Naval War College Review


This is a wonderful, wonderful book. It is very much more than even its title and subtitle suggest. And it’s a great read even though it deals with subjects and policy debates about which most of us would rather not think because they’re either upsetting, or too complicated, or both. The first half of the book is devoted to the image of America that our low (and getting lower all the time) popular culture projects worldwide. When I embarked on reading it, I was intimidated by how much of our popular culture Martha Bayles proposed to cover in detail by focusing on (seemingly) so many individual products. I felt I already knew how vulgar and vile the movies and television shows we export are. When the author started in on Sex in the City, I thought, “Well, better her than me at least: somebody needs to know about this particular offense, but not me.”