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Broadsides and Bayonets : The Propaganda War of the American Revolution by Carl Berger

Broadsides and Bayonets : The Propaganda War of the American Revolution by Carl Berger


Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961. Hardcover. 256 pages ; illustrated ; 22 cm. $5.00 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.


Carl Berger relates here the fascinating story of the propaganda and subversion activities of both factions during the American Revolutionary War. The writings of the period, the archives, and literature, are filled with intriguing references to "secret arts and machinations," some relating to incidents familiar to students of American history, others touching on events long since forgotten. This book for the first time brings these known and little-known events into perspective, examining in a single, authoritative narrative their role and importance.

In his Preface to Broadsides and Bayonets, Mr. Berger explains the great effort which was made by the supporters of both causes toward effective and wide-spread psychological warfare. "During its eight-year progression, the war gave birth to many divisive operations, well planned in some instances and often involving minority groups on the scene as well as Englishmen and Americans. Drawn into the colonial struggle were French Canadians and German mercenaries, Indian tribes and Negro slaves, Irishmen, and other peoples."

Propaganda activities were not confined to the actual wartime period by any means. The newspaper and pamphlet attacks on the British started well before 1776 and brought to a fighting edge the spirits of the American colonists. Each major protagonist planned intelligent and extensive campaigns to subvert and weaken the enemy camp. "It was a provocative war in which the atrocity story, kidnappings, false rumors, and bribery stirred the people. It was a conflict which inevitably spread to Europe and there engaged the talents of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, in America's first organized overseas propaganda campaign."

Broadsides and Bayonets is the absorbing study of the techniques of Revolutionary propaganda. The author encompasses a great log of original material on the hot and cold war of the period, much of which has not been previously available in a single volume.


Carl Berger was born in Chicago in 1925 and received his primary and high-school education in that city. In 1943, at the age of eighteen, he entered the United States Army and served in Europe as a sergeant in the Combat Engineers. Following World War II, he was in the Army Reserve with the rank of first lieutenant in Military Intelligence.

In 1949 Mr. Berger was graduated with distinction from the State University of Iowa, .where he was a member of Phi B6ta Kappa. He obtained his master's degree in history from Drake University in 1952, and has done graduate work at George Washington University.

From 1949 to 1953, he was employed on the Des Moine-Register as a reporter and assistant city editor. In June, 1953 he was assigned by the government as an historian in Japan, and it was during this tour that he collected material for his first book, The Korea Knot. Returning to the United States in 1955, he worked for a time on the Washington Post & Times-Herald and as an historical writer for the Navy. At resent, Mr. Berger is writing about intercontinental missiles nd space age developments for the Strategic Air Command's st Missile Division at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

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