Thank you for visiting us. We are currently updating our shopping cart and regret to advise that it will be unavailable until September 1, 2014. We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you again.

Wiley
Wiley.com
Print this page Share

American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8741-1
184 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (1405187417) cover image
This dazzling little book explores the role of US media in foreign policy, not only at the present moment, but with an eye to the future.
  • Written by a veteran Hollywood film executive and an internationally known columnist in foreign affairs
  • Explains how American movies, TV shows, and pop music provide the images of America to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world to Americans
  • Includes discussions of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed Danish daily newspapers, Tibetan monks censored out of Chinese TV news reports only to show up on You Tube, and the Vatican's assault on the Da Vinci Code movie
  • Argues that Hollywood is a key player in the 'deep coalition' required to support a 'smart power' foreign policy and build a global cultural infrastructure that will make the world safe for interdependence
See More
Foreword.

Six Key Concepts of This Book.

1 Hearts, Minds, and Hollywood.

2 The Magic is Gone – Except at the Box Office.

3 Creativity into Cash: How Hollywood Works.

4 Seeing and Being Seen.

5 Hollywood Beats the Red Army.

The Height of America’s Cultural Appeal.

6 Backlash: Soft Power is Still Power, and Still Makes Enemies.

7 Culture Wars in the West: The Pope vs. Madonna.

8 Media Storm Troopers of the West vs. Islam.

9 New Stories, New Audiences in the Global Age.

10 Reinventing Cultural Diplomacy.

Index.

See More
Nathan Gardels is the editor of National Perspectives Quarterly. He has written widely for many publications, both nationally and internationally, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Guardian, Corriere della Sera, El Pais, Le Figaro, and the New York Review of Books.

Mike Medavoy is the chairman and co-founder of Phoenix Pictures. Throughout his career he has been involved in the creation of countless films, including sixteen nominated for Best Picture Academy Awards, and seven winners.

See More
  • Written by a veteran Hollywood film executive and an internationally known columnist in foreign affairs
  • Argues that Hollywood is a key player in the 'deep coalition' required to support a 'smart power' foreign policy and build a global cultural infrastructure that will make the world safe for interdependence
  • Explains how American movies, TV shows and pop music provide the images of America to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world to Americans
  • Includes discussions of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed Danish daily newspapers, Tibetan monks censored out of Chinese TV news reports only to show up on You Tube, and the Vatican's assault on the Da Vinci Code movie
See More

"The authors draw on their extensive experience and contacts within the political and entertainment arenas to present an interesting analysis of the role of media, and especially Hollywood film, in support of US foreign policy objectives." (CHOICE, January 2010)

"Gardels and Medavoy, two of California's most creative public intellectuals, bring a West Coast perspective to the role of culture in foreign policy. Gardels and Medavoy offer interesting observations on these trends." (Foreign Affairs Magazine, Sep/Oct 2009) 

“The book ends with a powerful challenge to Hollywood to accept its responsibility as a major player in the struggle to restore America's moral influence in the world.” (Huffington Post, June 2009)

“American Idol After Iraq will inspire debates the country needs to have regarding the power of pop culture.” (Pajamas Media, June 2009)

  “Short and a delight to read, focusing, not surprisingly, on the power of the West Coast to project American ‘soft-power’ almost everywhere through the pervasive and alluring imagery of mass entertainment.” (Providence Journal, June 2009)

"It is comparatively short and a delight to read, focusing, not surprisingly, on the power of the West Coast to project American ‘soft power’ almost everywhere through the pervasive and alluring imagery of mass entertainment.” (Japan Times Online, May 2009)

“The tone of the book is pitch perfect—combining a passionate appeal for soft power with a rigorous analysis of what it will take to restore America's influence in the world.” (Huffington Post, May 2009)

“Gardel’s and Medavoy’s readable and yet comprehensive book explores the need to understand the effective use of power in an increasingly globalized world; the understanding of which has never been more pressing or pertinent, following, as it has, the increasingly negative perceptions of America’s policies abroad.” (Editorial On The Environmentalist, April 2009)

"This fascinating work, rich in dates and anecdotes, opens our eyes to the impact the Hollywood audiovisual phenomenon has had and still has, as well as analyzing the image of America and the role its cinema must play. Both entertaining and informative, as well as brave, Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy’s book defines challenges and obstacles in order to overcome them, as well as providing solutions." [Translated from Spanish.] (Critica Libro, April 2009)

"Gardels and Medavoy’s text succeeds in challenging the philosophical assumptions of public diplomacy while remaining accessible and practical." (Public Diplomacy Magazine, Winter 2009)

"This book talks about some of the most vital issues affecting the world today with genuine intelligence and passion."
Martin Scorsese, Director

"This book breaks completely new ground in the study of communication power—the key power of the 21st century."
Manuel Castells, Author of The Network Society

"Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy have not only written the best book about public diplomacy and the global competition of ideas that I have read in 30 years of working in the public diplomacy field – they present the most honest and realistic assessment I’ve seen of the opportunities and challenges America faces in convincing foreign publics to give us the benefit of the doubt in the years ahead. For present and future decision-makers who who treat public diplomacy like the weather – everyone talks about it but no one knows how to do anything about it – and for Americans who wonder 'why does the world hate us?' this is a must read."
Doug Wilson, former Director of Congressional Affairs, US Information Agency and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

