A THEORY OF PUBLIC OPINION by Prof Francis S. Wilson


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It is very frustrating to turn the last page of a book and discover that one knows little more about its subject than before starting to read. Professor Wilson has worked up an examination of ""the relation of mass-thinking to the exercise of authority"", but in his hand: the shapelessness. He has drawn heavily from the works of Harold Lasswell, Walter Lippmann, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Gabriel Tarde, and other recognized authorities in the field of public opinion and propaganda: he has not improved upon what they have say in the past. He cites Toynbee, Spengier, Mill and W. Mills, with all their diverging opinions scrambled together in an impossible In places, his very sentence structure is so meddled that he resorts repeatedly to such as ""In other words"" and ""that is to say"". In the end he admits that ""It is probably impossible, and perhaps unnecessary, to put into a of public opinion."" Writers who cannot, had best leave the someone else who will at least make some cogent attempt. Nowhere does he spell out his theory. He is no doubt an erudite scholar, professor of political science at the University of ; books such as The American Political Mind and The stand as proof. But obscure literary and historical allusion, and a style so involved that one loses the thread of his argument leaves an and impression that here is neither history, nor sociology, nor psychology, nor ""a theory of publication"".

Publisher: Regnery