Selling War in a Media Age The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century (Hardcover)
|Author: Kenneth (EDT)/ Frank Osgood||Editor: Kenneth Osgood Andrew K. Frank||Afterword: David Halberstam|
From the Publisher:
"This excellent book is required reading for anyone interested in how American presidents have tried to sell war."---Steven Casey, author of Selling the Korean War||"A deeply penetrating and instructive volume. Osgood and Frank have assembled a stellar cast of scholars to address a topic of critical interpretive importance: how U.S. presidents over the past century have sought to manipulate public opinion in support of America's wars. The conclusions are sobering---for our understanding of the past and the implications for tomorrow."---Fredrik Logevall, Cornell University||"American history at its best---insightful and revealing about the past, yet at the same time illuminating the vital questions of our own day."---Jeffrey A. Engel, Texas A&M University||During the early years of the Iraq War, George W. Bush drew attention to the ways in which American presidents try to "sell" war to the public. The "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003 and the misleading linkages of Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 terrorist attacks awoke many Americans to the techniques used by the White House to put the country on a war footing. Yet Bush was simply following in the footsteps of his predecessors, as the essays in this standout volume reveal in illuminating detail.||Ever since William McKinley led the country to war with Spain in 1898, presidents have pioneered new methods for manipulating the media to manufacture consent for costly military and diplomatic ventures abroad. From the Spanish-American War to the War on Terror, each chapter in Selling War in a Media Age explores how modern presidents have attempted to influence, orchestrate, and coerce public understanding of matters of war and peace. The essays also demonstrate that these efforts often inspire skepticism and doubt among the public.||Like the war in Iraq, Korea and Vietnam were hard wars to sell---as was the largely forgotten yet terribly brutal campaign for the Philippines in McKinley's day. The Cold War---essentially a fifty-year war---likewise required constant selling by every American president from Truman to Reagan. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt toiled to maintain public morale during World War II.||This impressive collection assembles original contributions from some of the most preeminent American diplomatic historians working today. It also features the last written reflections of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam, whose early work covering the war in Vietnam made him an enemy of presidents Kennedy and Johnson.||Written in a lively and accessible style, Selling War in a Media Age is a fascinating, thought-provoking, must-read volume that reveals the often brutal ways that the goal of influencing public opinion has shaped how American presidents have approached the most momentous duty of their office: waging war.
The son of a doctor and a teacher, David Halberstam grew up in the New York area, went to Harvard, and immediately after graduating went to Mississippi for his first newspaper job--from which he was abruptly dismissed. His second job was with the legendary Nashville Tennessean, where he covered the civil rights movement and learned the craft of reporting from his colleagues. "With all due respect to the faculty," he told a 2005 Columbia University graduating class, ''in the end, journalists mostly teach each other." His experiences in the south eventually found their way into one of his many best-selling books, THE CHILDREN, in 1999. In 1960, Halberstam got a job with the New York Times and was sent to Vietnam, where his accurate reporting upset President Kennedy enough to cause him to complain to the newspaper's publisher (to no avail) and for which Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964. After leaving the Times, he embarked on perhaps the most noted book of his career, THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, published in 1972, which analyzed how the U.S. got mired in the Vietnam War as the result of bad decisions by supposedly gifted advisors, including McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Robert McNamara. | |Halberstam wrote primarily for magazines such as Harper's and Esquire, focusing on American life, and his books include a popular history, THE FIFTIES, and a book on media and power, THE POWERS THAT BE. Halberstam is also remembered for many books on sports, including THE SUMMER OF '49, which chronicles the rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, as well as OCTOBER, 1964, on the last days of the Yankee dynasty, and a book on rowing called THE AMATEURS. He wrote THE EDUCATION OF A COACH, a portrait of Bill Belichick, and was working on a book on the football player Y.A. Tittle when he was killed in a car accident in 2007. Those last books may reflect Halberstam's own dedication to the younger generations of journalists by sharing anecdotes and giving advice. In that same 2005 commencement address at Columbia, he advised the graduates to have courage in life and work, and to resist the efforts of others to scare them off: "Never, never, never let them intimidate you."