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Kursh, C.O. (1973). Persuasion: The Theory and Practice of Manipulative Communication.George N. Gordon. New York: Communication Arts Books, Hastings House, 1971. xvii + 558 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 60(3):475-476.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Review, 60(3):475-476

Persuasion: The Theory and Practice of Manipulative Communication.George N. Gordon. New York: Communication Arts Books, Hastings House, 1971. xvii + 558 pp.

Review by:
Charlotte O. Kursh

A reviewer's concern with an author is really only with his persona, the editorial we or I that speaks in a book. This persona is rarely identical with those facets of the man that appear as friend, husband, father, lover, or even professional colleague or author of some other book. Gordon may be dazzlingly competent in all these alternate capacities; the following remarks apply only to the persona that appears in Persuasion.

It is a curious persona to be found in a book that presumably was designed to appeal to educated and professional readers and to persuade them of the general credibility of its author, if not necessarily of the soundness of his views. Usually by the time a man has earned a doctorate he has learned to spell or, if he has not, at least has the wit to hire a secretary or an editor who has. The prevalence of such gross errors as spacial for spatial and condesension for condescension could perhaps be overlooked in a manuscript. In a printed book they give a slovenly and careless air to the entire work, as well as raising doubts as to the academic competence and even the literacy of everyone connected with the enterprise: author, secretary, editor, printer, and proofreader.

These doubts are not materially allayed by some of the locutions:

Considering its probable future as a persuasive manifestation, discussion of the Women's Liberation Movement has extenuated too far into the discussion.

One can only guess that the author meant to say something to the effect that Women's Liberation was unlikely to persuade many people, and that its discussion had extended too far into the discussion, itself not a particularly felicitous phrase.

The choice of metaphors also leaves something to be desired:

The constituent aspects of violence per se have been blown dry by the plenitude of investigation it has recently undergone.


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