Glen Krutz, University of Oklahoma
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9381681-7-8
Publisher: OpenStax CNX
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Coverage same as most standard Am Gov textbooks, with chapters organized same as most (expensive) standard texts and each chapter about as long as read more
Coverage same as most standard Am Gov textbooks, with chapters organized same as most (expensive) standard texts and each chapter about as long as standard texts. Has good index.
No problems here.
This topic will require frequent updating. This edition (2016) has been eclipsed by the huge changes under Trump, but that is also true of all 'standard' texts. Would hope a new edition will be forthcoming over the next year or so?
Seems quite well written. Have used it this semester in 2 sections of my intro Am Gov class with no student complaints.
No problems here.
I assign a chapter every week, so the modularity has not been vital to me. But chapters are broken up into 5 or so modules, so it could be assigned that way.
There is a standard form to intro Am Gov textbooks, and this one is pretty typical.
Only problem I saw: there are 2 versions of this book in OpenStax. One designed to be looked at online, another one that is essentially a replica of the printed version. I use review questions in each chapter for mandatory homework. The printed version (and online replica version) has all review questions at back of each chapter, without answers provided, the way I wanted it. However, after assigning the questions, I found that the 'full online' version has the review questions INTEGRATED into the text (scattered in the chapter) AND provides ANSWERS to them. This enabled some students to essentially cheat on my homework. So do be sure, if adopting this text, to carefully preview the chapters for any issues like this.
No problems seen.
Many varied examples and leaders are highlighted.
I have used this text this semester (fall 2017) here at Penn State Berks with good success. It seems to be equal to any 'standard' Am Gov text. Using a free text ensures that all students will HAVE the book, which has been a problem for me in recent years with 'standard' texts. The online availability is of course also excellent for today's students. And a printed version is also available for those who prefer it (including me!) for only $40. One small issue: I found that I could not order a free 'desk' printed version from the publisher, as is standard for normal texts. I had the choice of paying for my own copy or finding a small grant from my college to cover the cost. Not a major issue for $40, but annoying. Faculty are used to getting free copies of texts.
The text covers all areas that one would expect from an introduction to American Government textbook. There are some chapters I would probably not read more
The text covers all areas that one would expect from an introduction to American Government textbook. There are some chapters I would probably not use (the policy chapters) and I would prefer the chapters in a different order (institutions before behavior), but that is something that can come through teaching. There seem to be problems with the formatting, though that could just be on machine, with some not converted paragraphs. For example, section 1.3 shows up as not converted. It also seems like there are only answers to select questions?
The book seems unbiased - and includes the traditional readings of American Government.
While things may change quickly in American government, a lot stays the same. This book would be easy to update as changes occur. Whenever the next update does occur, I would strongly suggest change the order of the paragraphs so Part 4 comes after Part 1. I really liked that it had information from the 2016 election, as that is interesting to many students.
The book is very accessible. It does a good job of defining terms used in the text and citing relevant sources. I think the book could benefit from a more extensive glossary at the end of each chapter, rather than each section.
The book is consistent in terms and focus. There seems to be a great emphasis on students and the system, as indicated in Part 1, and civic engagement more generally. This is evident throughout the text.
The text would be very easy to divide into smaller sections. While I would like a comprehensive glossary for each chapter, the fact that each subsection within the chapter has its own glossary makes assigning small sections very easy, though I would not recommend assigning sections in place of a full chapter. The 5 sections of the book could also be broken apart, for instance I would assign Chapter 15, but not 16 or 17, given the constraints of time.
I mentioned this earlier, but I think it is important to have the chapters presented in a different order. I would teach the course with Part 1 first, the Part 4 and Chapter 15, then Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. This is something that can be adjusted by the instructor, and I rarely teach in the order books present the material anyway.
I'm seeing paragraph errors on my machine, but that may be unique to me. I think the flow of the book is clear, with different headings and images to explain the material. I appreciate the spacing of the material, and think that it makes it very clear and readable.
The grammar is fine, and the book seems well-written.
The book does not seem to be culturally insensitive, and I like the inclusion of the Equal Protection for Other Groups in section 5.5. The book does a nice job of bringing in gender concerns throughout the text, as well. This book does a much better job of bringing these groups in than some other texts I have seen.
I am seriously considering using this text the next time I teach introduction to American Government. While there are changes I would like to see, that is true for any book. Overall, this is a good text that seems to be accessible for student learning.
The book is very comprehensive. If anything, the text may be a bit on the long side. It covers all of the major topics an introductory text should read more
The book is very comprehensive. If anything, the text may be a bit on the long side. It covers all of the major topics an introductory text should cover and a few others as well. The index is clear and useful and the chapter glossaries are excellent.
The text is evenly written with no discernible bias. I was not able to determine any instances of errors, although there are a few places where the coverage was a bit subjective or questionable. That said, those places were few and far between. The accuracy of this text is equivalent or higher than any introductory text I am familiar with.
