Salmon (Verbicide), a columnist for Le Monde, makes a riveting case for how public relations (or more euphemistically, storytelling) has come to dominate statecraft and business in the West. He traces the political uses of narrative to the end of the 20th century, when the declining value of branding led to product narratives taking priority over logos—a practice made ubiquitous by a generation of Orwellian management and political gurus who recognized how appropriate narratives could increase efficiency and even legitimize various questionable practices. Attributing the success of these techniques to a hunger for stability in a postmodern era where grand narratives have collapsed, the book examines the cozy relationship between modern politics and storytelling, where personal narrative trumps policy and movie makers advise politicians on possible terrorist plots. Despite the value of his insights, the author's claims about the novelty of such practices are questionable, as he ignores the long history of propaganda and public relations. Furthermore, the current religious climate in the U.S. alone suggests that grand narratives are a long way from collapsing. The story of storytelling needs to stretch far beyond the recent past. (May)
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“This book, which is both concise and clearly written ... guides us through these texts which are largely unknown and now very influential.”—Le Monde
“There are certain books that make you feel less stupid after reading them than before ... It is a fascinating and never jargon-heavy book.”—Le Progrès
“Fascinating ... intellectually satisfying ... Salmon’s insights are though-provoking and have ramifications beyond the world of advertising.”—James P. Othmer, Washington Post