2016 Best Book Runner-up: Gregory Frame, The American President in Film and Television: Myth and Representation (Peter Lang)
Comments by the panel:
An assuredly deft and engaging exploration of how presidential figures function in American film and television, Gregory’s book is anchored in textual readings and it hits the right note – whether he is discussing the Capraesque tendencies in the comedy Dave, offering a focused appreciation of the looming presence of Martin Sheen, or unpacking issues of race and gender (in particularly persuasive chapters on black and women presidents). In Gregory’s own words the book ‘looks to engage fully with the politics of representation in the Representation of Politics’, and it is completely successful in that mission.
This is a fascinating and thoroughly researched analysis of films/TV series with US presidents. Gregory rejects any notion that there should be historical verisimilitude, and shows how the images are embedded in cultural and Hollywood stereotypes. Although all good, the best chapters for this reviewer are those that focus on black presidents or female presidents.
A highly accessible and engaging read of the sometimes complex to-ing and fro-ing of on-screen Presidents vis a vis their constructions in real and popular culture lives, which he rightly problematizes from the outset. The analysis and argument in relation to black and female Presidents is a welcome addition to the growing literature in this area.