BOOK REVIEW: 'Secret' reveals US' PR prowess in WWII

The current administration loves to boast about the unconventional means employed in its war on terror. But cash payoffs to warlords and super-sized bombs can't compare in creativity to the theatrical misdirection pulled off by this band of ad wizards, designers, writers, and, yes, PR men in World War II.

The current administration loves to boast about the unconventional means employed in its war on terror. But cash payoffs to warlords and super-sized bombs can't compare in creativity to the theatrical misdirection pulled off by this band of ad wizards, designers, writers, and, yes, PR men in World War II.

Secret Soldiers tells of these previously anonymous men who used sound effects, lighting tricks, inflated armory, fake radio transmissions, and even actors to lure the enemy into attacking wrong fields or defending the wrong bridges. The documents detailing their work were only recently declassified, so this is truly the first telling of an important era in the history of America and its communications industry. Compellingly written with some painfully exacting detail, Secret Soldiers reads more like a battlefield playbook than a historical narrative. While an enthusiasm for war's intricacies will aid your appreciation, all PR pros will walk away from this book feeling proud of the very real ways their colleagues were once able to serve our country. ----- Title Secret Soldiers Author Philip Gerard Publisher Plume, a division of the Penguin Group, 416 pages Reviewed by Douglas Quenqua

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