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American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age Paperback – April 20, 2009

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American Idol After Iraq: Competing for Hearts and Minds in the Global Media Age + American Avatar: The United States in the Global Imagination + Toward a New Public Diplomacy: Redirecting U.S. Foreign Policy (Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (April 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405187417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405187411
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,793,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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)

“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 text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"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

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Youden on July 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
America does need to understand better how "soft" power could be working for them internationally and regarding foreign affairs, rather than the easy-to-resort-to "hard" power, currently their primary PR game plan. And Hollywood's role, which is the premise of this book, does play an influential position here on how America, its culture, values and policies, is viewed by other countries. I just don't know if what they had to say actually needed a "book" to say it, its more like a short report. I would have liked to have seen more regarding soft power and how it could be implemented, perhaps I need to read Professor Nye's book for that (he wrote the foreward). When I read what Greg Mortenson has managed to accomplish in Pakistan and Afghanistan in Three Cups of Tea, for so little, why isn't America doing more of this. It is amazing the good will, the soft power that America has lost over the past few years. Perhaps this book will at least get the powers of Hollywood enlightened, I would think this was the writer's primary intended reader, in the first place.
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More About the Author

Nathan Gardels is a senior adviser at the Nicolas Berggruen Institute. He is the founding editor of New Perspectives Quarterly and has served as editor of Global Viewpoint and Nobel Laureates Plus (services of Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media) since 1989. These services have a worldwide readership of 35 million in 15 languages.

Gardels has written for The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Harper's and the New York Review of Books, as well as Corriere della Sera, El Pais, Le Figaro, Straits Times, Yomiuri Shimbun, O'Estado de Sao Paulo, The Guardian, Die Welt and many others.

Since 1986, Gardels has been a Media Fellow of the World Economic Forum (Davos). He has lectured at the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) in Rabat, Morocco, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China. Gardels was a founding member at the New Delhi meeting of Intellectuels du Monde and a visiting researcher at the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow before the end of the Cold War. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council.

From 1983 to 1985, Gardels was executive director of the Institute for National Strategy where he conducted policy research at the USA-Canada Institute in Moscow, the People's Institute of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, the Swedish Institute in Stockholm and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Bonn. Prior to this, he spent four years as adviser to Governor Jerry Brown of California on economic affairs, with an emphasis on public investment, trade issues, the Pacific Basin and Mexico.

Gardels holds degrees in Theory and Comparative Politics and in Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lilly, and two sons, Carlos and Alexander.

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