I was impressed by how up to date the text was. I am not sure about the process of updates though and I suspect that within one or two years the book will need a refresh. This is a major issue with political science texts as the students are very focused on the present time, so the texts need to be very current. At present, this text meets that need but it may not completely in a couple of years.
The book was written at a high level but not an unclear one. The text was clear and devoid of any unnecessary jargon. While there are a few points where the text could be more concise, overall the text is well written and accessible.
The book was very internally consistent in terms of terminology. Key words repeated throughout so students would be exposed them at various points in the text.
Generally I would say the text would be easy to divide into smaller subsections. In fact, I would critique the text somewhat in the other direction, there are a few points where important related ideas are broken into different subsections. This is not a pervasive problem, however but an occasional one.
The text follows a chapter layout that is common among American politics texts, beginning with the Constitution and ending with policy. The chapter organization was not revolutionary but logical and familiar. There were a few places where the order within the chapter was slightly distracting (the media chapter comes to mind), but this was not a major issue.
This text had no major interface issues. The text and figures were attractive and easy to navigate.
The text is very written and edited, I did not notice any grammatical errors, although that was not the primary focus of my review.
The book was not culturally insensitive or offensive. In fact, the text compares positively with other leading texts in this regard.
Prior to reviewing this text, I was not very familiar with open source textbooks. After review, I was impressed with this text on a number of fronts namely its clear writing style and comprehensive nature. Overall, this is a very good text.
The book is comprehensive in that it has everything I usually look for in an intro to American government text: - clear framing around basic read more
The book is comprehensive in that it has everything I usually look for in an intro to American government text: - clear framing around basic theories of representation and collective action (probably less explicitly on the latter than something like the Kernell book, but on balance that’s a good thing). - Good supplementary framing around the founding documents and federalism - Chapter organization around the set of themes that any proper intro gov class would teach: institutions plus civil rights liberties, parties, elections, public opinion, and so on. - A good set of basic references at the end of each chapter. - A timely set of examples, nicely updated through the beginning of the Trump presidency.
I spotted no factual inaccuracies, and the text does not belay any obvious political bias.
The book is updated through to the present day. This matters very much for American government texts, and the author has done a very good job here mixing long-standing historical examples with contemporaneous material. Of course the book's "longevity" is not likely to be long just because of the nature of the subject matter. This isn't physics, it's politics. So things will change and go out-of-date. This is not, however, a reason not to use the book as currently written and hope that it is appropriately updated in the years ahead.
The book is clearly and accessible written. It is pitched at an appropriate level for undergraduates in an introductory class, and is in no way patronizing as some of these books can often be.
Everything seems consistently written and well-integrated.
Modularity is important for me as I usually find myself teaching "out of order" with respect to the book's chapter organization. I don't think that would be a problem here, because the chapters are for the most part logically defined and pretty self-contained.
This follows from previous comments. I found the book well-organized and based on a logical structure.
I noticed no issues of the kind. The book looks very good, is easily navigable, and has a pleasing visual style (viz. no out-of-focus or bad images, good graphs, clear text, etc...)
I didn't notice any serious grammar problems.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. Even the most "controversial" chapters - civil rights and liberties, for example - are well-handled and I can't imagine a reasonable basis for students' balking at them. The book seemed reasonable "inclusive", although I suppose this is pretty subjective and I'll admit to not usually judging texts on this ground.
A couple of further notes (in no order) that didn't seem to fit anywhere else: 1. I liked the Supreme Court and Electoral College Appendices, very nice additions beyond the usual set of founding documents. 2. The "finding a middle ground" boxes are a neat idea, particularly in the context of an increasingly polarized country. I haven't seen anything quite like that before, and it's useful. 3. I liked the film recommendations as references, although I wondered why they only came after three chapters (Intro, Congress, Courts)? Would be nice to build out the list for a bunch of other chapters as well. 4. I have no comment or assessment of either the usefulness of "supplementary" stuff like outside websites or discussion questions. These aren't things I ever bother with in textbooks, so I have no opinion about whether they are useful or not in this case. In summary, this is a high-quality book that has most everything anybody would want. It could easily be mistaken for a book that costs students $75, and so that fact that it is free of charge means everybody should use it. I certainly will moving forward.
The comprehensiveness of Krutz's American Government text is such that it more than adequately addresses the curricular requirements of the American read more
The comprehensiveness of Krutz's American Government text is such that it more than adequately addresses the curricular requirements of the American government and politics courses offered by the Virginia Community College System. As an instructor, I would readily welcome the adoption of this text and would recommend the assignment of the text as required reading for courses that I regularly teach, including PLS 135: American National Politics, PLS 211: U.S. Government I, and PLS 212: U.S. Government II. The text appropriately covers the essential concepts, and their related application, for American government and politics. The text makes the content more relevant to students by providing opportunities to analyze and interpret charts, data, and graphs to better understand current examples and the applications of the material. Further, the text includes supplemental readings, such as important primary source materials, such as the Constitution and Federalist Papers #10 and #51.
