This book develops a sophisticated account of propaganda and its intriguing history. It begins with a brief overview of Western propaganda, including Ancient Greek theories of rhetoric, and traces propaganda's development through the Christian era, the rise of the nation-state, World War I, Nazism, Communism, and the present day. The core of the book examines the ethical implications of various forms of persuasion, not only hate propaganda but also insidious elements of more generally acceptable communication such as advertising, public relations, and government information, setting these in the context of freedom of expression. This new edition is updated throughout, and includes additional revelations about a key atrocity story of World War I.
Randal Marlin is a professor of Philosophy at Carleton University.
"In the tradition of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Jacques Ellul's Propaganda, this book will become a classic of the 21st century as theirs were of the 20th. Its substance, exceptional clarity and unsettling relevance show a master teacher at work."
"Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion is a book we need now more than ever. It is a stand-alone resource for those who don't know anything about propaganda, want a refresher, or want to see how propaganda has fared in the digital age. Marlin's clear, strong writing brings home the enormity of propaganda's reach and the danger it represents to all of us."