American Government and Politics in the Information Age
Pub Date: 2016
ISBN 13: 978-1-9461350-4-9
Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing
Conditions of Use
The book is not an in-depth study. It provides an overview of the topics outlined in the chapters in its table of contents. read more
The book is not an in-depth study. It provides an overview of the topics outlined in the chapters in its table of contents.
American Government and Politics offers information and perspectives that synthesize ideas and information from media studies, sociology, history, and civics. The textbook has a point of view but it appears to be error-free and unbiased.
The textbook will remain relevant. Useful updates will include information about recent and current presidencies and their impact on policy as well as their relationship with the media. The textbook is more up-to-date than most textbooks of this type.
The text is written in lucid, accessible prose that is at the appropriate level for my Adult Basics Skills GED students. Definitions of terms are provided in context.
The book is internally consistent. It offers Learning Objectives, Key Takeaways, Exercises, and References. In addition, some chapters also offer Links web links), Civics Education boxes,Enduring Images, Recommended Readings, and Recommended Viewings (movies).
The text is already broken into easily readable modules.
The topics in the book are presented in a logical, clear fashion.
There do not appear to be any interface issues.
The book does not appear to have grammatical errors.
The text appears sensitive to issues of social justice and racial equity. For example, the chapters on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights discusses the civil rights challenges faced by African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Americans with Disabilities, lesbians, and gay men, among others.
American Government and Politics in the Information Age looks critically at the intersection of mass media, politics, civics and history. The learning objectives that start each chapter present essential questions that can also be used as critical thinking and writing prompts for students. The additional resources in the book, such as links, recommended readings, recommended viewings, as well as the civic education component, provide ample material for extension activities and research projects.
The book is comprehensive in its intended content. The presence of links and sidebars provides a wealth of additional information that would be read more
The book is comprehensive in its intended content. The presence of links and sidebars provides a wealth of additional information that would be helpful to students. A list of sources cited is included at the end of each chapter. There is no index included at the end of the book, or an independent glossary of key terms.
The content is accurate and error-free. The author does not exhibit a bias. However, an issue in using this text with students is that many are already pre-disposed to find bias in the media, or reasons for lacking trust in information received through media sources. While it is important for students to understand how media shapes political information, it is equally important to understand that there is also much reliable information available, as well as the need to sort between more legitimate and less legitimate sources. Not enough attention is devoted to this matter in the text. My concern in using this book is that students may conclude that all media information is equally unreliable.
Updates could be implemented in a relatively easy and straightforward way.
The text is very lucid, accessible, and jargon free. It is also well-written in that it is interesting and compelling.
The text is very consistent in terminology and framework.
The books is easily and readily divisible into smaller units.
The book is logical and well organized for its intended comment. An improvement would be to include more information in the first chapter on how to differentiate between more legitimate and less legitimate media sources.
The text is free of navigation problems. There is no distortion of images and charts.
The text contains no discernible grammatical errors.
The book is not culturally offensive. However, it gives much more attention to African American history and issues in government and politics than other racial/ethnic groups. There is a specific section for African Americans and other groups are listed under "other." While African Americans make up approx. 12% of the US population, the Hispanic population is 17%, and Asian is nearly 6%. These numbers are significant enough that the latter two should not just be listed under "other." Both groups have had significant impact on the history of our country.
This text has no clear index or table of contents. It does a chapter by chapter break down in the introduction however, there is no overall reference read more
This text has no clear index or table of contents. It does a chapter by chapter break down in the introduction however, there is no overall reference that aids in indicating topics and flow. There is not a glossary either since there are no highlighted terms within the text.
This text provides much factual historical and contemporary information surrounding American government. However, it does present the information from a slightly biased perspective. The reader receives the impression that the government has a negative impact on media. This information would be better presented explaining the impact of government on media in an unbiased way, informing students on the realities and allowing their own thought process on how to perceive this. This text would benefit from a small introduction to "nation-building" so that the reader understands that we are enculturated into our national cultural system and this is how we learn our values and norms. (Ch 6.1) The section presenting multiculturalism is very well done.
