New book out in May: Citizen Hollywood
My new book, Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between LA and DC Revolutionized American Politics, is out in May - and you can read all about it in the Citizen Hollywood page of this website.
I argue that understanding Hollywood is key to understanding the partisan, ideological, personality-focused mess in Washington DC. To most people, Hollywood activism consists of self-obsessed movie stars promoting their pet causes, whether it be marijuana legalization or Second Amendment rights. There’s some truth in that stereotype, and in this book you’ll find the close personal friends of Fidel Castro, the wannabe cowboys, and the ever ubiquitous Barbra Streisand. But Citizen Hollywood makes a far more serious case: that Hollywood’s influence in Washington runs deeper and affects the country’s government more than most of us ever imagined.
Celebrity activism exerts a subtle power over the American political process. And that pressure is nothing new. Through money, networking, and image making, the movie industry has shaped the way that politics works for nearly a century. It has helped to forge a culture that is obsessed with celebrity and spectacle. And in return, politicians have become part of the fabric of Hollywood society and catered to the wishes of their newfound friends and fundraisers.
Using original archival research and exclusive interviews with stars, directors, producers, and politicians from both parties, Citizen Hollywood shows that the only way to understand the image-obsessed, volatile politics of modern America is to understand the hidden history of Hollywood’s influence on Washington.
You can find pre-order it on Amazon
And on BAM
I am a leader writer, columnist and blogger for the Daily Telegraph (and its sister newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph). I specialize in politics and history, and you can find my newspaper webpage here. I live in London and Washington, with infrequent visits to the "Disneyland of perversion" that is Los Angeles (Gore Vidal's words, not mine).
I trained in history at Trinity College, Cambridge. I taught US history at Sussex, London and Oxford, and did a research fellowship at Royal Holloway and a brief visiting fellowship at Harvard. After several years as an academic, I started blogging for the Daily Telegraph as part of its coverage of the 2012 US presidential election. Eventually, I turned into a full time journalist.
I've also written for Dissent, The Guardian, The Atlantic, CNN, The American Conservative and The Spectator. And appeared on the BBC, CNN, Sky and Channel 4. In 2012, I made the critically praised documentary for BBC2 called Family Guys, exploring what sitcoms tell us about modern America.
I am very, very Catholic and my politics are right-of-centre. I love America, along with South Park, Doctor Who, unintelligible French cinema, dogs, freedom, liberty, apple pie, baseball, and Calvin Coolidge. Best. President. Ever.