Randal MarlinPropaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion (Second Edition)

Broadview Press, 2013

by Bruce Wark on November 17, 2014

Randal Marlin

View on Amazon

It’s been 100 years since the start of the First World War, a conflict that cost millions of lives. In his recently revised book, Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion (2013), Randal Marlin writes that Britain pioneered propaganda techniques to sell that war that have been imitated ever since. He tells how the British spread a false story about Germans boiling the bodies of their dead soldiers in corpse factories. It was designed to paint Germany as a uncivilized, ghoulish nation that had to be fought. Marlin also tells how American propaganda during the First World War helped foster the modern public relations and advertising industries.

Marlin, who studied with the French propaganda theorist Jacques Ellul, sees propaganda as a manipulative exercise of power and he argues that in order to defend ourselves against it, we need to recognize its methods and techniques. His revised second edition analyzes how the Bush administration used fear to persuade Americans to support the invasion of Iraq.

The book traces the history of propaganda from ancient times to its present, post 9/11 forms

Randal Marlin is a professor of philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa.


Heather MenziesReclaiming the Commons for the Common Good: A Memoir and Manifesto

October 6, 2014

The Canadian author and scholar, Heather Menzies, has written a book about the journey she took to the highlands of Scotland in search of her ancestral roots. In Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good: A Memoir & Manifesto (New Society Publishers, 2014), Menzies outlines her discovery of a vanished way of life and argues [...]

Read the full article →

Jonathan SwartsConstructing Neoliberalism: Economic Transformation in Anglo-American Democracies

September 22, 2014

The new book, Constructing Neoliberalism: Economic Transformation in Anglo-American Democracies (University of Toronto Press, 2013) shows how political elites in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada successfully introduced radically new economic policies in the 1980s. While opinion polls have consistently showed that neoliberal policies are not popular, governments in all four countries have continued implementing an agenda [...]

Read the full article →

Brooke Erin DuffyRemake, Remodel: Women’s Magazines in the Digital Age

September 18, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Media & Communications] Brooke Erin Duffy’s Remake, Remodel: Women’s Magazines in the Digital Age (University of Illinois Press, 2013) traces the upheaval in the women’s magazine industry in an era of media convergence and audience media-making. Duffy, assistant professor at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, is especially interested in the experience of writers, editors, [...]

Read the full article →

Richard StarrEqual As Citizens: The Tumultuous and Troubled History of a Great Canadian Idea

September 11, 2014

“We are not half a dozen provinces. We are one great Dominion,” Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald proudly declared. More than a century later, Canada has 10 provinces and three northern territories making it one of the biggest and richest countries on Earth. In the spirit of optimism that prevailed when the country [...]

Read the full article →

Silver Donald CameronThe Living Beach: Life, Death and Politics where the Land Meets the Sea

August 5, 2014

The acclaimed Canadian author Silver Donald Cameron writes that the idea for his newly reissued book, The Living Beach: Life, Death and Politics where the Land Meets the Sea (Red Deer Press, 2014), occurred to him when he was interviewing a “lean, laconic, geologist,” named Bob Taylor who works at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography [...]

Read the full article →

Robert E. Gutsche Jr.A Transplanted Chicago: Race, Place and the Press in Iowa City

July 1, 2014

The city of Iowa City’s website promotes its “small-town hospitality” and its focus on “culture.” But a closer look at Iowa City, home to 70,000 and the University of Iowa, reveals a community trying to redefine itself as urban African-Americans relocate to the area. This is the focus of Robert E. “Ted” Gutsche’s book, A [...]

Read the full article →

Travis VoganKeepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media

April 4, 2014

No professional sports league in the United States wields more social and cultural power than the NFL. It’s not even close. In Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media (University of Illinois Press, 2014), Travis Vogan performs a cultural and structural history of the organization that helped shape the NFL into what [...]

Read the full article →

Erika G. KingObama, the Media, and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan

March 6, 2014

Erika G. King learned a lot during research for her book, Obama, the Media, and Framing the U.S. Exit from Iraq and Afghanistan (Ashgate, 2014), but one item surprised her a bit more than most. “One might have thought, but one would be wrong … that media organizations might just come together and say, ‘Yes, Iraq was [...]

Read the full article →

Matthew CecilHoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate: The Campaign to Control the Press and the Bureau’s Image

February 17, 2014

Matthew Cecil brought many questions into his latest historical work, Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate: The Campaign to Control the Press and the Bureau’s Image (University Press of Kansas, 2014). Questions included, “Why were some members of the press so willing to serve as J. Edgar Hoover’s pawns, even when it was clear they were [...]

Read the full article →