THE SOVIET PROPAGANDA MACHINE by Martin Ebon

THE SOVIET PROPAGANDA MACHINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A study of Soviet propaganda from Lenin to Gorbachev, including its origins, history, and contemporary applications. Ebon has whiten extensively on Soviet topics, including The Andropov File and Psychic Warfare, as well as some 58 other titles. Here, he treats the subject, often infused with the mystery of the Russian psyche, in an easy-reading manner, heavy on anecdotes and the human factor. How does Soviet propaganda differ from out own? Ebon notes a consistency of growth and aims not visible in American government, and the fact that lifetime careers are devoted to propaganda. There's also a huge and ongoing Soviet investment in funds and manpower. Ebon chips away at the Soviet veneer of falsehood, showing how their propaganda spreads the phony history of the storming of the Winter Palace (which was infiltrated by side entrances rather than stormed), while Lenin stood at the center of Petrograd (in reality, he was in his office, trying to get some sleep). As the Soviet regime coalesced, Pravda took over the role of spreading whatever story the government wished, and Ebon carefully details that paper's long history. There is a gnawing tendency for Ebon to wear his biases on his sleeve. He bridles at the least hint of propaganda--sarcastically, for example, mentioning how the 1985 East European bicycle competition was termed ""the Peace Cycle Race."" The author then gives a parting shot by quoting from Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who wrote that the Soviets project ""their own semantic rules upon the rest of the world,"" co-opting such terms as ""human rights"" and ""democracy."" This may, indeed, be the most insidious propaganda, but Ebon only skims it. A tired subject, handled tiresomely.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1987
Publisher: McGraw-Hill