Jesse Walker on the Hidden History of Multimedia


As the U.S. was fighting World War II, a group of social scientists thought they could create a different sort of propaganda, one that didn't treat Americans like an obedient mass. Instead they just came up with a subtler sort of manipulation. The Democratic Surround, a fascinating new history by the Stanford historian Fred Turner, traces that group's influence over the next two decades. In the process, Jesse Walker writes, Turner finds unexpected links between undertakings as different as the U.S. Information Agency's Cold War campaigns and the Human Be-In, one of the most famous hippie festivals of the '60s.