War and Television
Television has come to play an ever more decisive role in the preparation and planning of war, as well as in its execution. In War and Television ... Show synopsis Television has come to play an ever more decisive role in the preparation and planning of war, as well as in its execution. In War and Television Bruce Cumings carefully explores the history of television's relationship to US warmaking since World War II, up to and including its presentation of the carnage in Kuwait and Iraq. Cumings examines Vietnam, long thought to have been the first television war, but finds that characterization more apt for the Gulf conflict which was fought through, packaged by, and sold to the public on television. At the centre of the book is the extraordinary tale of Cumings's own experience as historical consultant to a Thames Television production, Korea: The Unknown War, and his subsequent trials with the Public Broadcasting System when the film was released for North American distribution. Through the alternately funny and tragic story of the struggle with an assortment of media executives, retired soldiers, bureaucrats from both Koreas and various public figures (including a hilarious account of an interview with Henry Kissinger), Cumings shows how the film was shaped by media managers on both sides of the Atlantic to conform to prevailing views of a war that few in the United States or Britain wish to remember with anything approaching accuracy. Today there is no shortage of prognostications - grim or otherwise - on the role of television. But there are few serious studies of the medium's everyday operations, let alone of its place in politics and warfare. With insight and clarity, Bruce Cumings provides that much-needed analysis. This is a vital book for those who want to understand how, and for whom, television works, and a sobering one for anyone whobelieves the medium can be used for radical ends.