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Books for changing the world

Propaganda and the Public Mind: A Reading List

A reading list of books dealing with media, ideology, cultural institutions, and the forces in our society that shape the way we see ourselves and the world. All of these books are currently 30% Off.


Noam Chomsky offers insights into the institutions that shape the public mind in the service of power and profit.

Organized alphabetically as a lexicon, Keywords explores the history and common usage of major terms in the everyday language of capitalism. Because the words in this book have successfully infiltrated everyday life in the English-speaking world, their meanings often seem self-evident, even benign.

Rich People Things catalogs the fortifications that shelter the opulent from the resentments of the hoi polloi. From ideological stanchions such as the Free Market through the castellation of media including The New York Times and Wired magazine, Chris Lehmann covers the vast array of comforting and comprehensive protections that allow the über-privileged to maintain their iron grip on almost half of America's wealth. 

As the financial crisis continues to shake the economy it has begun to expose cracks in the ideology long used to justify neoliberal policies. This informed and accessible primer drives a wedge into these cracks, allowing the non-expert to understand the flaws in the economic philosophy of the 1%.

In a moving account that includes over 100 photos and images, many in color, Revolution Today celebrates the new political subjects that are organizing thousands of grassroots movements to fight racial and gender violence, state-led terrorism, and capitalist exploitation of people and the planet worldwide, with special attention paid to the relationship between political memory and popular mobilization.

In this book, Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan provide a vivid record of the events, conflicts, and social movements shaping our society today. These stories are set against the backdrop of the mainstream media’s abject failure, with its small circle of pundits who know so little about so much, attempting to explain the world to us and getting it so wrong.

In this slim volume, Howard Zinn lays out a clear and dynamic case for civil disobedience and protest, challenging still dominant arguments for “law and order” and against forms of protest that challenge the status quo. 

In the 1960s historians on both sides of the Atlantic began to challenge the assumptions of their colleagues and push for an understanding of history "from below." In this collection, Staughton Lynd, himself one of the pioneers of this approach, challenges academics to see American history through eyes of the poor and working class participants in history. 

In this magisterial work Jan Rehmann reconstructs the different strands of ideology theories ranging from Karl Marx to Judith Butler. He compares them in a way that a genuine dialogue becomes possible and applies the different methods to the “market totalitarianism” of today’s high-tech-capitalism.

Ben Davis draws the curtain back on the contemporary art world to assail its commodified roots.

“Highly informed, lively and readable, this is a badly needed study of the giant high tech corporations that increasingly dominate the means of work and social interaction, amass and scrutinize the details of our lives, seek to shape attitudes and behavior, and like the great virtual monopolies of the past both rely on state power and heavily influence it. Beyond exposing the nature of this awesome and threatening system, Larson goes on to outline how it can, and should, be brought under popular control. A most valuable contribution to understanding and guide to action.” —Noam Chomsky

Edward W. Said discusses the importance and centrality of popular resistance in the framework of culture, history, and struggle. Among many topics, he dissects the role of media propaganda and its golden rolodex of pseudo-experts in shaping public opinion.

Media, Ideology and Hegemony addresses a range of topics that provide readers with opportunities to think critically about the new digital world. It includes work on old and new media, on the corporate power structure in communication and information technology, and on government use of media to control citizens.

Leading scholars of media and communication studies examine what Marx and his political economy have to offer their disciplines.

This engaging collection examines the contradictory nature of the media, revealing it to be democracy’s greatest asset and greatest threat.

Everywhere the Market goes it spawns monsters in its wake. From Frankenstein, to Zombies, McNally analyzes these creatures of Capitalism.

The most comprehensive collection of Antonio Gramsci's writings on the relationship between culture and politics available in the English language.

Though generally associated with Antonio Gramsci, the idea of hegemony played an essential role in revolutionary Russia where it was used to conceptualize the dynamics of political and cultural leadership. Drawing on extensive archival research, this study considers the cultural dimensions of hegemony through an examination of early soviet language policies and the debates that surrounded them.

A ground breaking study that shows Gramsci's originality can be traced to his lifelong interest in language and linguistics.

The Age of Knowledge emphasizes that the ongoing transformations of knowledge, both within universities and for society more generally, must be understood as a reflection of the larger changes in the constitutive social structures within which they are invariably produced, translated, and reproduced.

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