This book seems perfect for the viewers of this site. Just as this site investigates the various aspects of the show, so does this book. In fact it seems to investigate from a meta standpoint and so it would supplement this site. Here are our comments on the various articles within the book:
As we go through we will quote from the various chapters. Here is the Table of Contents (also see other reviews):
- "The collection of articles published here should help attune readers to both the sensibilities necessary to appreciate the nuances of The West Wing and the warnings appropriate to avoid misreading them."
"...it seems clear that the fundamental attraction of The West Wing for Americans is its promise that, despite our failings and lapses, our system is still... a lighthouse. Such an appeal to our better selves is both refreshing and chastening."
- Focusing on Issues
- 1. The West Wing: White House Narratives That Journalism Cannot Tell - Donnalyn Pompper
- Quotes TV Guide saying that the show "'is really about palace intrigue, about what we imagine goes on that doesn't make it into the news.'"
"For one hour a week, Americans overcome political malaise and feel connected to the presidency...."
"...White House staffers are portrayed as witty, sarcastic, and intelligent, yet frail, vulnerable humans...."
- 2. The White House Culture of Gender and Race in The West Wing: Insights from the Margins - Christina Lane
- "...the camera work and lighting imply a deep televisual frame filled with ambiguity and confusion."
"...the recurring theme that a personal code of duty should serve larger political and collective goals.... The West Wing looks for opportunities to connect local to global, personal self-involvement to long-range sociopolitical change, narrative complexity to moral consequence, and fictional policy to real life ramifications."
"...the series makes clear that Mrs. Landingham has help mold Bartlet into the leader he is today...."
- 3. The West Wing (NBC) and The West Wing (D.C.): Myth and Reality in Television's Portrayal of the White House - Myron A. Levine
- "In fact, much of The West Wing's portrait is accurate and provides a much-needed counter to the anti-Washington stereotyping and presidency-bashing that is so much a part of pre-9/11 American political culture."
"...it is enjoyable, interesting television that presents a highly positive and idealized view of public service and liberal presidential politics."
"Jed Bartlet is the idealized liberal, antipolitician who must speak the truth."
Quotes Sorkin: "'There, by and large, aren't good guys and bad guys. You're talking bout very lerarned people capable of arguing both sides of an issue, and it's that process that I enjoy dramatizing.'"
- 4.The King's two Bodies: Identity and Office in Sorkin's West Wing - Heather Richardson Hayton
- "...Sorkin's West Wing.... refuses our impulse to separate man from office --- refusing, on almost every level, to allow us to divorce the character of Josiah 'Jed' Bartlet from his job as President of the United States of America. The West Wing forces us to see the people in the White House as real human begins who struggle with the 'boundaries between public and private, in jobs where they are always on duty, and always in the spotlight.'"
"Virtually every episode of the series grapples with... Jed Bartlet's ongoing efforts to act for, and in the spirt of, the office and as the certainly fallible man."
- Language and Structure in The West Wing
- 5. Dialogue, Deliberation, and Discourse: The Far-Reaching Politics of the West Wing - Samuel A. Chambers
- 6. The West Wing's Textual President: American Constitutional Stability and the New Public Intellectual in the Age of Information - Patrick Finn
- 7. The Left Takes Back the Flag: The Steadicam, the Snippet, and the
Song in The West Wing's "In Excelsis Deo" - Greg M. Smith
- 8. From The American President to The West Wing: A Scriptwriter's Perspective - Jason P. Vest
- Perceptions of The West Wing
- 9. The Sincere Sorkin White House, or, The Importance of Seeming Earnest - Pamela Ezell
- 10. The West Wing as a Pedagogical Tool: Using Drama to Examine American Politics and Media Perceptions of Our Political System - Staci Beavers
- 11. Victorian Parliamentary Novels, The West Wing, and Professionalism - Michelle Mouton
- Critical Responses: West Wing Press Reviews
- 12. Inside The West Wing's New World - Sharon Waxman
- 13. The Feel-Good Presidency: The Pseudo Politics of The West Wing - Chris Leyman
- 14. The Liberal Imagination - John Podhoretz
- Bibliographical Overview
- 15. The Transformed Presidency: People and Power in the Real West Wing - Myron A. Levine
The West Wing: The American Presidency as Television Drama Edited by Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor is available from Amazon in Paperback and in Hardcover.
- Also available from Amazon UK for Europe in Paperback and in Hardcover.
- And from Amazon Canada in Paperback and in Hardcover.
- Other reviews of the book: