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Larry Tye

Author of Satchel: the life and times of an American legend

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Larry Tye has 1 media appearance.

Sep
20
Larry Tye
Booknotes, Sunday, September 20, 1998
Larry Tye discusses The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and The Birth of Public Relations.

The Father of Spin, by Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye, is the first full-length biography of the legendary Edward L. Bernays who, beginning in the 1920s, was one of the first and most successful practitioners of the art of public relations. This book tells of Bernay's classic campaigns including:A "Torches of Freedom" march of debutantes down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday, 1929, that recast smoking as an act of women's liberation, made headlines coast to coast, and convinced a generation of women to light up - increasing profits for Bernay's client, the American Tobacco Company.A masterfully-orchestrated, secretive campaign to help overthrow the leftist government of Guatemala in the 1950s. The beneficiary: The United Fruit Company, a Bernays client whose banana republic was threatened by a socialist regime.Equally skillful efforts, on behalf of equally self-interested clients, to transform bacon and eggs into the All-American breakfast, to make Ivory the soap of choice for a generation, and to put Calvin Coolidge back into the White House. Using ideas borrowed from his uncle, Sigmund Freud, Bernays demonstrated to an entire generation of budding PR men and women the enormous power that lay within their grasp. If consumers could be guided in their selection of soap, so could husbands in their choice of a car and voters in their selection of candidates. Indeed, the very substance of American thought was mere clay to be molded by the savvy public relations practitioner, or so it seemed. The Father of Spin uses Bernay's life as a prism to understand the evolution of the craft of public relations and how it came to play such a critical—and sometimes insidious—role in American life. Drawing on interviews and primary sources, including Bernay's newly available private papers, Tye presents a fascinating and revealing portrait of a man who was one of the first and most articulate advocates of public relations, a profession that today helps define our commercial choices and shape our political discourse. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)

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