Thought Control in Democratic Societies, by Noam Chomsky.
Quickie Recap: This book probably defies quickie anything, but generally, it's the published version of several of his lectures, including 'Democracy and the Media' and 'Adjuncts of Government'.
Quickie Review: Going to the beach? Drawing yourself a bubble bath? Climbing under the duvet? Read something else. The best adjective I know of to describe this book is "dense" which is not to say it's bad. It has some really good ideas, but man, you have to be mentally prepared to plough through them. Basically, this book is about politicians maintaining a culture of confusion by using propaganda to distract us from what's really going on. Of course this smacks of the past 8 years of George W, but this book was prescient I guess, having been written in 1989. The edition that I read had the added bonus of being twice as long as the original, thanks to a series of appendices that address the criticism of the book's contents. If you think Chomsky is normally a little....scathing, well, you should see him with his hackles up!
Quickie Recommendation: Oooh, tough one. I can't really imagine gifting anyone with this book, which is usually what I go by. Sorry, Noam.