Unspeak: How Words Become Weapons, How Weapons Become a Message, and How that Message Becomes Reality

Steven Poole, Author . Grove $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0802118257

Politicians are held in such low esteem these days that most people assume they are lying or twisting the truth until proven otherwise. Now, as if to confirm that bit of popular wisdom, Guardian contributor Poole (Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution ), addresses "unspeak," his term for politically loaded language in which a sound bite implies an entire unspoken political argument. With ample outrage and barbed wit, Poole unpacks some of the most prevalent—and politically charged—expressions animating today's political and media discourse, from "intelligent design" to "global warming," "collateral damage" to the "war on terror." His targets are staples of liberal complaint against current ideology, with much of the book—and his contempt—devoted to disentangling the propaganda that has been marshaled on behalf of the "war on terror" and the war in Iraq. Poole's goal is not only to shed light on how politicians manipulate language to justify their actions but also to shame the media into rejecting the official line rather than parroting government talking points. This book takes no word at face value, which will anger some and enlighten others, just as a book of social and linguistic commentary should. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/13/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-349-11924-3
Hardcover - 282 pages - 978-0-316-73100-3
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-8021-4305-1
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