The textbook's content is accurate, free from errors, and unbiased. The accuracy of the content is reinforced by the textbook's frequent use of references, such as source citations, to articles, books, and studies. The sources cited, within the sections of each of the various chapters, are from reputable, recognizable experts in their fields of study.
The text is highly relevant for students studying American government and politics today and will serve students well in subsequent years without seeming obsolete. The updates to the text with respect to the 2016 election are topical and serve to make the content more easily understand without the risk of seeming outdated in a short period of time. The text uses the 2016 election, in particular, to help the reader better understand the varying voting methods within the Electoral College by stating: "In 2016, Republican Donald Trump won one congressional district in Maine, even though Hillary Clinton won the state overall. This Electoral College voting method is referred to as the district system." The text's content also features an excellent collection of relevant, recent landmark Supreme Court cases, including Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Obergefell v. Hodges.
The text's clarity is excellent. The text's prose is written in a clear and concise fashion. Key terms are defined with appropriate detail in a glossary and the summaries serve to reinforce the material covered in each section.
The text's consistency is quite strong in that it provides a comprehensible, conceptual framework and predictably organized units, chapters, and sections for the study of American government and politics.
The text's modularity is such that the instructor that would be able to easily reorganize and realign the readings to fit the curricular requirements of the course taught. In particular, the text's chapters on interest groups and bureaucracy could be kept separated or recombined to provide instruction, as necessary, on the topic of public policy.
The topics in the text are organized, structured, and flow in a logical sequence. The units are ordered to provide a guiding conceptual framework for study. Within each unit, the chapters are structured to provide connections between topics that build upon the prior chapter's learning objectives . Within each of the chapters, there are sections which provide clear learning objectives, summaries, key terms, and opportunities for assessment with multiple-choice and short-response review questions. The reader benefits from content that is organized in a fashion that is both comprehensible and predictable.
The text is free from interface issues as it was easy to read and navigate, and the graphics displayed properly.
The text does not contain any grammatical errors. Further, the writing is clear and concise.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. The text makes frequent use of examples that seek to inform through inclusion so as to make the material more relevant to individuals from a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. For example, the text's section on "Engagement in a Democracy," outlines how individuals can become more civically engaged and showcases how ordinary people can effect change. The text is particularly impressive with its section on "Equal Protection for Other Groups" as it provides an exceptional overview of the challenges many groups have faced in the United States with thoughtful explanations of landmark Supreme Court cases and legislation impacting the struggle for civil rights.
This textbook provides a comprehensive framework for introductory American government. Multiple perspectives on issues and areas of controversy are read more
This textbook provides a comprehensive framework for introductory American government. Multiple perspectives on issues and areas of controversy are acknowledged.Enduring themes and tensions between ideas and realities are presented in a way that is not reductive. Landmark cases and events bring history alive. Chapter objectives, appealing graphics and photos, glossaries of 'key terms,' recommended reading, summaries, and quizzes are some of the text features that make this inviting.
Language is neutral and seems to avoid leading or biased undertones. Different perspectives of complex issues are presented. References are balanced--not exclusively conservative or liberal--and include non-partisan resources.This text appears to be carefully edited and reviewed.
Overall, the content is relevant and won't quickly become obsolete. Some of the current graphs and charts will need to be updated.The links to learning sections make it possible to quickly find current data and information.
The text is academic, yet accessible. Technical language is defined within the text or in the chapter glossaries. Style is straightforward.
The layout is consistent for each chapter, with topic subheadings, feature boxes, links to learning, summaries and glossaries. It's very well organized. Relevant archival documents and photos add to the appeal.
The text can easily be divided into modules. While it clearly has a logical structure and is thoughtfully organized, chapters could be selected based on the theme and objectives of the course.
The topics seem to be organized in a clear, logical fashion, with no jarring transitions.
The interface is very easy to use, with no navigation problems or distracting features.
No grammatical errors.
The text acknowledges multiple perspectives of race, ethnicity, gender, ability and other backgrounds. However, this is a general U.S. government overview, so there is room for an instructor to supplement with additional primary sources, such as diary excerpts, speeches, poems and other genres.
As an instructor of pre-college ABE students working towards a GED, I am always looking for relevant, engaging materials to hook my students. I find this a potentially helpful framework to shape my courses. The chapter summaries, quizzes, the suggestions for extra activities in particular are useful. The graphics, photos, and primary documents add a visual appeal as well as provide students to other literacies. There is much more in this book than I could use in a term, so I would select portions of the chapters. I like to 'build' my curriculum from a variety of sources; this book could provide a foundation.
