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Publisher's Summary

Our democracy today is fraught with political campaigns, lobbyists, liberal media, and Fox News commentators, all using language to influence the way we think and reason about public issues. Even so, many of us believe that propaganda and manipulation aren't problems for us - not in the way they were for the totalitarian societies of the mid-20th century. In How Propaganda Works, Jason Stanley demonstrates that more attention needs to be paid. He examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy - particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality - and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Focusing on the shortcomings of liberal democratic states, Stanley provides a historically grounded introduction to democratic political theory as a window into the misuse of democratic vocabulary for propaganda's selfish purposes. He lays out historical examples, such as the restructuring of the US public school system at the turn of the 20th century, to explore how the language of democracy is sometimes used to mask an undemocratic reality. Drawing from a range of sources, he explains how the manipulative and hypocritical declaration of flawed beliefs and ideologies arises from and perpetuates inequalities in society, such as the racial injustices that commonly occur in the United States.

©2015 Princeton University Press (P)2020 Tantor

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  • SDVEGAN
  • 02-04-21

This is a philosophical treatise, title and cover are misleading.

I expected a book for a popular audience which delved into the details of propaganda. Unfortunately this book is not that, though it may be fantastic for an audience of professional philosophers.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Peter Trzos
  • 13-12-20

This made driving across Nebraska more boring.

This title was the most painful listen I've ever had in my life. The author spends more time discussing what he isn't saying than making his intended point. He anticipates any overly naive reader, or criticism from peers too pretentious to understand what isn't said is not said. I will be forever wary of wasting my time indulging overly academic authors like him again.