Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks Book Cover Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks
David Welch (Editor)
Non-Fiction
I.B.Tauris
Aug. 30 2015
Paperback
272 pages

As Philip Taylor has written, ‘The challenge (of the modern information age) is to ensure that no single propaganda source gains monopoly over the information and images that shape our thoughts. If this happens, the war propagandists will be back in business again.’ Propaganda came of age in the Twentieth Century. The development of mass-and multi-media offered a fertile ground for propaganda while global conflict provided the impetus needed for its growth. Propaganda has however become a portmanteau word, which can be interpreted in a number of different ways. What are the characteristic features of propaganda, and how can it be defined? The distinguished contributors to this book trace the development of techniques of ‘opinion management’ from the First World War to the current conflict in Afghanistan. They reveal how state leaders and spin-doctors operating at the behest of the state, sought to shape popular attitudes―at home and overseas―endeavouring to harness new media with the objective of winning hearts and minds. The book provides compelling evidence of how the study and practice of propaganda today is shaped by its history.

Most of the propaganda books I have read to date have been by a single author – which is one of the reasons why Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks was such a nice change of pace.

Academic writing can be a bit dry, but the condensed nature of these chapters, each sharing a short glimpse into different aspects and examples of propaganda up until pretty recently made for a good, engaging read. Overall, every chapter, except one, was well-worth the time, making this a highly recommended reading for those who want a practical introduction into propaganda and how it is changing with the times.

What makes this book great are the different perspectives tackling the subject, including a look at British military doctrine in relation to propaganda by Dr. Kate Utting.

Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks is available at Amazon.

About Author

Alicia Wanless

La Generalista is the online identity of Alicia Wanless – a researcher and practitioner of strategic communications for social change in a Digital Age.

Alicia researches how we shape — and are shaped — by a changing information space. As the Director of Strategic Communications at The SecDev Foundation, Alicia develops campaigns and strategies for engaging beneficiaries in outreach and behavioural change. Her work includes developing a training program that deals with verifying information and the spread of content online, and has supported projects in the Middle East, Vietnam and the post-Soviet space.

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