The Sage Handbook of Political Advertising

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The Sage Handbook of Political Advertising. Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006. 492 pp. $125 hbk.

Editors of The Sage Handbook of Political Advertising, Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha, bring strong credentials to the role of editors. Former director of the Political Communication Center at the University of Oklahoma and current professor at the University of Florida, Lynda Lee Kaid has written or edited more than twenty previous books on political communication. Coauthor Christina Holtz-Bacha is professor at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany and has also co-written or edited more than twenty books.

It is important to state at the outset that The Sage Handbook of Political Advertising stresses international political advertising and is devoted to covering political advertising in Germany, the Nordic and Baltic States, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Turkey, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, West Africa, and South Africa. Most of these chapters are written by academics residing in the respective countries, providing the advantage of having the information explained from an insider's view.

A final chapter, written by the editors, is called "Comparisons and Conclusions," but it is one chapter out of twenty-seven, and the reader is left wanting more synthesis. For the researcher studying political advertising in specific countries, however, it is an important reference work. It would also be a useful book for a graduate-level political communication class in that one could use the individual chapters covering different countries as a springboard for discussion, perhaps assigning each student to present a report to the class on a different country.

Chapter 1, written by the book's editors, is called "Political Advertising in International Comparison," a title that could have served as the title of the book. This first chapter is essentially a forward; the editors explain how the book is laid out and how the countries are grouped. Specifically, the editors divided the countries into four groups. The first is the U.S. system, the only system where political advertising is totally supported by commercial and private interests. The second group of countries is those where broadcast time is provided free to political candidates, but candidates have no other recourse for obtaining direct broadcast coverage. The third group is a combination of the previous two, while the fourth group examines political advertising in what is called emerging democracies. …