The historical information is presented in a very palatable manner. However, the discussions of contemporary topics assume that all students have access to the same technologies (computer, internet, phones, social media, etc). It also assumes that students are all from an upper middle class American background, which would make it harder to relate to for many students. Some terminology used in the text would outdate quite quickly such as: "New Media".
There is a lot of assumed knowledge in this text. What level student is this aimed at? An introductory student would be quickly lost in many of the sections, especially without key terms listed. The preface/introduction seems to only be directed at a professor. Is there a different student version? Each section needs an introduction to the topic for students to understand the context for presenting that particular information in this book. Highlighting key terms would be very helpful for students. Chapters 6.2 and 7.4 did a good job of having a clear introduction and presentation of information tying in the core concepts of the entire text.
The text introduces different types of media but does not connect it to the material and main ideas being presented. Conclusions on most chapters are consistent and do a good job of tying in ideas. Chapter1.3 is confusing placement, should appear later in the text after Media Influences on Politics has been presented. The text seems to jump around topics: communication to government descriptions to media without relating why it is presenting the different information. There are different cultural terms used throughout the text that are not consistent: ie. Black or African American. The section headings seemed to be consistent as well as the end of chapter recaps.
The text is broken down into smaller sections well but needs clearer labeling. Introductions to the chapters that explain how that topic is relatable to the entire text would aid in its modularity. Having a table of contents would clarify the possible modulation of the text.
A table of contents would be very helpful. The learning objectives at the beginnings of chapters are nice. There need to be clear introductions and topic tie ins for each chapter and section. The "enduring images" sections are great but they need to be clearly highlighted or separated. Chapter 2.1 would be clearer if presented at the start of the text. The text jumps back and forth between topics without explaining the reason. Chapters 12, 13, 14, 15 seem to fit better in the beginning of the text. And the section that do a basic explanation of how government functions should all be presented together instead of dispersing them throughout the text.
The images in the text are all distorted. The "Preamble" sections headings are confusing for students. A table of contents is needed. "Comparing Content" sections should be clarified that it is a separate section.
There are spaces missing on pages: 1, 9, 146. Throughout the text the subsections have different size fonts that are not clear if they are subsections or just error in production of text.
It would be beneficial to check in on terms for different cultural or "racial" groups that are presented in the text. This book is presented from an assumed "white reader" perspective. The preface assumes the student is stereotypically American white upper middle class and has access to all technologies and experiences associated with that. The comparing content boxes are nice. Presents discussions of "white" vs. "black" in history and government but there are so many other cultural and "racial" groups in the US history. There is too much assumed knowledge of the reader that an introductory student would not have (liberals vs. conservatives discussion p. 15).
Overall, I think the text is a nice concept but needs clearer organization. The information presented needs to flow better and explain why all of the chapters are being presented in the same text book.
This text covers all of the major subjects/areas that are typically included in an introductory-level textbook on American government and politics. read more
This text covers all of the major subjects/areas that are typically included in an introductory-level textbook on American government and politics. It also provides a number of additional features -- for instance, its "civic education" sidebars that encourage students to get involved in politics -- that add to its appeal. There are two major drawbacks with respect to its comprehensiveness: (1) it does not have a detailed index or table of contents; and (2) its discussions of topics are quite dated in numerous places. (I will discuss this in more detail below.)
The book is grounded firmly in objective evidence and offers an account/interpretation of American government and politics that fits well within the 'mainstream' of political science. Instructors who use this text can feel confident that their students are being provided with a relatively unbiased and fact-rich survey of American national politics.
As a classroom instructor, I would have significant concerns about using this text without significant updating. Both the basic organization of the text and its coverage of theoretical/historical topics are solid. Yet in numerous places, the text's age clearly shows. For instance, the discussion of media on pp. 31-32 focused on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report -- two shows that are no longer on the air (at least in the same form). Likewise, the discussion on pp. 181-182 of same-sex marriage ends with now-outdated speculation that the U.S. Supreme Court might soon take up the issue. In the same vein, Chapter 11 discusses presidential elections with a focus on 2004 and 2008; its discussion of Congress likewise refers (erroneously at this point) to Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader and Eric Cantor as the House Majority Leader. Overall, the narrative is so dated in this respect that students will likely question its authoritativeness in 2016. Yet the good news is this: an update, it seems to me, would be quite easy to do -- since the underlying narrative structure and theoretical/empirical grounding is so sound. Or: an instructor, attracted to the text for its appeal in other respects, could essentially do the updating in class via lecture or other means.
