The Cold War and the United States Information Agency American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy 194 by ProQuest


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      unqualified endorsement. If you read             development of information and cul-
      only one book on the global war on ter-          tural programs during World War II,
      rorism, do not make it this one. If,             Cull’s narrative, organized in chapters
      however, you read several books on the           on presidential administrations and
      subject or your job involves long-term           USIA directors, deals principally with
      planning for the war on terror, this             the decades between USIA’s creation in
      work is certainly worth a look, as it will       1953 and the end of the Cold War in
      make you aware of many of the mind               1989. He concludes with a brief epi-
      sets and biases that shape government            logue on USIA’s final decade, years that
      rhetoric and conventional commentary             saw consolidation of U.S. international
      on terrorism and national security.              broadcasting services under the inde-
                                                       pendent Broadcasting Board of Gover-
      Burke, Virginia                                  nors and the transfer of USIA’s
                                                       information, exchange, and foreign-
                                                       opinion-research programs to the
                                                       Department of State in 1999.
                                                       Cull assesses with remarkable evenhand-
      Cull, Nicholas J. The Cold War and the United    edness the priorities, decisions, and or-
      States Information Agency: American Propaganda   ganizational struggles of political lead-
      and Public Diplomacy, 1945–1989. New York:
                                                       ers and USIA’s practitioners. There is
      Cambridge Univ. Press, 2008. 533pp. $125
                                                       no ideological tilt in his examination of
      Public diplomacy today is a topic of             sharply contested approaches to win-
      global conversation. Books on the “new           ning the Cold War struggle for “hearts
      public diplomacy” of state and nonstate          and minds.” The book is not a lament
      actors appear with increasing fre-               for USIA’s demise or a call for its resto-
      quency. Memoirs by practitioners and             ration. Cull brings a scholar’s disci-
      monographs on cultural diplomacy and             pline, a wealth of empirical evidence,
      international broadcasting abound. Un-           and arm’s-length perspective to his
      til now, however, there has been no              analysis. Nevertheless, Cull does have
      in-depth scholarly treatment of the U.S.         strong opinions. He renders critical
      Information Agency (USIA), the gov-        
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