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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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-04-2021

Categories: Politics & Social Sciences, Philosophy

A little louder for the children in back: This is an outstanding work of social science and philosophy published by Princeton University Press in 2015.

The description is dense with terms and concepts that are elucidated in great detail by the text.
If you listen to the Audible preview, you will hear part of the preface, in which Jason Stanley summarizes key points of a graduate dissertation by his father, Manfred Stanley, a Holocaust survivor, and professor of sociology at Syracuse University.
It concerns the struggles of a traditional African society under British colonial rule.

I can't speak to the disappointment felt by other reviewers of this book, except to say that this is not a good book for a long drive. It is exactly as advertised: an academic work by an academic, published by a university press.
If you are not an expert in the area of inquiry, as I am not, then you will have a hard time keeping up if you listen while engaged in other activities.
If your mouth watered when you saw "liberal media" in the description, you will not find satisfaction. This is not a hit piece written for a broad, general audience, let alone a partisan political one.
It is a meticulous exploration of how the mechanisms of liberal democracy can be turned against the free and open functioning of liberal democracy. It discusses the ways in which this is done intentionally, as well as the ways that members of such a society may serve this end without realizing it.

Tom Parks's narration was a little stilted at times, but that is to be expected with a non-narrative work of political science, sociology, and philosophy.
This isn't Nietzsche or Kierkegaard, so the prose does not shimmer or take lyrical flights of fancy. Tom Parks narrates accordingly, and is quite effective.

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  • SDVEGAN
  • 02-04-2021

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.

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  • Peter Trzos
  • 13-12-2020

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.

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