Excellent book. I purchased this book with the intention of becoming better acquainted with the pertinent issues of the 2016 election. This desire came about after realizing the extreme degree to which news media force feeds the public the ideas that should concern them. It's as though people have become unable to think for themselves, resulting in deep divides among citizens who otherwise have nearly everything in common over issues of little consequence to their daily lives. I felt myself slipping into this pattern, and so I decided to try and educate myself somewhat on how government really works.
To put it simply, I could not put this book down once I began reading. There is a lot of information here and normally that would make it all a bit difficult to absorb and retain. However, I found that this was not the case here, in that much of the information relates to matters that are either popular topics or have received considerable media coverage, and the reading serves to provide the background to these stories that is so often missing in popular understanding of political topics. A perfect example of this is the explanation of events leading up to the Iraq War. I was in junior high school at the time and I remember the mood of the country during that period. I thought I understood how and why popular opinion of the conflict had shifted, but after reading a more comprehensive overview of these events, many of the questions or confusion I had about what went on in that period became obvious. It was like reliving those days with new eyes. This was the case with many of the issues discussed in this book; it was like one continuous stream of "a-ha" moments, which is why although dense, the info was not at all hard to retain.
My only critique is the occurrence of two typos, several chapters apart, that make the meanings of a couple of sentences unclear. Both are so obvious however, that it is immediately recognized that a mistake was made.
Lastly, I have to commend the author for maintaining a neutral, very academic perspective throughout the book. There is no political slant whatsoever. The author manages to present each issue from all points of view equally and without criticism. Where popular criticism of a piece of legislation or a political position is discussed, it is discussed from the perspective of each party with the respective positions of that party outlined without bias.
Everyone should be required to read this book (or listen to it read) before they are allowed to vote. I think many people have no idea what their chosen political parties' ideologies and beliefs actually are. When you read the totality of its official platform and see the evidence of those beliefs presented in the form of somewhat obscure but nonetheless significant legislation supported by the elected officials of the organization, it can be something of a wake-up call as to the importance of being an informed voter. I was surprised that some of my own beliefs don't match those of my party and actually found some of my ideas being challenged numerous times as I read. The nuances of these belief systems are critical to the effects that policy decisions will have on voters' lives. I was unaware of the degree to which this is true before this book. I walked away wondering whether it is actually possible to be well informed and still identify wholely with a single political party as most people do.
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Arcade Pub; 3 edition (19 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1628726725
- ISBN-13: 978-1628726725
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 303,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)