Reviews

“Greenberg is a terrific storyteller, with a ginger touch and a falcon eye for the brilliant detail, which makes his book an education and an engrossing read. Republic of Spin is surely the definitive book on a definitively American subject: the making and manipulation of public opinion.”

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Christopher Buckley

March/April 2016, National Interest

“Republic of Spin by Rutgers historian David Greenberg, is a careful chronicle of ‘the acute awareness of political manipulation that has developed over the last century.’ It runs from the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt to that of Barack Obama, documenting all the ways in which the publicity wing of the executive branch has attempted to shape public opinion.”

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Micah Harris

February 29, 2016, First Things

“We’ve long needed an account of how Washington became Mad Men on the Potomac. A very good start is Republic of Spin by historian David Greenberg.”

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Matthew Cooper

February 9, 2016, Washingtonian

“Greenberg’s book traces the rise of the ‘public presidency’ under Theodore Roosevelt and follows it across every subsequent administration. … [A] rich, comprehensive study of political persuasion and propaganda.”

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Washington Monthly

January/February 2016

“The spinners have always been with us, but never so much as in the full sweep of the 20th century, when, as the Rutgers historian David Greenberg tells us, the spin was the thing. A reader might approach a book with a title like ‘Republic of Spin’ with trepidation, but Mr. Greenberg has produced a beguiling admixture of cynicism and idealism.”

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David Shribman

January 21, 2016, Wall Street Journal

“David Greenberg’s sound, judicious and dispassionate volume, which draws on primary sources as well as the existing academic literature, shows, from the standpoint of history, why being skeptical about how presidents try to sell themselves is, mainly, a good thing.”

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Michael Beschloss

January 20, 2016, New York Times Book Review

“Greenberg is a fluid, authoritative writer. … In Republic of Spin, [he] offers a … panoramic view, examining a century of White House news management and image-making and the broader history of political spin.”

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Columbia Journalism Review

January 11, 2016

“The success of the spin didn’t prevent Americans from realizing they were being spun, and Greenberg devotes another theme of his story to critiques of the whole business. From H.L. Mencken to Hannah Arendt and Garry Trudeau, nearly everyone who has commented on modern politics, modern communications or simply modern life has weighed in on the struggle to shape the terms of debate of democracy.”

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Washington Post

January 8, 2016

“[A] fascinating history of presidential spin … Greenberg parallels the techniques devised by spin doctors with intellectuals’ critiques of their methods. … Balanced, interesting, and timely for the 2016 campaign, Greenberg’s work will entice any reader following media and politics.”

Gilbert Taylor

December 15, 2015, Booklist

“Greenberg has written an insightful, extensive account of the image-making entailed in the modern American presidency. …This revealing account of politics as image in U.S. presidential culture should be read by any student of the American presidency and American politics.”

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Library Journal

November 17, 2015

“From William McKinley to Barack Obama, a prizewinning historian looks at the tortured marriage of public relations and the modern presidency. …At once scholarly, imaginative, and great fun.”

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Kirkus Reviews

September 30, 2015

News

“Obama positioned himself above politics, lamenting how the world of spin forced politicians to stifle their spontaneity and trim their candor.”

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How Obama Manipulates the News

Politico, May 6, 2016

“With Nixon, spin pervades White House operations. Even when Watergate happened, his immediate response was to think of it as a public relations problem. He couldn’t see it as a scandal, a moral or ethical error.”

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Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

April 22, 2016

“Woodrow Wilson created the first wartime propaganda agency, Calvin Coolidge staged photo-ops, Herbert Hoover produced an elaborate campaign film, Dwight Eisenhower employed a White House TV coach — every president for the past century has used sophisticated forms of spin.”

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Five Myths About Spin

Washington Post, March 18, 2016

“No one ever asked of a Steichen photograph, ‘Is it true or false?’”

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How a Little Girl Beat Barry Goldwater

The Daily Beast, February 18, 2016

“Post-primary spin works only when there’s a sizable kernel of truth underneath the rhetorical froth.”

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The art of spin: Pulling victory from New Hampshire’s jaws of defeat

Reuters, February 11, 2016

“At a certain point that spontaneity becomes a shtick”

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The White House that spin built: David Greenberg gets to root of political PR

Savannah Morning News, February 11, 2016

“He used public opinion, the press, leaks to Congress, and Upton Sinclair to reform unconscionable industries, like the meatpackers.”

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How Teddy Roosevelt Invented Spin

The Atlantic, January 24, 2016

“The ‘authentic’ politician is a myth, created by experts who traffic in the art of spin.”

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Don't be fooled – there is no such thing as an ‘authentic’ candidate

Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2016

“Though little remembered today, Emil Hurja was the first man to poll for an American president.”

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FDR’s Nate Silver

Politico, January 16, 2016

“Spin has an impish quality; it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Spin winks at its own truth stretching.”

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Why Spin Is Good for Democracy

New York Times, January 14, 2016

“The story of modern American politics isn’t a steady decline from authenticity to artifice. Rather, it is a story of the refinement of tools and techniques that presidents—pretty much all of them—have cannily exploited from the moment they became available.”

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A Century of Political Spin

Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2016

“Even in his first year, then, the man who had rocketed to power on the strength of his communication skills heard the peculiar criticism that he was a poor communicator.”

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Spinning with Obama

Dissent, Fall 2015