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"Mark Osteen manages to add something new and substantial to the discourse on film noir—an examination of the ways in which the American Dream is subverted, challenged, and ultimately discounted by the harsh realities of a noir universe, which more directly aligns itself with society than the phantom hope of endless upward mobility."

"Describes film noir as a genre that challenges the American mythology of upward mobility and self-reinvention."

"Only a few of the many books on film noir are essential. This is one of them... A smart, clearly written book."

"Osteen has given us a fresh, discerning, and nuanced perspective on a popular style of Hollywood films during the period 1940-1960 and has proved a reliable guide down the sinuous twistings of 'Nightmare Alley.'"