Patriot GamesIssue: Spring 2006
Despite the enormous advances of the Information Age, it is still far from
simple to obtain a clear snapshot of popular sentiment in another country.
While easily accessible, government statements and statistical reports are
frequently designed for foreign consumption, and the works of academics and
journalists often adhere closely to an official line. Yet there is another
source, hidden virtually in plain sight, through which analysts and
policymakers can overcome governments' carefully managed efforts to shape
the perception of their countries: popular culture.
Since they are written according to the demands not of literary scholars but
of consumers, popular works are closely reflective of prevailing attitudes
of the time and place of their creation. This tight link is no less true of
the political thriller genre. Perhaps best exemplified in the United States
by the novels of Tom Clancy, political thrillers incorporate real-world
developments into narratives accessible-and believable-to a general