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The World Is Our Stage

The Global Rhetorical Presidency and the Cold War

A fresh account of the US presidential rhetoric embodied in Cold War international travel.
Crowds swarm when US presidents travel abroad, though many never hear their voices. The presidential body, moving from one secured location to another, communicates as much or more to these audiences than the texts of their speeches. In The World is Our Stage, Allison M. Prasch considers how presidential appearances overseas broadcast American superiority during the Cold War. Drawing on extensive archival research, Prasch examines five foundational moments in the development of what she calls the “global rhetorical presidency:” Truman at Potsdam, Eisenhower’s “Goodwill Tours,” Kennedy in West Berlin, Nixon in the People’s Republic of China, and Reagan in Normandy. In each case, Prasch reveals how the president’s physical presence defined the boundaries of the “Free World” and elevated the United States as the central actor in Cold War geopolitics.


“A must-read book for scholars and students of political communication, the presidency, and international relations, Prasch’s The World Is Our Stage adds ‘going global’ to the critical lexicon and provocatively refashions our understanding of how the global rhetorical presidency shaped the Cold War and post–Cold War world.”

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, author of 'Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President; What We Don't, Can’t, and Do Know'

The World Is Our Stage is an engaging and insightful analysis of how presidents exploited emergent media and transportation technologies to create and sustain an audience for the image of the US as the ‘leader of the free world’ during the Cold War. Focusing on this moment of national unity in foreign policy, this book will be of interest to general readers and scholars with interests in the US presidency, foreign relations, the Cold War, and the rhetorical construction of politics.”

Mary E. Stuckey, author of 'Deplorable: The Worst Presidential Elections from Jefferson to Trump'

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 The Global Rhetorical Presidency
2 Truman at Potsdam
3 Eisenhower and the “Good Will” Tours
4 Kennedy in West Berlin
5 Nixon and the “Opening to China”
6 Reagan at Normandy

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