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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 15 reviews
on January 8, 2008
A book of galvanic essays written by noted journalists, authors, reporters, professors, and psychologists - What Orwell Didn't Know is truly a "must read" - especially before voting in the 2008 election. Prompted by the dismal state of "political discourse," today, five revered schools of journalism joined forces to create this anthology. Its 20 essays provide a vital resource to help readers and reporters alike to "disenthrall public debate from bias, hyperbole, bombast and lies."

Along the way, it enlightens readers about everything from brain research and the psychology of emotion to the devastating impact of the "Orwellian" Postal Reogranization Act of 1970 on small, independent opinion journals and magazines; the tragic and ironic consequences of the administration's "subservience of truth to power" in Iraq and in the US; the "carnivalesque media economy," the threat of corporate power, and our own willingness to look the other way when the Emporer has no clothes.

While I found a few of the 20 essays in the book somewhat less engaging, most were powerful, alarming, challenging and enlightening. And though Americans are more savvy today about the ways in which language can be manipulated and distorted for political ends, we can still be taken in....and we do ourselves, and our democaracy, a dangerous disservice if we do not question rigorously the medium, the message, the messenger the motives behind all we hear and read. "What Orwell Didn't Know" offers chilling evidence of our need for vigilance and action...I can't recommend it highly enough.
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on August 2, 2016
AWESOME information. Very good book.
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VINE VOICEon February 19, 2008
"What Orwell Didn't Know" is an eye-opening compendium of pieces about the insidious use of propaganda in our time. Editor Andras Szanto presents outstanding works by eighteen intellectuals who compare Orwell's classic 1946 paper on propaganda, 'Politics and the English Language' (reprinted in its entirety) with the propaganda industry of today. Convincingly demonstrating how the science of propaganda has in fact metastisized into a very real threat to the Enlightenment ideal of progress, the authors implore us to sharpen our critical thinking skills as we seek to immunize ourselves to manipulation and struggle to keep our democracy alive.

Part One: Language and Politics includes six essays about how deceptive language serves political ends. Orwell believed that clarity in writing was essential to reasoned discourse and understood that fear is the gateway to despotism. The authors connect these concepts to the Bush administration's well-documented misrepresentations that have led the U.S. into its perpetual war on terror. Among many insights, we learn how the deceptive use of language has allowed the corporate-controlled state to deepen its control over the public consciousness and impose a far right-wing political agenda.

Part Two: Symbols and Battlegrounds contains six articles that explore how culturally-charged symbols are routinely exploited for political advantage. The authors discuss how post-Orwellian discoveries in cognitive sciences have demonstrated that reason is not just rational but emotional, complicating the task of disputation against the skilled propagandist. For example, the authors cite President Reagan's Star Wars proposal as an emotionally-appealing but unattainable solution to the overblown Communist menace that has distracted us from the real problem of nuclear proliferation. Similarly, the authors discuss how liberal causes such as women's rights and the environment have been revoiced in born-again Christian terms to the detriment of human progress and nature. Fortunately, the authors detect a growing challenge to the Christian Right by socially-conscious religious organizations and individuals such as Al Gore, whose cinematic jeremiad 'An Incovenient Truth' has succeeded in bringing attention to global warming by reframing the problem as a moral issue.

Part Three: Media and Message consists of five compositions on the dangers of concentrated media ownership plus an Epilogue by George Soros. Writing before television came into maturity, Orwell's concerns about the printed word seems almost quaint when compared with the ubiquitously persuasive powers of television on the public mind. The authors are appalled with the rise of the postmodern infotainment industry and the media's stakeholder role in promoting the spectacle of disaster; others voice their concerns about the lack of diverse perspectives and self-censorship practices which makes it more and more difficult to reach broad consensus on critical issues. And in an astute closing chapter, Mr. Soros concludes that the role of the media watchdog is more important than ever if we hope to curb dishonest reporting and reconnect the masses with reality.

I highly recommend this timely, thought-provoking and important book to everyone.
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on March 7, 2011
an eye opener. A must read book. you will enjoy life after you read this book because you will see through the propaganda of different entities easily.,
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on June 3, 2010
First, the Good. The Appendix has Politics And The English Language, which is a wonderful essay by George Orwell. This is the kind of straight forward thinking we need from all our authors.
Second, the Bad. The rest of the book is slightly boring. Nothing really new, not very clear, and, frankly, the title is incorrect. George Orwell guessed a lot of what they talked about - the use of images for example. Movies, photos, art work was all around during the early part of the 20th Century and was used in such books as 1984.
The Ugly is that I red this book only a few weeks ago and can't remember one thing that stayed in my memory. Which is no doubt linked to the boring part of the Bad section.
Buying this book is cheaper than getting a used copy of Politics And The English Language. That's all I can really say about it.
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on April 23, 2010
Most of the essays contain important conceptional points that should be considered
by all writers and most critical readers. Orwell's essay at the end of the book is
a 'MUST READ' any who take up the pencil, pen, or keyboard as a tool to communicate
ideas in a concise, relevant manner.
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on June 11, 2015
The book was okay. A little off the wall
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on June 23, 2009
Here is what Orwell did not know:

He did not know that in the future a group of zealot, left-wing, true believers would invoke his name and writings for the purpose of white washing their own totalitarian yearnings, and at the same time pointing a finger at the totalitarian yearnings of neo-conservatives.

If you are a true believer and a la-la leftist, you will love this book. If you are a true believer and a rah-rah rightist, you will damage your spleen while reading it. If you just want the political class on both sides of the aisle to remove their fingers from around your throat and stop using you as a battery in their wealth-producing and redistributing machine, this book will make you realize that the left wing tyrant wannabees are an even greater threat than the ones on the right. And THAT is saying something! About the only thing missing from this book is a drawing of the leaders of the democratic party wearing white robes and kneeling in church, faces turned upward in adoring prayer as the pope bestows sainthood on them all.

This is not the best bit of "worker's paradise" propaganda I have ever seen, but it is certainly close.

Orwell would be incensed!
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