Nicknamed “the father of public relations,” Edward Bernays (1891–1995) was a pioneer in the fields of propaganda and PR. Combining theories on crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays elucidated how corporations and politicians could manipulate public opinion. His seminal 1928 book, Propaganda laid out how propaganda could be used to regiment the collective mind in a variety of areas, including government, politics, art, science and education, while his 1923 classic, Crystallizing Public Opinion, set down the principles that business and government have used to influence public attitudes over the past century.
The Edward Bernays Reader: From Propaganda to the Engineering of Consent, is the first comprehensive volume of the writings of this influential and controversial figure. In addition to featuring extended excerpts from Crystallizing Public Opinion and Propaganda, this book also includes the full text of Bernays’ classic 1947 essay, “The Engineering of Consent,” on the application of scientific principles and practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs, as well as extensive selections of his other writings on subjects including education, war propaganda, and polling. Taken together, the material in this book offers the most complete look to date at the work of a man whose ideas are considered the single most important influence on modern propaganda, public relations, and spin.