The text is impressively comprehensive, both with respect to its range of coverage and depth of discussion of each topic. The book is actually read more
The text is impressively comprehensive, both with respect to its range of coverage and depth of discussion of each topic. The book is actually slightly longer and denser than other texts I have assigned for an introductory course in American government. I found it especially comprehensive in its coverage of civil rights, voter registration and turnout, and the concluding policy chapters. I do think the other subsections on elections get a little shortchanged. And the book is missing some introductory material on theory of collective action/game theory that I is included in other texts that I like to teach in my course.
I did not notice anything plainly inaccurate. And the text generally attempts to present its material in a balanced and unbiased way, presenting several perspectives on controversial issues.
The book is very up to date for early 2017, including data from the 2016 campaign and elections, as well as very contemporary policy debates and legal issues. Some of this material is bound to become somewhat out-of-date in the relatively near term, but it appears to authors are releasing new editions of the book with updated information quite frequently, so this is less of concern to me than with other texts on this subject.
The writing is generally very clear. As mentioned above, I found the text slightly denser than the average textbook for an Introduction to American Government class. But the book helpfully highly new and key phrases, and uses plentiful figures and sidebars to improve clarity. Key terms are also defined at the end of each chapter.
The framework of the chapters is internal consistent. Each chapter includes embedded boxes with relevant information such as “insider perspectives”, specific short contemporary case studies, and external links to deeper readers. And the conclusion of each chapter follows a common format including key terms definitions, summaries of each subchapter, about twenty multiple choice and essay questions, and a list of suggested readings for further study.
Yes, the text is clearly divided into sections, chapters, and subchapters, all numerically outlined and structured in a clear way. The subchapters themselves are internal divided with separate headers, though this third level organization is not numbered.
I found the organization of chapters a bit unconventional, and certainly different than the way I teach this course. In particular, the sections on civil rights, civil liberties are grouped near the beginning with section on public opinion and elections. Following this is a separate section on media, parties, and interest groups. And sections on the actually branches of government come near the end. This is somewhat backwards to how I teach the course in my mind. And I would rather see the civil rights and liberties grouped with discussion of the constitutional framework and courts, while voting and elections are groups with parties and media. The chapter organization is clear, so it would be easy to teach the chapters in a different order.
There is no distortion of text, images, or figures; this is all very clear. The book includes internal links to all notes and figures within the text, and also external web links where relevant. I wish the footnotes included links back to main text. The book also includes more whitespace than a typical textbook (e.g. p. 136, in which only a small fraction of the page is filled with an external link) , though if you are not strictly concerned with minimizing page count or aesthetics, this is feature rather than a bug, as it reduces the need for thing like including figures on a page with unrelated text to maximize efficient spacing.
I did not notice any grammatical errors, though I admit I was not closely proofreading for this purpose.
I did not see any clear cultural bias on the part of the authors. In fact, in several places the book includes specific discussion of how the subject relates to minority or historically underrepresented or repressed communities that other texts tend to ignore (e.g. p. 176 on “Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups”).
This is a very attractive and comprehensive text that is in many ways an improvement on the texts I have used for my American Government class. My biggest concerns lie with the unconventional ordering of the material, as well as the density of the text throughout. But it is an impressive work overall.
American Government is a very comprehensive textbook. In reviewing the table of contents, I found the book has a logical flow that begins with read more
American Government is a very comprehensive textbook. In reviewing the table of contents, I found the book has a logical flow that begins with defining what government is and then proceeds to provide information on the critical subjects of our democracy including but not limited to: The Constitution, federalism, civil liberties, civil rights, voting, Congress, the presidency, our court system, and the federal bureaucracy. One particular aspect related to the question of comprehensiveness was the authors’ decision to include a chapter on state and local government. This is a positive choice as it provides students with some knowledge of state and local government without usurping the information that is taught in a state and local government class. The index and glossary are well formulated. The definitions in the glossary are precise.
I made significant checks throughout the textbook and found it to accurate in the information provided. Two points will be commented on here. In the preface, there is a chart of the makeup of the United States Supreme Court, listing the justices, and their ideology of conservative versus liberal. This was an early indication of the accuracy of the textbook. A second point, is figure 3.17 regarding marriage equality. At the time this edition was written, the information in figure 3.17, presented data on the legality of same sex marriage by state in our country in an easily understood and precise manner.
This is a slightly difficult area to comment on. The textbook is relevant and up to date, relative to the time it was published. I have found that with any textbook, it is always necessary to supplement by lecture with current information that is not in the textbook. However, clearly, the information in this textbook is presented, in a manner that allows for updating as changing occur with major political events, elections, Supreme Court decisions, demographical data, and public opinion.
The textbook, American Government, has been written to be a lucid and detailed, book that more than adequately gives context to the terminology used in every chapter. I reviewed several chapters for discussion areas that students often time find difficult to understand due to the terminology used, such as federalism, civil liberties, civil rights and bureaucracies. These subjects were covered using terminology that was timely and clear. The authors also included new terms such as the use of “Astroturf movement” on page 379 and “PIRGS” on page 382.
