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In this engrossing analysis of modern imagery, Adatto chronicles the rise of America's "photo-op culture" and the explosion of social networking sites, image-conscious photography and the guerrilla war between gaffe-seeking journalists and self-aware politicians. Average citizens are bombarded with so many sleek and produced images a day, they've lost track of authenticity, according to Adatto. Paying particular attention to the photo op's political influence, she compares coverage of the 1968 campaign between Nixon, Humphrey and Wallace with the showdown between Dukakis and Bush in 1988, demonstrating how, in a mere 20 years, photo-ops and sound bites had transformed news. Adatto doesn't delve as heavily into contemporary elections; however, she scrutinizes some of the most well-known images from the invasion of Iraq (George W. Bush posing under the "Mission Accomplished" banner; the photos of prisoner abuse from Abu Ghraib), and her solid grasp and interpretation of pertinent pop culture from Bogart to Warhol to the films Network and The Truman Show amply compensate for the lapse. This book is an admirable analysis of the role of the image in modern culture and an eloquent defense of why words still matter. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.