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L'opinione pubblica

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  663 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In what is widely considered the most influential book ever written by Walter Lippmann, the late journalist and social critic provides a fundamental treatise on the nature of human information and communication. As Michael Curtis indicates in his introduction to this edition. Public Opinion qualifies as a classic by virtue of its systematic brilliance and literary grace. T ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published July 2000 by Donzelli (first published 1922)
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I read this book after reading Brian's review here

Where this book is really quite interesting is in the fact that it is a kind of modernisation of Plato’s Republic. I’m not just saying that because it starts by quoting the allegory of the cave, but because all of the central ideas of the book seem to me to be essentially Platonic. For example, democracy is presented as a really good idea ‘in theory’, but one that is incapable of working in practice. This
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is unfairly maligned because Chomsky holds it out as an example of elite liberal ideology (and it is a fair example in that regard), but Lippmann has a point about "public opinion". He wasn't the first or last to point out that the spontaneous majorities on various subjects are not necessarily rational or advantageous, and that they usually *aren't* when the public bases opinions off of sketchy information (and that this is a common phenomenon). Further, his argument that news and the ...more
Ben Peters
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whatever else one may think of this classic, it is written to take one's breath away. The images of Lippmann's prose alone--e.g. the Platonic, iconic "pictures in the mind," itself an almost mandatory talking point for those who pass through liberal arts education in America--guarantee that this book will repay reading and rereading. As for those who dismiss or belittle Lippmann as an elitist ready to cede political power to the expertise of the few, I am not convinced. Yes, he wrote in favor of ...more
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
I really liked this book. Although it was written more than 80 years ago I think that it addresses a very current issue.

This book begins with a discussion of social psychology. It explains how people see through different paradigms.

Then he builds from this a political theory. He denies "democracy" and discusses the federalist government, but I found that these designations are not as understandable in the modern vernacular. You have to pay close attention to system in which he is defining thes
Georgina Koutrouditsou
Για την εποχή που γράφτηκε θα πρέπει να ήταν πολύ προοδευτικό.
Ωστόσο για σήμερα & για όσα ανεφέρει, είναι σχετικά ξεπερασμένο.
Έχει ωραία κειμενάκια όμως για μαθητές Λυκείου που θέλουν να τα πάνε καλύτερα στο μάθημα της Έκθεσης..
Jindřich Mynarz
At times wonderfully poetic and pregnant, other times needlessly obtuse. A classic, or a piece of prescient writing, some might call it, the Public Opinion delivers highly relevant food for thought on media in (post-)democratic world.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In times like these, when we sleep with screens feeding us images of war, it is important to go back to this classic.

Emotions run high when photographs, pictures and videos rule our understanding of foreign affairs.

It is equally important to realize how little information we actually have access to.

Not so much has changed since the age of television:public emotions get mobilized together with armed forces, and, as we develop an aggressive tunnel-vision the enemy starts condensing into a targe
Why should one bother to read a book on the shaping of personal and public opinions almost a century old? Surely, in an age when twitter has replaced telegrams we have become much more savvy in dealing with an ever expanding amount of news than people living between the World Wars. As my mocking tone indicates, Lippmann’s reasoning about the production of everyday knowledge is still very much up to date and can easily be applied to those media which have joined the ranks of newspapers, magazines ...more
John Mcjohnnyman
Incredibly insightful, clever, and as applicable to today's media and politics as it must've been when originally written. Lippman's analysis of the many abstract and underlying forces that shape the opinions we hold about the world is simply beautiful, and will leave you more critically aware and prepared to handle the many stereotypes and symbols used to manipulate the truth and our impression of it.
Stephen Masri
Elegant prose but so high flown as to be vague and more a matter of highly personal musing than clear exposition
Karl H.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our first-hand experience is but a drop in the frothing, complex ocean of the world. And yet, all of us have ideas and opinions about things out there that we have never encountered directly. Where do those come from? And, in the aggregate, do our opinions really reflect reality? Can they be used as the basis for government? Public Opinion is an insightful exploration of these questions, and the effects their answers have on how we govern ourselves.

Walter Lippmann does a fantastic job explaining
A classic that must be read again from time to time to check how everything is changing in media and audiences
Jonathan Norton
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The ur-text for so much anti-media, anti-corporate and anti-politics sentiment in the 20th century, this is the sharply written testament of a liberal insider brooding with disenchantment at the state of the world in 1922, fresh from the fall-out of the Wilson administration and its final failure to get America to embrace the League Of Nations and a lasting engagement in world affairs. Chomsky's greatest hits are here, including "manufactured consent" getting its first appearance. I expect you c ...more
Eric Gulliver
Yet another quote from the text that outlines its general thesis:

“Strategically placed, and compelled often to choose even at the best between the equally cogent through conflicting ideals of safety for the institution, and candor to his public, the official finds himself deciding more and more consciously what facts, in what setting, in what guise he shall permit the public to know. –
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which
Peter Pactor
There is a lot of information in this book. Indeed, I had a respectful amount of annotation from my reading; however, I must return to my notes to retain what I read. If I were to rate this book on the material, the theories, concepts and conclusions, I would rate it as a five. However, it requires so much work to get through the intellectual psycho-babble of much of his writing it is just not worth the effort for the average person. For this reason, I rated it a three.

