert expands our knowledge of human nature through his incisive analysis of the twentieth century’s (arguably) primary form of artistic expression, of its evolution and its lure. . . . To love the movies, [Ebert] tells us, 'does not mean to sit mindlessly and blissfully before the screen. . . . The task of every movie is to try to change how you feel and think during its running time,' and the task of the viewer is to participate in the process. He is moral but not moralistic, preferring stories of flawed people who struggle to do the right thing and fail over simplistic heroes facing simplified choices.”

Tara Ison | Los Angeles Times, on the first edition

“As film criticism becomes more marginalized, Ebert may come to be seen as the last of a kind—the critic who actually has the power to influence a national audience.”

Gordon Flagg | Booklist, on the first edition

“Always alert to trends and defending film as an art form, Ebert never fails to connect with his readers.”

Library Journal, on the first edition

“Top-notch. In Awake in the Dark, Ebert has produced his most personal collection of reviews, essays, and interviews, providing insights into the man as much as the movies he loves. . . . This volume contains some of Ebert's most exciting writing.”

Gary Kramer | Filmbill, on the first edition

“[This] excellent new compendium . . . serves as a fine way to remind us that Ebert is, first and foremost, a gifted writer. A survey of his fprty years in the business of loving and explaining movies, it's essential reading for anyone who likes film.”

Nik Dirga | Blogcritics, on the first edition

“One of the few authentic giants in a field in which self-importance frequently overshadows accomplishment. . . . His criticism shows a nearly unequaled grasp of film history and technique, and formidable intellectual range, but [Ebert] rarely seems to be showing off. He's just trying to tell you what he thinks, and to provoke some thought on your part about how movies work and what they can do.”

A. O. Scott | New York Times


Society of Midland Authors: Midland Authors Award

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