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Public Opinion [Paperback]

Walter Lippmann
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Jan 2008
Walter Lippmann is considered to be one of the great journalists of his time. In Public Opinion he discuses democratic theory and how people play a role in a democracy. The influence of the media on public opinion is also covered. This work has had a great influence on political science as a scholarly ursuit.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: www.bnpublishing.com (8 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9562916138
  • ISBN-13: 978-9562916134
  • Product Dimensions: 24.7 x 18.8 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was an American intellectual who was a writer, reporter, and political commentator, who twice was awarded, in 1958 and 1962, a Pulitzer Prize for his syndicated newspaper column, "Today and Tomorrow". --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible edition of good book 19 July 2011
With this one star review I am not criticising Lippmann's work, I am criticising BN Publishing's layout and design, the actual book as an object.

Try to buy a different edition of Public Opinion if you can, this one is ugly and difficult to read. The prose spreads so far across the page that it is difficult to read the last word of each line as it becomes engulfed by the crease of the spine. The page titles and the layout look incredibly amateurish and the paper feels incredibly cheap.

The dimensions of the book are also ridiculous. It is so wide, lines run on forever over a page and the book looks stupid, sticking out on the bookshelf far further than any other in your collection.

The glossy - almost mirrored - look of the cover just adds to the amateur, ugly look.

The prose of Public Opinion deserve a much better vessel than this shiny shambles.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to read this book 22 Feb 2012
A seminal work discussing how public opinion is formed - essentially arguing that normal folk are not capable of making rational decisions (such as relating to national interest & public policy), so we should be left to believe we have an influence, whilst the elite (who think they are more capable) make all the decisions in reality, and make us believe we want what they decide. It illustrates how democracy has been (and is increasingly) a charade. I don't agree with a lot of his arguments and conclusions, of course, but it gives invaluable insight. Extremely well written, and crucial reading for all who want to understand how we are being manipulated. (I can't vouch for this print/edition though, as mine was an old one not available here)
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as relevant today as it was in 1922! 1 May 1999
By A Customer
The measure of a great book is how well it stands the test of time. "Public Opinion" meets and exceeds that standard. It should be read by everyone who cares about the idea of American democracy. Walter Lippmann's insights will still be valuable in 2022. Highly recommnded.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic on Political and Social Thought 4 July 2004
By doomsdayer520 - Published on Amazon.com
Way back in 1922, Walter Lippmann analyzed the nature of public opinion with many valuable insights that still hold true today. Note that most of the historical references Lippmann uses to illustrate his theories are from World War I and surrounding events, and some aspects of the political environment of the time are totally irrelevant today. However, this book rises above the confines of its time. Lippmann dealt in an interdisciplinary method that is extremely rare, if not structurally impossible, in today's academic environment. His basic treatise is in the realm of political science but ably brings in supporting theories and knowledge from psychology, sociology, communications, history, and logic. Lippmann's then-current style of writing is also nearly impossible to find in today's social science writing, with a flowing prose loaded with references to classic literature and frequent use of imagined characters and scenarios. Part VI offers a surprisingly no-holds-barred examination of the American political system that is refreshingly free of today's unyielding us-and them ideologies. This feat of the intellect, just slightly outdated in its specific examples but not in its underlying insights, is a powerhouse treatise on how public opinion is constructed and influenced by social trends, politics, and media. [~doomsdayer520~]
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars www.sportofdistraction.com 5 Nov 2005
By D. Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
In PUBLIC OPINION, we have 1 of the foundational texts in the forming of present day public relations. According to all I've read on Walter Lippmann, he was the most influential pundit of his era, so to read his assessment of the public's opinion & what it's worth & how it must be tamed, we (the readers) are being given access to the core elements that lead to what we know today as government & business propaganda.

Lippmann was part of the Creel Committee, whose job it was to sell the idea that America should get involved in World War I to the American people...so the importance of peeking into the thought processes behind that campaign of pro-war propaganda is a priceless opportunity.

If you wish to understand what those in power actually think of the public's importance in a democracy (or democratic republic), make sure you read this book...twice!
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's Pundits have Nothing on this Guy... 23 Oct 2004
By Rebecca M. Henely - Published on Amazon.com
In this book, the first pundit Walter Lippmann speaks about the journalism, democracy, and the American people - creating a picture that's not pretty but remains very true up until this day. Lippmann's style may be difficult for some, but those who endeavour to read will find it fascinating.

Through the book, Lippmann talks about how there is no real public opinion, how most people have a very limited view of the government, and how the government synthesizes complex views into either-or issues (i.e. "pro-life" v.s. "pro-choice"). The journalists, who should help the American people understand the issue, end up doing little at all. Lippmann offers no real solutions in this book, but for anyone who wants a wake-up call for what's wrong with the government, they should spurn Michael Moore and Ann Coulter and turn to this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars excellent book but horrible printing 16 May 2011
By sxcx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been looking for a decent printing of this incredible book for a long time, but I was foiled again. It seems that this hard-cover Kessinger Publishing version was produced without any quality control whatsoever. Some of the flaws in the printing cause entire pages to be unreadable. The printing of this edition is so deeply flawed it's at the point of being infuriating.

Here are only some of the problems I found -

- Some pages are "wavy" and blurred to the point of being absolutely unreadable. What is said on these pages, I will never know. This flaw resembles what would happen if one were to copy a document on a photocopier while pulling the document out at the same time.

- Random pages are printed with a very dark grey background - making the text quite difficult to see.

- Literally every other page of the book has a strange printing flaw where, at the top of these pages, there is a strange image - something that resembles an accidental, nonsensical banner ad. It's quite large. It seems as if in this image, the mechanics of the scanning equipment are visible. Interesting in it's own weird way I suppose, but very unprofessional and distracting.

Somebody didn't care.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Briiliant thinker, brilliant book. 23 Nov 2008
By Alex M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lippman is sadly under-appreciated these days, I hadn't even heard his name until the past year, when, while working on my dissertation, I came across this book. Written in lucid, clear prose, yet dealing with incredibly complex theoretical and philosophical issues, Public Opinion argues that not only is there not really an agreed-upon "Public Opinion," but that people rarely even understand what they think they know, let alone what they can agree upon with other people. Lippman persuasively demonstrates that opinions are formed in such a way that they have little or no bearing upon "really existing" facts and truth most of the time, and instead are ill-informed, vague, and haphazard in their application of rational thought. Lippman closes by arguing that, since no one has the time or ability to be as informed as they are expected to be on every issue, what is needed is a group of intellectuals dedicated towards improving the quality of media we receive; a sort of "filter" which can correct misperceptions and inform the public at large. (Although, in his subsequent Lippman becomes even more pessimistic, arguing that there is no such thing as "the public".) This book is a must-read for those fascinated by media, politics, or even more general philosophical/culture questions.
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