Star Power

The Impact of Branded Celebrity

by Aaron Barlow, Editor


When fame is not enough, what's a star to do?

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Cover image for Star Power

August 2014


Pages 548
Volumes 2
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Icons and Celebrities
  Popular Culture/Film

Stars do have real power, but not all of them wield it wisely. This work explores how a variety of celebrities developed their brands and how celebrity can become a jumping-off point to entirely unrelated activities.

Over the past century, a new breed of entertainer has arisen—one where the old division between on-camera talent and the suits behind the scenes has largely eroded. From Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin to Lady Gaga and Quentin Tarantino, entertainers have attempted to cross specialties and platforms to new arenas, from politics to philanthropy and more. An ideal resource for general readers as well as students of American popular culture and media at the undergraduate through scholar level, Star Power: The Impact of Branded Celebrity details the new ways entertainers are working in expanded environments to broaden their brands while also providing the history behind this recent trend.

The two-volume set comprises four main sections: one that provides historical background, a second on entertainers moving beyond stardom, a third focused on commerce and education, and a final section on cultural missions. The work documents how earlier entertainers "set the stage" for today's stars by exploiting their celebrity to take greater artistic control of their projects and provides articles that depict each artist from a number of perspectives. Readers will understand what motivates the most important contemporary entertainers working today and better grasp the business of entertainment as a whole—how Hollywood works, and who is really in control.


  • Connects artists to their frequent collaborators, giving readers the benefit of an expansive introduction that leads logically into an advanced discussion of each star
  • Documents how pioneering individuals such as Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood expand their professional activities, thereby setting the precedent for what is now commonplace: the performer as writer, director, producer, and brand
  • Covers a broad range of individuals, including Ezra Pound, Charlie Chaplin, Mario Puzo, Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Fran Drescher, and even President Theodore Roosevelt
Author Info

Aaron Barlow, PhD, is associate professor of English at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) and faculty editor of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) magazine Academe. His published works include Praeger's The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth; Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children; and Quentin Tarantino: Life at the Extremes. Barlow holds a doctorate in English from the University of Iowa.

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