Reading matter.

Posted: 23 Feb 2008   Print   Send a link
"Public Diplomacy in a Changing World" is the subject of the 14 articles in the March 2008 issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. (No free electronic access; try your nearest university library.) --
     Reviews of Hugh Wilford, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America (Harvard University Press), about CIA funding of front groups that paid American artists and intellectuals in the cultural Cold War. "Mr. Wilford undermines rather than bolsters the boast made by CIA man Frank Wisner, who called his agency a 'Mighty Wurlitzer,' a mass of information and intelligence capable of playing the tunes the rest of the world would dance to." Ronald Radosh, New York Sun, 6 February 2008. "In its founding years, the U.S. Information Agency demonstrated repeatedly that it, too, could play the game and, on occasion, play it better. The USIA, like the CIA, planted columns abroad written under pseudonyms. I wrote two for the USIA, one, as Paul L. Ford, on foreign affairs, the other, as Benjamin E. West, on developments in what Ronald Reagan would one day call 'the Evil Empire.'" Wes Pedersen, letter to Washington Post, 3 February 2008, commenting on book review in the Washington Post, 27 January 2008. Other reviews: The Guardian, 3 February 2008 -- New York Times, 20 January 2008. -- Wall Street Journal, 24 January 2008. -- Bloomberg, 22 February 2008.
     New book: Yale Richmond, Practicing Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Odyssey, "detailing the doings of a U.S. Foreign Service Cultural Officer in five hot spots of the Cold War – Germany, Laos, Poland, Austria, and the Soviet Union." Berghahn Books. See this excerpt about Mr. Richmond's monitoring of jamming in Moscow.
     "Japanese intellectuals did not take American scholarship and culture very seriously until the end of World War II. The long association between Japanese intellectuals and their European counterparts made it easier for Japanese intellectuals to discuss European social concepts than American ones." From Takeshi Matsuda, "Soft Power: The U.S. Cultural Offensive and Japanese Intellectuals," Japan Focus, 20 February 2008.
     The Reporters sans frontières 2008 Annual Report reviews the "plight of journalists" in 98 countries. It includes many references to international broadcasting, e.g. relays shut down, and reporters harassed, arrested, or worse.