Roland Perry - Non-fiction


The author’s second book followed up on a factual theme in Program for a Puppet—the way the American public was manipulated into voting for candidates by slick computer-based campaigns. Entitled Hidden Power: The Programming of the President it concentrated on the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The book explained how advertising techniques had been superseded in elections by more sophisticated methods, including marketing and computer analysis. It was published in 1984. The book, as much narrative as analysis, told how the two key campaign ‘pollsters’ steered their candidates. It was not critical of president Ronald Reagan, but was seen by the Republican campaign as hostile to him.

In the UK, the book received wide coverage. The Economist opined that it had a ‘frightening message: the pollsters with their state-of-the-art computers, which keep a finger on the pulse of the electorate, hope they can manipulate almost any election and have ambitions to control what the people’s choice can do in office.’ Oliver Pritchett in the London Sunday Telegraph thought the book’s main concept was ‘an alarming idea, and the author... plainly intends to give us the shivers.’

Communist journalist, Australian Wilfred Burchett died in Bulgaria late 1983, and Perry wrote a book about him in 1988. Perry based the book on Australia’s biggest defamation trial, when Burchett in 1974 sued Jack Kane of the Democratic Labor Party for calling him a KGB agent.

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