This is the easiest area for remarks for this review. American Government, as a textbook, maintains consistency in its use of terminology throughout every chapter. Its framework is solid.
Modularity in this textbook is handled well. The chapters are subdivided into appropriate sections with relevant information with documentation given with charts, diagrams, references to Supreme Court decisions and stories from media sources.
One of the first things that I check when reviewing any textbook is the organization of the information in the table of contents for its structure. This immediately gives an indication of how the material will flow. In this textbook, I was pleased with both. The information is presented in a logical way. Students first learn what constitutes a government. Then they are taught about the “Founding” of our country; moving on to the concepts of federalism, civil liberties, civil rights, and then to the institutions of our democracy. The text builds on the foundation in a logical and consistent manner.
I was able to move freely throughout the textbook with ease, experiencing no navigational difficulties and without finding any display features that were distracting or confusing. In each chapter, there are charts, diagrams, pictures from the news media that are appropriate, and informative that connect with the material in the chapter.
I spent a significant amount of time reviewing and reading this textbook. I did not see any grammatical errors while doing so.
This is an excellent question. The textbook is sensitive to a range of minority communities including African Americans, immigrants, the LBGQT community, gender and women’s issues, and persons who practice the Muslim faith. The respective discussions involving each of the aforementioned groups is objective, open minded, and balanced. Additionally, there are critical thinking questions offered that challenge students to consider how persons different from them may feel regarding not only the history of the treatment they have received based on who they are, but how politics, public opinion, media coverage, public policy, and court decisions impact their ability to fully participate in our democracy.
American Government by Krutz and Waskiewicz is an exceptionally good textbook. It is both well researched and written. The textbook is structured in a logical manner with chapters that have clearly defined subareas that more than adequately provide students with an understanding of American government. This book is useful as both as an assigned textbook but also as a reference for the study of United States government.
American Government by Glenn Krutz covers a lot of ground. Similar to other Introduction to American Government textbooks this book covers the read more
American Government by Glenn Krutz covers a lot of ground. Similar to other Introduction to American Government textbooks this book covers the typical material and then some. Right from the get go I enjoyed the section on Civic Engagement as many textbooks do not cover civic engagement to the level it was covered in this text. In addition to the readings at the end of the book like The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and Federalist #10 and Federalist #51, the textbook includes links to other readings and primary source documents to supplement the material. I liked this feature very much. The chapter on State and Local Government was a nice addition, but I am not sure how many instructors would be able to cover this material in addition to the other material required in an Introduction to American Government course. I like how there are separate chapters for Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. Many textbooks cover these two topics together in one chapter and I believe that it may be easier to teach if there is dedicated material to each topic in separate chapters. At the end of each chapter, the reader finds a glossary of key terms emphasized in the chapter.
I did not see any issues with the accuracy of the book. Material is presented in an unbiased manner without any noticeable errors. Additionally, there is a strong foundation of accurate historical background presented, especially in the Constitution chapter that provides the background necessary for understanding.
Overall, the content is up to date. However, this text would need to be updated after all national elections (mid-term and presidential). Of course, whenever there are big changes on the Supreme Court or in the American governmental structure updates would need to be made. Changes like these are expected and I do not think that this would be too difficult to do.
Overall, I found the text to be clear and readable. However, there were some paragraphs, that were a bit wordy and I am concerned that at times the author may lose the student due to this wordiness. The supplemental materials (graphs, charts, figures, etc.) are excellent for visual learners and certainly enhance the message of each section/chapter. Unfortunately, I found the hyperlinks within the text to be a bit distracting. I am also not sure that the students will click on the hyperlinks unless they are told to specifically read them. I would like the links available, but not mixed in with the text.
The text is extremely consistent. There were no issues with this at all.
This text can definitely be broken down not only by chapter but by sections. Because of the breakdown by the author, students can tackle smaller blocks of material easily and I believe that this will help with comprehension of the material.
The way the book is organized makes a lot of sense. However, I believe that the chapter on Bureaucracy (Chapter 15) would be better placed after the discussion of the Presidency (Chapter 12). Students may understand the material better and make a deeper connection regarding the relationship of the Bureaucracy to the Executive Branch if it is covered after the chapter on the Presidency, before the Courts. Also, I believe that the material on Parties should be placed closer to the material on campaigns and elections. In fact, I wish there was an entire chapter devoted to Campaigns and Elections. Regarding 7.3 Direct Democracy, although I understand why it is where it is currently, I think that the concept needs to be covered earlier in the text (time of American founding perhaps or even in the first chapter if possible). The concepts Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy are key to an American Government course.
My concern about the text are the hyperlinks and how they are integrated within the content. These hyperlinks will distract the reader. The charts, graphs and figures are well done and supplement the content. I wish there were more pictures though to break up the text and to enhance the reading. I also wish that some videos were integrated into the text as students love videos and this might help to draw them into the content even more.
The text does not contain any grammatical errors.