It seemed to me that his w
Mark Valentine
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Studying public opinion feels kaleidoscopic most of the time. But I came to trust Lippmann's presence in the room and rely on him to guide me. His most direct, sincere, and essential truth came in these lines at the end of his chapter, "News, Truth, and a Conclusion": "For the troubles of the press, like the troubles of representative government, be it territorial or functional, like the troubles of history...go back to a common source: to the failure of self-governing people to transcend their ...more
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this book a five star rating for importance, but difficulties with readability drag it a good deal lower. Written over eighty years ago, Lippmann's style and (then) contemporary references present a significant challenge for the non-historian. At the same time, several of the author's primary points are ripe with significance. We stereotype because we must--there is simply too much information to process. Public opinion can then be manipulated through the use of skillfully honed ste ...more
Matthew Raketti
Fantastic read! In terms of literary style Lippmann stands with the best. In terms of political philosophy, his insights offer an usual mix of pragmatism and incisive profundity. While he is very much an 'establishment figure', he nevertheless maintains a significant independence of mind. Though in all likelihood it is this very independence that garnered him the high degree of influence and respect across US foreign policy elites that he ultimately enjoyed.

Well worth the read for anyone intere
John-paul Pagano
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
With Daniel Boorstin's The Image, this book -- which you should read first -- forms a diptych that bestirs a Matrix-style awakening, in which you'll look at the world you've inhabited all these years in a new, knowing light. Ideally, people would read these books before exercising their right to vote.

Lippmann, a founder of The New Republic, is an elegant writer, though his tempo can plod, and much of his allusive material is dated to the Progressive Era. Still, bushwhack your way through this bo
Slava Gorbunov
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When someone makes an effort to step up above the stereotypes of everyday life by actually trying to get into reality of doing things socially and then analysing the process, the people, the means and the results - then the books like this are the best illustration of what becomes obvious from experience. For those who has not started yet the path of analysis and research of marvelous reality - this book could be a great start.
It is a book that is very hard to stop reading once started. Excellen
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't let the benign title fool you. This is one of the most explosive books ever written. Walter Lippmann lays out his philosophy of "manufacturing consent" through the mass media.

He makes the argument that most people are too busy being wages slaves and/or too stupid to make intelligent decisions regarding matters affecting their own lives.

Regardless of whether one agrees with his ideas or not, they are being used against us everyday. Anyone interested in how the dominant order uses propagand
Lyndon Bailey
Written beautifully and with penetrating insights on every page, this book was a hard read due to the format and the text but the language itself, while not challenging, is elegantly wrought.

You'll probably hate his conservative apologism and barely concealed authoritarianism (not to mention shilling for the future PR industry) but it is well worth reading as his critiques of politics and exposure of the problems faced by democracies deserve attention.
Jul 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: extemp, debate

Very fascinating post World War 1 breakdown of public opinion, what this means, how it works, etc. I found it applying to everything from how elections happen (and how silly most media accounts of elections can be), to how judge panels rate a speech round. A little stuffy in the language and all, but altogether a great interesting read.
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The material is somewhat dated and when it comes to his dispute with Dewey, I side with the Pragmatist. On the other hand the problem of spin, initiated by the powerful is still a persistent problem.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Versi klasik dari gaya analisis kritis Noam Chomsky. Lippmann punya ketajaman yang kritis terhadap gaya pemerintah Amerika Serikat membentuk opini publik, manipulasi media, dan propaganda. Karya klasik, padat, dan kaya untuk kajian komunikasi politik.
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The venerable dean of Progressive American liberal journalism speaks. Some of the material is a bit dated but there is a trove of useful insights on the role of the media in modern society. While the net has changed it all, some of Lippman's criticisms and concerns still ring true.
Natalie aka Tannat
Although I was not persuaded by all of Lippmann's arguments, he does make some interesting points. Admittedly, part of what I found interesting was how the book offered some insight into the time period in which it was written, in the aftermath of the Great War.
Winding and unnecessarily long

S few good concepts indeed. But the author gave too many examples in a long winding way to demonstrate them. Now seventy years later, it's hard for readers to relate to these examples in social science. The society has changed too much.
It was interesting, to say the least. I find Lippmann, along with Bernays, to be elitist with a manipulative personality. Dangerous ideas are presented which are still in use today by the current Gadianton Robbers.
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Highlights 1 3 May 17, 2017 01:36PM  
  • Propaganda
  • Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
  • Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
  • The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion
  • The Language of the Body
  • Walter Lippmann and the American Century
  • The Limits of State Action
  • Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism
  • Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World
  • Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy
  • The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and The Public Should Expect
  • Four Screenplays: Studies in the American Screenplay
  • Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America
  • The Politics and The Constitution of Athens
  • The Media Monopoly
  • Marx's Concept of Man
  • Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy
  • Who Killed the Constitution?: The Assault on American Law and the Unmaking of a Nation
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator who gained notoriety for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War. Lippmann was twice awarded (1958 and 1962) a Pulitzer Prize for his syndicated newspaper column, "Today and Tomorrow."
More about Walter Lippmann...

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“The systems of stereotypes may be the core of our personal tradition, the defenses of our position in society. They are an ordered more or less consistent picture of the world, to which our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves. They may not be a complete picture of the world, but they are a picture of a possible world to which we are adapted. In that world, people and things have their well-known places, and do certain expected things. We feel at home there. We fit in. We are members.


It is not merely a short cut. It is all these things and something more. It is the guarantee of our self-respect; it is the projection upon the world of our own sense or our own value, our own position, and our own rights. [...] They are the fortress of our traditions, and behind its defenses we can continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy.”
“We are told about the world before we see it. We imagine most things before we experience them. And those preconceptions, unless education has made us acutely aware, govern deeply the whole process of perception.” 17 likes
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