BOOK REVIEW: A look inside the world of US diplomacy

The United States Information Agency (USIA) grew out of President Woodrow Wilson's efforts to influence world opinion during WWI. For most of the 20th century, it sought to "promote mutual understanding" between the US and the world.

The United States Information Agency (USIA) grew out of President Woodrow Wilson's efforts to influence world opinion during WWI. For most of the 20th century, it sought to "promote mutual understanding" between the US and the world.

Before the State Department absorbed it in 1999, the USIA wandered the diplomatic desert. According to Snow, a USIA vet, President Clinton corrupted its mission by having it conduct diplomacy in the name of US business expansion. And with the USIA's subsequent dissolution, America now has no single agency devoted to fostering relationships with foreign populations, and we're paying the price. Snow believes the practice of public diplomacy has suffocated recently, but she expresses optimism over the renewed attention the USIA has received since September 11. This book lets the reader make up his own mind, though it's hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with Snow's assertion that the US must work on its image now more than ever. ----- Title Propaganda, Inc.: Selling America's Culture to the World, 2nd ed. Author Nancy Snow Publisher Seven Stories Press, 109 pages

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