‘Why America Fights’, Susan A Brewer

Susan A. Brewer has released a new book on propaganda and war in the United States.

On the evening of September 11, 2002, with the Statue of Liberty shimmering in the background, television cameras captured President George W. Bush as he advocated the charge for war against Iraq. This carefully staged performance, writes Susan Brewer, was the culmination of a long tradition of sophisticated wartime propaganda in America.

In Why America Fights, Brewer offers a fascinating history of how successive presidents have conducted what Donald Rumsfeld calls “perception management,” from McKinley’s war in the Philippines to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her intriguing account ranges from analyses of wartime messages to descriptions of the actual operations, from the dissemination of patriotic ads and posters to the management of newspaper, radio, and TV media. When Woodrow Wilson carried the nation into World War I, he created the Committee on Public Information, led by George Creel, who called his job “the world’s greatest adventure in advertising.” In World War II, Roosevelt’s Office of War Information avowed a “strategy of truth,” though government propaganda still depicted Japanese soldiers as buck-toothed savages. After examining the ultimately failed struggle to cast the Vietnam War in a favorable light, Brewer shows how the Bush White House drew explicit lessons from that history as it engaged in an unprecedented effort to sell a preemptive war in Iraq. Yet the thrust of its message was not much different from McKinley’s pronouncements about America’s civilizing mission. Continue reading

New Publication: British Film Culture in the 1970s: The Boundaries of Pleasure

We are pleased to draw your attention to Sue Harper and Justin Smith’s forthcoming publication which is the final outcome of an AHRC-funded project at Portsmouth, ‘1970s British cinema, film and video: mainstream and counter-culture’ (2006-2009).

Further details: Harper&Smith_Single_2011 (pdf: right-click ‘save as’ or simply double-click to view).

The 2013 Michael Nelson Prize

The IAMHIST-MICHAEL NELSON PRIZE FOR A WORK IN MEDIA AND HISTORY is a biennial prize awarded for the book, radio or television program or series, film, DVD, CD-ROM, or URL making the best contribution on the subject of media and history, which has been published or shown in the preceding two years.

The prize is dedicated to Michael Nelson, whose passion for media and journalism inspired IAMHIST throughout the years.  For more information on Michael Nelson, please consult: www.michaelnelsonbooks.com

Beginning with the upcoming 2013 prize, two awards will be made.  The first, a prize of 00, will be for the best contribution by a book; the second, a prize of 0 will be for the best contribution by a (multi) media contribution.  Newly instituted this year, this second prize will consider media such as films, CD-ROMs, and URLs separately from print media, in the hope of encouraging the submission of scholarly work in non-print media.  The winners will be announced on the website shortly. Continue reading

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