Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Unseen Power: Public Relations, A History by Scott M. Cutlip

Academic journal article Journalism History

Book Reviews -- the Unseen Power: Public Relations, A History by Scott M. Cutlip

Article excerpt

Scott M. Cutlip, dean emeritus at the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has focused this lengthy work on some of the key leaders of early public relations agencies and their contribution to the development of the field from about 1900 into the 1960s.

A longtime leading public relations scholar and teacher, Cutlip displays his more than forty years of research on public relations history in this comprehensive book. He pulls no punches in detailing both the good and bad in the evolution of agency public relations practice. His extensive research is based heavily on primary sources that he helped accumulate for the Mass Communications History Center at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Notes on the book's sources are provided at the end of each chapter.

Those profiled were selected because of their significant contributions in the public relations field and the availability of reference materials. These public relations pioneers include Ivy Lee, Edward Bernays, Pendleton Dudley, John Hill, Earl Newsom, Carl Byoir, and Leone Baxter as well as many others. Cutlip notes that the inclusion of only two women and no black counselors is a fact of history and not his choice.

This book of twenty-two chapters is divided into three sections. Part I, "The Seedbed Years of Counseling, 1900-1919," chronicles the press agentry birth of modem public relations in a time of highly conflicting economic, social, and political forces, a period of rapid national growth and the emergence of the country into an imperial power from a position of isolationism. …

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