"The ability to win the hearts and minds of a people rarely comes at the end of a bomb or bullet.
Those who reach us through the magic of movies and multimedia technologies have far greater power to capture our ideas and attitudes than does any army.
Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy have produced an important book that examines this reality. It reviews the history of filmmaking in this context and the forces of globalization, illuminating the path that America needs to follow if we hope to restore our nation to a place of global prominence and moral influence."
William. S. Cohen, Former Secretary of Defense

"I’m sure many people will, and should, challenge their own postures after reading this book."
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Director of Babel

"Inspiring. A hugely important problem and have tackled it from a refreshingly novel perspective."
Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School

"Riveting and eye-opening."
Katrina van den Heuvel, Editor, The Nation

"A superb insider’s account of what American soft power – it’s weapon of mass attraction – can really mean in practice. Cogently written, this book demonstrates admirably the length of America’s cultural reach to the rest of the world."
Chris Patten, Chancellor, Oxford University

"This book poses many acute questions on how American films and culture play into our foreign policy discussion and the world’s view of our society. A must read for people in the business of making films."
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"Those Americans who travel the world have the opportunity to see the massive impact American popular culture has in virtually ever society on the planet. Nathan Gardels and Mike Medavoy are intimately acquainted with the entertainment industry and have sophisticated political roots. Both assets eminently qualify them to propose new, more imaginative, and more productive ways in which America’s movies and entertainment can be invaluable tools in what surely must become a more sophisticated approach to American diplomacy and leadership in the world."
Gary Hart, Former United States Senator

See More
March 11, 2009
American Idol After Iraq Links Obama's "Smart Power" with Hollywood Influence Over Hearts and Minds

AMERICAN IDOL AFTER IRAQ Links Obama's "Smart Power"
with Hollywood Influence Over Hearts and Minds

"This book talks about some of the most vital issues affecting the world today

with genuine intelligence and passion."

Martin Scorsese

Boston, MA-March 2009-Just as the Obama administration begins to implement its new "smart power" policy in foreign affairs (announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), Wiley-Blackwell has published a provocative little book on the subject. Written by globally syndicated journalist Nathan Gardels and veteran Hollywood filmmaker Mike Medavoy, AMERICAN IDOL AFTER IRAQ: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (Wiley-Blackwell; $24.95; May 2009) offers highly original insights, analysis and recommendations about how to shape America's new approach and influence global public opinion.

"Smart power" means a combination of "hard" military power and "the soft power" of cultural attraction. As Harvard's Joe Nye writes in the foreword, "While we need hard power to battle the [Islamist] extremists, we need the soft power of attraction to win the hearts and minds of the majority."

AMERICAN IDOL AFTER IRAQ: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (Wiley-Blackwell; $24.95; May 2009) goes beyond the abstraction of "soft power" by focusing on how America's global presence is actually experienced in the public imagination — and ignored by policymakers. Gardels points out, "In my travels, the powerful presence of American mass culture, even in the most remote spaces in China, Central America or Jordan, never ceases to amaze me. But what amazes me more is how the foreign policy establishment in the United States mostly ignored this vast influence of Hollywood and pop music in their analyses of America's role in the world."

According to the authors, the world sees America—for better and worse—largely through its mass culture. At the height of America’s “soft power” near the end of the cold war, they cite one French thinker saying “There is more power in blue jeans, rock and roll and movies than in the entire Red Army.” Yet today, in the Muslim world, they report, American women are often seen as “desperate housewives seeking sex in the city.”

Unlike most countries, the authors argue, America is seen not only for what it is and what it does, but through the images projected by Hollywood. Similarly, less than ten per cent of Americans travel abroad every year, and get most of their images and information about the outside world, and America's role in it, from Hollywood films. For the authors, this insularity and lack of knowledge about the world beyond our borders has enabled foreign policy disasters such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq.

If politics in the information age is about whose story wins, say Gardels and Medavoy, America's storytellers—Hollywood—have a starring role in reviving America's image in the world in the aftermath of the Bush years. They must be part of the “deep coalition” that will sustain “smart power” by closing the knowledge gap between Americans and the world.

Hollywood thus has a responsibility to educate (themselves and others), as well as entertain. The authors have hope that Hollywood will adapt to the "rise of the rest" by globalizing itself through films like Babel and Slumdog Millionaire, now slated for top honors at the Academy Awards. The authors predict that technological change, globalization and the growing prosperity around the world from Brazil to China will likely diminish America's global cultural dominance, "The John Wayne era assumption that America can write the script for the whole world has been forever foiled, both in Washington and Hollywood."

AMERICAN IDOL AFTER IRAQ: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (Wiley-Blackwell; $24.95; May 2009) is compelling material for pop culture fanatics, or “culture vultures,” as well as those interested in current affairs, foreign policy, and film studies. The authors draw upon the words of an eclectic range of well-known tastemakers and leaders to support their research, such as film directors Oliver Stone, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Francis Fukuyama, Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and (the recently assassinated) Benazir Bhutto.

See More
Buy Both and Save 25%!
+

American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age (US $26.95)

-and- Magnolia (US $22.95)

Total List Price: US $49.90
Discounted Price: US $37.42 (Save: US $12.48)

Buy Both
Cannot be combined with any other offers. Learn more.

Related Titles

Back to Top