The Wonderful World of Oz

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wonderful world of Oz

FRICKE, John The Wonderful World of OZ Rowman & Littlefield (Down East Books), 2013 68pp A$32.69 £18.95 ISBN 9781608932573

An expanded, revised and redesigned edition of a 1999 publication this is a nostalgic walk through 100 years of Fred Baum’s The Wizard of Oz made famous by the 1939 film of the same name featuring Judy Garland.  This current text, however, covers in wonderful detail the many productions in its many forms of the original book.  Each chapter tells a different story about Oz in its various incarnations as it travels through many countries and many editions, is featured as movie posters, bookends, toys, the 14 titles in the series and the extraordinary range of collectibles.  The book is full of colour and the reader is taken along a journey from the inception of the book to a modern destination as the musical, Wicked.  Such a wealth of material makes it a valued piece of research as well as a delight to dip into and read at leisure.  What is hinted at in the introduction, but could be more clearly spelt out, is how OZ became the archetype of Paradise, the Promised Land, for the European Jew.  The United States was the early Zion for these poor and persecuted immigrants and this was reinterpreted as the magical land of OZ as they travelled towards it on the Yellow Brick Road.  John Cohen

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