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Propaganda [Paperback]

Edward L. Bernays
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2004
With politics taking centre stage due to the US presidential election, the time is perfect for a reprint of this classic work from Edward Bernays, the father of public relations and political spin and the man who designed the ad campaign that got the United States involved in World War I. Written in 1928, this was the first book to discuss the manipulation of the masses and democracy by government spin and propaganda.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing; New Ed edition (1 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970312598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970312594
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.1 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sociology for the real world 9 Aug 2005
Bernays is considered as one of the originators of the modern Public Relations industry. If you work in PR, it is essential reading. But it also serves as a dramatic sociological text, full of hard truths about the reality of modern life. This is the reason why Noam Chomsky recommends this book so strongly.
Bernays, as one would expect from the most successful propagandist of the 20th century, has a thorough grasp of psychology and sociology. His psychological view is based on "Uncle Siggy" - his Uncle Sigmund Freud. The origin of his sociological views, however, are less clear, but he shares the views of many liberal thinkers that a real democracy is a danger to be avoided, and not an ideal to be sought.
Bernays likes to point out the fact that we like to think that we are "free", but we are often led by the "experts": in business, in politics, in science, philosophy, ethics. The PR agent serves the interests of the minority who control the interests and habits of the masses (what Bernays calls the "invisible Government"), by using the media industry itself, without its exclicit knowledge.
He describes an example from the fashion industry that is so obvious, that one feels very stupid in not noticing it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enlightening read 28 Feb 2013
By Mr V
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone and everyone.

Edward Bernays is known as ‘the father of public relations’ and is undoubtedly one of the most influential men of the 20th century. In this book he promotes the newly emerging field of propaganda and PR as a necessary and good thing, vital to the functioning of a modern democratic society. The target audience is clearly the businessmen and politicians that form his client-group. It is interesting to see the author plainly and matter-of-factly discuss things that would now get anyone labelled a conspiracy theorist – the need for hidden government and manipulation of the common herd so that they do not interfere with the needs of industry and the elite. Even if you are familiar with these kinds of topics already, it is eye-opening to see them presented not by aforementioned conspiracy theorists and activists, but by a passionate advocate and architect of the methods now applied globally to maintain control of society at large.

It should be studied in schools, both as a historical work and also to help arm young people against the assault of psychological warfare we are confronted with each time we walk down the high street, enter a supermarket, open a magazine or newspaper, turn on the TV or listen to the radio.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic PR Textbook 3 Dec 2010
By William Cohen VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Edward Bernays is certainly a man with self-assurance. He describes the machinery by which our perceptions are managed by our 'invisible governors'. And indeed our world has been created by the techniques he describes. But there is a certain amount of hubris in what he's written, and as Adam Curtis explains in 'The Century of the Self' he used his skills for dubious ends. It's certainly a ground-breaking book, but you wonder if Governments and businesses can control the messages in the way he describes in the era of social media and the internet. Also, as we saw in the Iraq war, the truth comes out in the end, and once you've deceived the people once, it's not so easy a second time. Still, it's good to know how the dark arts work, and Bernays is an excellent writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A crucial insight into how society functions 22 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that I've wanted to read for years, as a primary reference to understand how the world really operates. It's great to read books and to watch documentaries which talk about these things, but you can only truly appreciate what's going on around you when you go straight to the source. And Edward Bernays, the early 20th century propagandist who used the psychological insights of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to transform the propaganda industry into what we now call "public relations", is one of the most crucial primary sources. Interest on his life and work have been reinvigorated within recent years, due to activists such as Noam Chomsky citing him as a pivotal spearhead of the Big Brother society, and an award winning BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, `Century of the Self'.

This short book, `Propaganda', is essentially propaganda for propaganda. By the 1920s, the once neutral word "propaganda" had been tainted with the same connotations it still has until now. Bernays, a professional propagandist, tasked himself with the mission of giving acceptability back to what he considered a legitimate advertising technique. This was back before he would realise that the word would never become fashionable again, replacing it with "public relations", or P.R.(opaganda). And, so, this short book acts essentially as an advertisement for "educated Americans", to teach them of the value of propaganda. The first half of the book is basically an apology for propaganda, and the wise men behind the scenes that we have "consented" to employ it for "our own good", to sway our opinions into the right direction and to prevent chaos from ensuing as a result of having no wise guidance in our lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading 30 Jan 2011
By Rafa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Though we all are subject to the phenomenon of propaganda on a daily basis, this book is still essential reading. You recognize all of what Bernays is writing. And now with the Wikileaks in the news currently, one is confronted all the more with propaganda. It is a very a very simple mechanism: you tell one thing, you do the other thing and you do not inform about the latter.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Pleasantly surprised in how much information is in this book, excellent quick read, good information and broadens the mind in a well resourced way
Published 2 months ago by Yvette Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling
The reason to be in favour of this book, is in its availability, because it summarises (in a manner accessible to school children) from whence the psychological warfare we face in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Daniel Rozman
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written - typo city !!!
I was disappointed by this pamphlet of a book. Badly written and full of typos. It is not an easy read and gives little insight into PR beyond bland obvious statement. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Hard to please
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile read
If you appreciate the context of when this book was written and the background of the author you appreciate this book for what appears to be a genuine attempt to provide insight. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Emma Buss
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read
I would recommend everyone read stuff like this then take a look at what;s happening around them. A small step but worth it.
Published 19 months ago by Patsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, often misunderstood
This is a fascinating book, which is often misunderstood. The book does not advocate propaganda, as it is currently understood, but argues for a return to the pre-WW1 definition of... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Alex Singleton (
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little expo of the subject
I bought this on a whim, because I am interested in propaganda and I had heard of Bernays from a TV documentary I watched. Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2010 by Mr. J. N. White
3.0 out of 5 stars inform yourself
It is a useful book to inform yourelsves of the subtle and at times subliminal techniques of persuasion used on us. Read more
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by Fin Hope
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Insight
Shows just WHY we have all been propagandised into believing such fallacies as 'global warming' in order for those at the top to make huge profits from taxes on us breathing... Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by D. Thompson
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