American Presidents and Oliver Stone

Kennedy, Nixon, and Bush between History and Cinema

Carl Freedman

American Presidents and Oliver Stone

Carl Freedman

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

220 pages | 6 x 9
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9781789382624 Published October 2020 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe

Perhaps no current filmmaker has made more provocative films about American history than Oliver Stone. In this book, Carl Freedman gives a detailed and nuanced account of the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush as fictionalized in Stone’s biographical films JFK, Nixon, and W. Synthesizing film criticism with political and historical analysis, American Presidents and Oliver Stone transcends the limitations of formalism and empiricism, reflecting on both Stone’s achievements as a filmmaker and American politics of the past sixty years.

Offering detailed historical perspectives alongside careful aesthetic criticism, Freedman explores how Stone uses melodrama, tragedy, and farce to transform politics into national mythology. Wide-ranging, accessible, and highly original, American Presidents is sure to engage anyone interested in the intersection of American politics and cinema.




To Assassinate a Movie

JFK:  American Melbourne

Precursor-Texts:  Rashomon and Citizen Kane

JFK:  Conspiracy

JFK:  Father-Leader

JFK:  Son-Avenger


From Kennedy to Nixon

From Melodrama to Tragedy

From JFK to Nixon

Nixon:  Personal Tragedy

Nixon:  National Tragedy

Nixon:  American Tragedy



From Tragedy to Farce

W.:  The Man

W.:  The War


Review Quotes
Daniel Lindvall, Film International
"It shines through in virtually every paragraph that Freedman knows his subject(s). . . . This book has the potential to become not only a great source on its subject, but a model of how to approach historical fiction in general."
Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University
"A powerful critical reflection on Stone's achievements as a filmmaker, and a deeply insightful reflection on American politics of the past sixty years. . . . Careful attention to detail, combined with its broad vision and explanatory scope, make it an impressive and indeed essential book."
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