This text is not culturally insensitive. Many different races, backgrounds, ethnicities are presented to give the reader a well-rounded picture of how all different groups participate in the American governmental process. This coverage emphasizes and links back to the section of the text on Civic Engagement. This textbook does a nice job covering women Chapter 7, especially in regards to elections.
Overall, this book is a strong introductory text. It provides the necessary information for a student who wants to learn about the American governmental process. I am going to consider using it and ask students for their feedback on the textbook because after all, they are the ones deciphering the material.
This book is very comprehensive. The only suggestion that I would make is to include a little bit more political psychology, especially in the read more
This book is very comprehensive. The only suggestion that I would make is to include a little bit more political psychology, especially in the chapters on public opinion and the media. In particular, I would like to see some more/more direct discussion of motivated reasoning.
The book's content is accurate. I also don't perceive any bias.
The text is very up to date, using examples from as recently as 2016. Swapping out these examples for newer ones in the future should not be too onerous.
The book is clear and accessible. It avoids jargon and does a very good job clearly defining terms. I also very much like the end of the chapter contents. The section summaries will help students distill important ideas and the glossary/test questions will be a useful study aid.
The text is consistent in its use of terminology. I read the "theme" as being about civic engagement, and the theme appears consistently throughout the text.
The text would be easily divisible by chapter. I think it would be harder to pull apart sections of the book independently and rearrange them. For example, the term latent opinion comes up in the introductory chapter. The terms is not introduced again in the public opinion chapter. The book seems to presume knowledge of the concept based on preceding chapters. Generally, I don't think my critique of the modularity poses a problem for the use of this text. For the most part, you could move around chapters if not sections. Given the nature of an American politics course, I don't frequently see my colleagues, nor do I, order concepts much differently than they are ordered in this book.
The organization and flow of the book is very good. I suspect students will read the chapters as rather lengthy. However, the chapter lengths seem fairly typical for this type of text.
The text interface is good. My only critique here is substantial amounts of white space following some images which may distract the reader.
The grammar of the book is fine.
I do not think this book is at all culturally insensitive. I also think the book does an exceptional job bringing in minorities not traditionally covered in American politics texts (Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc.) I also think the book does a good job bringing in gender concerns throughout the text. For example, I appreciate the discussion of women as political candidates in the chapter on elections.
The next time I teach American politics, I will definitely use this text. It covers necessary topics clearly and comprehensively. It also does a great job bringing in marginalized or minority voices. And, as an instructor, I particularly appreciate the supplemental resources provided for teachers and the study aides in each chapter for students.
I am impressed with the comprehensiveness of the textbook. Right from the start is an engaging "What is Government" and "Who governs" introductory read more
I am impressed with the comprehensiveness of the textbook. Right from the start is an engaging "What is Government" and "Who governs" introductory sections, followed by excellent descriptions of our constitutional backgrounds and developments, and next the originality and purpose of our federal system of government. I like the "Feature Boxes" with the "Get Connected!" suggestions as to taking featured topics a step further. All the chapters have commendable "Finding Middle Ground," "Insider Perspectives," and "Links to Learning" website listed. Also helpful are the key historical moments "milestones" allowing a broader context viewpoint.
Accuracy is excellent, with essentially an unbiased and error-free content (and i do judge rather stringently the accuracy of historical content given I teach history as well).
Content is very much up to date. Recent elections and the up to date makeup of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are provided, along with the most recent as possible statistical aspects of our bureaucracy.
Text is well written and provides adequate context for necessary political science terminology. I do find, however, the text to be more densely worded than preferable. There are long stretches of well written but long winded paragraphs. These long reading stretches are furthermore too frequently interrupted by "Note" features that while allowing for the opening up of key court cases concerning the topic at hand also lengthens the necessary attention span expected of the students beyond a reasonable extent. In Chapter Four, for example, there are six "Note" sections in the first four pages and for the book as a whole, the average is one to two "Notes" per page. To expect of our students to readily pursue this extent of "Notes" is excessive, and the opposite effect I suggest occurs, namely a sense of being overwhelmed by such extra content.This is in my opinion too much to expect of our students.
The text is internally consistent with respect terminology and framework.
Here again I suggest that there are too many long blocks of text to read made even more so by the frequent "Note" sections expecting students to further read about key court cases. I find first and second year college students (the levels I teach) have limited attention spans with regard dense text no matter how articulately written.
The organization and structure are good. I like the "exercises" section for assessment of learning and the "glossaries." As for "flow," here again I suggest that there are too many "Note" interruptions to the readings. Each requires students to open up these extended opportunities for more information but in my opinion slides into information "overload" dimensions. Furthermore, I think there are not enough appropriate charts and illustrations to engage student attention. There is a good selections of "photographs."
The interface is well done. I had no problems with navigation and saw no distortion of images and charts.
