Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review: The West Wing

Title: The West Wing: The American Presidency As Television Drama (The Television Series)
Author: O'Connor, John E.
Peter C. Rollins
Rating: ****
Tags: essays, west wing, television, media, politics

This book is a collection of mostly academic papers on the television show The West Wing. The book was published in 2003, and the show didn't end until 2006, so it only concerns the first few seasons. It would be interesting to know how different the essays would be if considering the series as a whole, and it would also be interesting to know if the book had any influence on the direction of the series.

I love the show, so my reading is biased. Some essays are more favorable to the show than others. Of the criticisms, I agree with some and some I don't agree with. Several of the essays made the point that the characters in the show weren't subject to as much jockeying for power and position as real White House staffers are, and I think that's valid. However, I also think part of Aaron Sorkin's idea for the series is to present an idealized model that could inspire future generations of leaders.

The book is divided into four sections: Focusing on the Issues (four essays), Language and Structure in the West Wing (four essays), Perception of the West Wing (three essays), Critical Responses: West Wing Press Reviews (three essays), plus a Bibliographic Overview. There is one index for the book as a whole.

Probably only of interest if you are a fan of the show and a bit wonkish.

Editor – O'Connor, John E.
Publication Syracuse University Press (2003), Edition: 1, Paperback, 272 pages
Publication date 2003
ISBN 081563031X / 9780815630319

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