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Propaganda

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Horace Liveright (1928)
  • ASIN: B000NR8354
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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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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Format: Paperback
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.
Read.
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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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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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Format: Paperback
It is a useful book to inform yourelsves of the subtle and at times subliminal techniques of persuasion used on us.
Inform yourself to innoculate yourself so that you will not be mislead.
Bernays and the people in power, are wrong to think that real democracy is a dangerous thing. Its only dangerous to them because it challenges their priviliges and greed.
what we need desperately is a real deomcracy ie govt by for of the people not by for of the mulitnational corporations and their bought politicians which we have now.
This present day recession is a prime example of how we are persuaded to go along with their agenda of cuts to our public services, lower wages, worse work conditions, targetting the poor, etc. Dont believe the hype. The recession was made by the financial elites on purpose and there is absolutely no need for these cuts.
911 was an excuse to go to war and clamp down on civil libertie. The recession is an excuse to impoverish us whilst the rich get richer.
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