Grammar was excellent. I repeat that the textbook content is well written. The discussion of the Civil Liberties issues in Chapter 4 were particularly well chosen, to the point, and engaging.
I found the textbook culturally sensitive and in no way offensive. Examples used are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and gender.
I found this textbook to have excellent coverage and scope. I particularly liked the "Get Connected," "Links to Learning," and "Insider Perspectives." I also liked very much the "exercises" section allowing "assessment of learning." The "glossaries" are very good as well. As I have shared, I suggest fewer "Note" features within the already long paragraphs of content, and in fact a tightening as well of the length of the reading text. More charts and illustrations interspersed would help maintain student engagement as they read the chapters.
It covers all the areas that may be taught in an American Government intro class. Not every one covers Civil Rights and Liberties or Foreign and read more
It covers all the areas that may be taught in an American Government intro class. Not every one covers Civil Rights and Liberties or Foreign and Domestic Policy, but this text does offer a chapter on each of those. It also includes a chapter on State and Local Government. I am sure many people would leave these out, but they are there if you want them. However, I always start American Government with a discussion on political culture and that seems to be missing.
This may just be me, but I take issue with this statement from page 9, "Democracy and capitalism do not have to go hand in hand...." I do think you have to have a free market to have democracy, although it might be a regulated market. Also, the map on page 15 lists Russia as a representative democracy. In fact, the whole world pretty much looks democratic and thats not true. Also, the yellow for Saudi Arabia doesn't show up very well.
Everything appears to be up to date, especially in the Voting and Elections chapter, with 2012 statistics and current pictures. However, the day after Election Day, this chapter will need an overhaul. Updating some of the pictures will be easy ( how many of our freshmen will remember that much about Mitt Romney?) , but for next semester, the text needs to provide 2016 turnout and election data.
Excellent. The language seems accessible. There are questions and glossary words at the end of each chapter to help clarify issues. Also, the hyperlinked notes provide a way for students who want to learn more about an issue. I will admit, however, I could not get the hyperlinks to work.
The book's layout is consistent. I saw no problems here.
Modularity is excellent. I think it would be very easy to pick and choose which parts of the book you would want to assign.
I have a minor problem with grouping the unit on Bureaucracy with Outputs rather than with the formal institutions of government I can't say I have ever seen the subtitle headings--Toward Collective Action and Delivering Collective Action before...
The only issue I had was that the NOTES that are interspersed through the chapters and appear to be hyperlinks do not work. I clicked on many, but was not taken to that particular resource. Also, when you click, for example, chapter 2, you cannot go directly to chapter 2, but you have to click the Intro first. Our students love videos---was it a conscious decision not to include video links?
I found no problems.
I saw no problems and particularity liked the emphasis on voter registration in the Voting and Elections unit. This has become such an important issue.
This looks like an excellent resource--well researched and in depth. It will be interesting to see the update after Election Day. Some of the pages could use a little more color to add some pop.
As an introduction to American Government, the text covers the areas and ideas of the subject at a very comprehensive level. It provides an effective read more
As an introduction to American Government, the text covers the areas and ideas of the subject at a very comprehensive level. It provides an effective index as well as a glossary of key terms at the end of each chapter.
The content is accurate, straightforward, and unbiased.
The content is very up-to-date and includes/examines relevant current issues. It is arranged in such a way that updates will be easy to implement. There is also a Link to Learning in each module that guides readers to content related updates that are available online.
The text is written in a way that provides context in a comprehensive and organized way. Key terms are included at the end of each chapter. In addition, there are charts, visual aids, and extension activities to expand and complement the text.
The framework of the text is consistent and simple to understand. The Feature Boxes act as a springboard to easily engage students beyond the confines of the text.
The text is easily and readily divisible. The beginning of each module clearly identifies the learning objectives and is organized in such a way that it can be assigned at any point within the course as the instructor sees fit. Each module is self-contained with its own summaries, key terms, assessments, and suggestions for further study.
The text is arranged using logical progression and builds upon itself so that it effectively connects topics, theory, and application for the reader while at the same time being structured in such a way that modules are easily and readily divisible (see modularity comments).
The interface is excellent. It is easy to navigate, the images/charts are relevant and clear, and all other display features serve to enhance the key point, theory, etc. of the topic in a clear, straightforward way. The Art Program, which "is designed to enhance students’ understanding of concepts through clear and effective statistical graphs, tables, and photographs", is excellent.
I did not find any grammatical errors in the text.
The text is culturally sensitive and consistently makes use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, backgrounds, etc.
I recommend considering the use of this book for an introductory American Government course. The coverage and scope is presented in a way that is well organized, concise, and engaging.
