History of Propaganda
August 31, 2017 2:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for your suggestions of a readable but reliable history of propaganda.
posted by roolya_boolya to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 


Would you accept a documentary series? The Century of the Self from Adam Curtis is excellent and I believe it's available on YouTube.
posted by hazyjane at 4:32 AM on August 31 [8 favorites]


+1 for the century of the self. Brilliant series.
posted by jenjen23 at 4:34 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


This is a go-to text for the propaganda component of philosophy critical thinking classes. History and theory combined.
posted by Beardman at 6:12 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Edward Bernays' "Propaganda" might be worth your time. Little harder to read (written in 1928) but an interesting read because at the time 'propaganda' wasn't considered a bad thing.
posted by Farce_First at 6:34 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


As a introductory summary, I enjoyed Phillip M. Taylor's "Munitions of the Mind"; it takes a broad view (western-centric, but starting with Ancient Greece and ending with the early 2000s and the invasion of Iraq) but is written in a highly efficient style (perhaps a little too much so, verging on dryness). The final chapters seem the most anachronistic but are still very interesting.
posted by alexandermatheson at 9:02 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


1. "Propaganda:The Formation of Men's Minds," by Jacques Ellul. (The introduction/forward alone is worth the price of the book).

2. "Propaganda" by Edward Bernaise (basically a straightforward manual for the modern, 20th Century propaganda/PR/advertising model still in use today.)

3. The Adam Curtis documentaries: "The Power of Nightmares" and "The Century of the Self," which includes actual interviews w Bernaise before his death. The Curtis docs have a sensationalist style, but are pretty mind-blowing (even to someone who has devoured Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky); viewers seem to love or hate his style. They were produced by the BBC but never aired in the US. Regularly posted to youtube (sometimes by Curtis himself IIRC) but youtube constantly takes down the full videos, leaving only clips. They are easy to find on bittorrent if you are ok using that distribution system, and can sometimes be found on DVD through public libraries.

4. I unfortunately cannot remember the titles now, but I used to read trade journals for advertising, which really shed a lot of light on how the model works. The same techniques are used to get people to buy laundry soap and sports cars, as are used to shift people's social and political attitudes, compel them to action or *in*action, secure votes, etc.
posted by ethical_caligula at 8:19 AM on September 1


They were produced by the BBC but never aired in the US. Regularly posted to youtube (sometimes by Curtis himself IIRC) but youtube constantly takes down the full videos, leaving only clips. They are easy to find on bittorrent if you are ok using that distribution system, and can sometimes be found on DVD through public libraries.

My friend, let me introduce you to thoughtmaybe.

Thank you for your helpful answers.
posted by roolya_boolya at 10:36 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]


« Older First aid class in NYC (or other resources) for...   |   Just the books, Google, only the books! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments