War posters : weapons of mass communication /

Main Author: Aulich, James.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: London : Thames & Hudson, 2011.
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Review by Choice Review

This well-produced, well-illustrated anthology of the propaganda poster during and between WW I and WW II presents over 300 posters. Aulich (independent scholar) provides a running narrative that gives the sociopolitical background behind the rise in influence of this particular form of advertising. The book has some limitations, however. First, it is difficult to know how to categorize it. The volume is not really an exercise in design history because the posters are not, by and large, noteworthy examples of advancement in the art of design. The works are best treated as examples of the sociology of propaganda, or perhaps as illustrating the historical development of the relationship of communication media and political systems. For American libraries, a possible limitation is one of breadth: most of the posters are from Britain (although there are representatives from several other countries, including the US). Finally, the question of balance arises: most of the posters are from WW I (about 80 pages), whereas WW II has fewer than 60 pages, and the post-WW II period only about 20 pages. Despite limitations, this is a worthwhile book to order. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. S. Skaggs University of Louisville

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Wars are typically understood as national emergencies that require an ethos of shared sacrifice. This oversized exhibition catalog of posters from London's Imperial War Museum (see the online exhibition at www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package/posters/default.htm) offers a solid introduction to the complexities of what can be fairly characterized as internal propaganda campaigns. From World War I to the atrocities of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, visual-culture historian Aulich argues that posters blend advertising techniques with public information in ways that encourage viewers to accept a particular political ideology. He writes an informative introduction on posters' social function and, though the text is arranged chronologically, explores both the formal semiotics of visual language and the posters' historical context. Archival photographs of wartime posters let the reader see how an image was deployed in situ. Another quality Thames & Hudson production at a great price, this would be an interesting companion to Debbie Millman's How To Think Like a Great Graphic Artist, an entertaining exploration of how commercial artists view creativity. Recommended.--Katherine C. Adams, Yale Univ. Lib., New Haven, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.