Table of Contents
1. Students and the System
1.1. American Government and Civic Engagement
1.1.2. What is Government?
1.1.3. Who Governs? Elitism, Pluralism, and Tradeoffs
1.1.4. Engagement in a Democracy
1.2. The Constitution and Its Origins
1.2.2. The Pre-Revolutionary Period and the Roots of the American Political Tradition
1.2.3. The Articles of Confederation
1.2.4. The Development of the Constitution
1.2.5. The Ratification of the Constitution
1.2.6. Constitutional Change
1.3. American Federalism
1.3.2. The Division of Powers
1.3.3. The Evolution of American Federalism
1.3.4. Intergovernmental Relationships
1.3.5. Competitive Federalism Today
1.3.6. Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism
2. Individual Agency and Action
2.1. Civil Liberties
2.1.2. What Are Civil Liberties?
2.1.3. Securing Basic Freedoms
2.1.4. The Rights of Suspects
2.1.5. Interpreting the Bill of Rights
2.2. Civil Rights
2.2.2. What Are Civil Rights and How Do We Identify Them?
2.2.3. The African American Struggle for Equality
2.2.4. The Fight for Women’s Rights
2.2.5. Civil Rights for Indigenous Groups: Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians
2.2.6. Equal Protection for Other Groups
2.3. The Politics of Public Opinion
2.3.2. The Nature of Public Opinion
2.3.3. How Is Public Opinion Measured?
2.3.4. What Does the Public Think?
2.3.5. The Effects of Public Opinion
2.4. Voting and Elections
2.4.2. Voter Registration
2.4.3. Voter Turnout
2.4.5. Campaigns and Voting
2.4.6. Direct Democracy
3. Toward Collective Action: Mediating Institutions
3.1. The Media
3.1.2. What Is the Media?
3.1.3. The Evolution of the Media
3.1.4. Regulating the Media
3.1.5. The Impact of the Media
3.2. Political Parties
3.2.2. What Are Parties and How Did They Form?
3.2.3. The Two-Party System
3.2.4. The Shape of Modern Political Parties
3.2.5. Divided Government and Partisan Polarization
3.3. Interest Groups and Lobbying
3.3.2. Interest Groups Defined
3.3.3. Collective Action and Interest Group Formation
3.3.4. Interest Groups as Political Participation
3.3.5. Pathways of Interest Group Influence
3.3.6. Free Speech and the Regulation of Interest Groups
4. Delivering Collective Action: Formal Institutions
4.1.2. The Institutional Design of Congress
4.1.3. Congressional Elections
4.1.4. Congressional Representation
4.1.5. House and Senate Organizations
4.1.6. The Legislative Process
4.2. The Presidency
4.2.2. The Design and Evolution of the Presidency
4.2.3. The Presidential Election Process
4.2.4. Organizing to Govern
4.2.5. The Public Presidency
4.2.6. Presidential Governance: Direct Presidential Action
4.3. The Courts
4.3.2. Guardians of the Constitution and Individual Rights
4.3.3. The Dual Court System
4.3.4. The Federal Court System
4.3.5. The Supreme Court
4.3.6. Judicial Decision-Making and Implementation by the Supreme Court
4.4. State and Local Government
4.4.2. State Power and Delegation
4.4.3. State Political Culture
4.4.4. Governors and State Legislatures
4.4.5. State Legislative Term Limits
4.4.6. County and City Government
5. The Outputs of Government
5.1. The Bureaucracy
5.1.2. Bureaucracy and the Evolution of Public Administration
5.1.3. Toward a Merit-Based Civil Service
5.1.4. Understanding Bureaucracies and their Types
5.1.5. Controlling the Bureaucracy
5.2. Domestic Policy
5.2.2. What Is Public Policy?
5.2.3. Categorizing Public Policy
5.2.4. Policy Arenas
5.2.6. Budgeting and Tax Policy
5.3. Foreign Policy
5.3.2. Defining Foreign Policy
5.3.3. Foreign Policy Instruments
5.3.4. Institutional Relations in Foreign Policy
5.3.5. Approaches to Foreign Policy
About the Book
American Government is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of the single-semester American Government course. This title includes innovative features designed to enhance student learning, including Insider Perspective features and a Get Connected module that shows students how they can get engaged in the political process. The book provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of American Government and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them.
Joel Webb, Tulane University
Shawn Williams, Campbellsville University
Rhonda Wrzenski, Indiana University Southeast
Tonya Neaves, George Mason University
Adam Newmark, Appalachian State University
Brooks D. Simpson, Arizona State University
Prosper Bernard, Jr., City University of New York
Jennifer Danley-Scott, Texas Woman’s University
Ann Kordas, Johnson & Wales University
Christopher Lawrence, Middle Georgia State College
About the Contributors
Glen Krutz, Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. Krutz joined the Department of Political Science in 2002. Before joining OU, he served on the faculty of Arizona State University and helped run two large-scale National Science Foundation projects as a doctoral student at Texas A&M University.
Sylvie Waskiewicz, PhD, is an editor, researcher and writer who specialties include textbook publishing and e-learning instructional design, including copyediting and proofreading with meticulous review of text, layout, and media from first pages to printer proofs as well as QC of web content (HTML/XML).