Caroline's Reviews > Hollywood's White House: The American Presidency in Film and History

Hollywood's White House by Peter C. Rollins
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Mar 23, 2011

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bookshelves: popular-culture

This book is quite disappointing. It had the potential to be really interesting and I can't help but feel that it fails, and part of that I ascribe to the format. Instead of being a cohesive book exploring an overall theme, it's a collection of essays each devoted to a different aspect of the presidency on celluloid, broken down into portrayals of historical presidents, fictional presidents and the presidency in recent decades. Some of the essays are quite readable and others are so academic and dense they're almost impossible to understand. Sadly, the essay on Aaron Sorkin's The American President and The West Wing is one of these, which is a shame because it was probably the one I was most interested in! The overall effect is somewhat hit and miss, as though the publishers weren't sure whether to aim the book at academics or laymen. I didn't feel that I came away from this book any wiser about Hollywood's portrayal of American presidents and its impact on American politics and the way the public votes and what it expects from its commander in chief. I'd call this a missed opportunity.
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