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Propaganda: Power and Persuasion (paperback)

Published Date:
May 2013
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Paperback, 216 pages, 280 x 220mm, 115 colour illustrations
Free UK P&P for orders over £15

Propaganda is all around us, used to promote a sense of common cause and belonging, change behaviour or influence ideas, as well as to mislead, deceive, even destroy. Perhaps the greatest and most sophisticated exponent of propaganda is the modern state.

Using universal themes of conflict, public education, protest and leadership, this book, originally published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Library (17 May - 17 September 2013), takes a close look at the range of propaganda used by different states – and their opponents.

Over the last 100 years, increased literacy, multiplying media formats, methodologies and competing messengers have required ever greater effort to persuade and influence citizens, and the book’s primary focus is the 20th and 21st centuries, taking a worldwide view. But it also puts propaganda into its historical context. Different strategies are highlighted – from appeals to hearts and minds, to dictat and the cult of personality, sloganeering and news management. Posters, books, films, stamps, cartoons, music, newspapers, statistics, games, social media and the web all feature. The book concludes with a look at how the explosion in social computing is influencing the way the state attempts to persuade and control its citizens.

About the author
Professor David Welch is a historian who specializes in 20th century political propaganda. He is based at the University of Kent, where he founded the Centre for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society. He has published many books on propaganda, including Germany: Propaganda and Total War 1914–18, The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda, and Justifying War: Propaganda, Politics and the Modern Age (with Jo Fox).

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