The prose is quite accessible to students and steers clear of technical jargon or impenetrable terminology. The authors here have managed to cover even the most complex topics in ways that make it understandable and interesting for the student.
The text uses terminology in a consistent manner and fits its various topics/discusssions nicely into a broader theoretical framework that is explained at the outset.
This text is quite impressive on this score. In teaching survey courses on American government/politics, individual instructors vary widely from one another in their choices of how to order the presentation of topics in relation to one another. This text -- like most other introductory-level texts -- accommodates this exercise of instructor choice quite well. Each chapter stands largely independent of the others; thus, instructors can assign them in different orders without undermining student learning.
The text is organized in a clear and logical way. Indeed, its basic organization -- beginning with the history and structure of the U.S. Constitution and then proceeding in turn to 'inputs' into the political system, its connecting institutions and finally the major institutions of government -- follows the basic template found in most similar texts.
The interface is basically fine. One shortcoming is related to the 'datedness' of the text that I referenced above. Some of the links to websites and external videos are out-of-date. (For instance, the discussion of Eric Cantor as House Majority Leader includes a link to the Majority Leader's website -- which at this point does not take the reader to anything about Cantor specifically.)
I found no grammatical errors.
Generally speaking, the book is okay on this score. One area in which updating of terminology would strengthen the text is in its discussion of LGBTQ rights.
Overall, this is a very good text that provides students with a thorough, unbiased and accessible survey of American government and politics. At this point, though, it is dated in several respects; thus, if an instructor chooses to use the text in a course, that instructor will likely need to provide updating by way of lecture, additional readings, etc.
This textbook covers all the traditional topics and areas of United States politics and government. Containing seventeen chapters and over 700 pages, read more
This textbook covers all the traditional topics and areas of United States politics and government. Containing seventeen chapters and over 700 pages, it presents a thorough understanding of complex political institutions and issues. It also has a nice current theme with interacting the influence of social media and modern technology in each chapter.
The book is accurate and error free; it presents a well rounded look at political ideology, issues, and controversial topics. The text reads in a balanced approach between liberal and conservative viewpoints.
With any United States Government textbook, being "up to date" and relevant is a continuing problem. Published in 2011, it obviously is lacking in information on the 2012 and 2014 elections. Not sure how "Open Textbooks" can be updated; but 95% of the material is still applicable and current. The history of the Supreme Court for the last five years is also not presented, but those can easily be accessed online. The text does link the reader to excellent Supreme Court sites.
Interesting, well written, great examples, and relevant material, this product makes for a solid textbook. Interesting links to online information is also top notch. The endnotes and recommended readings/videos are also helpful. Nice hyperlinks to videos are listed at the end of each section.
Chapter concepts are presented on a standard basis. Well laid out and consistent, the "Learning Objectives", "Key Takeaways", and "Exercises" are solid.
Though a bit difficult to navigate (where is the table of content and links to each chapter?), scanning through the pages is easy, though rather slow and inefficient in time.
The text offers a nice presentation of materials in a logical order; it follows the standard textbook for topic development. Chapter One does seem out of place, as it is a rather dull opening of the influence of technology on the modern political setting.
There is a need for more pictures, charts, and graphics, though the ones presented looked top quality and easy to read. . The interface is difficult to navigate, as there is no table of content or index. Students will need to do some searching to quickly find topics they are interested in exploring.
No errors noted in my reading of the textbook. I conducted a "Document Readability" analysis of the text; the results came back between an "11.6 to 13.5" readability level.
Well rounded on the discussion of contemporary cultural issues. Chapters Five and Eight offer updated information on current issues (as of 2011, at least).
Improve the interface a bit more, and this would be an excellent open text alternative for United States Government and Politics courses. The price is right and the easy access to the student makes this a strong possibility that I will incorporate the text into my classroom next term.
Yes, the text covers all the traditional areas of an American government textbook, plus adds an interesting theme on information transmission in read more
Yes, the text covers all the traditional areas of an American government textbook, plus adds an interesting theme on information transmission in society (which is unique). I did not see an index or glossary--however, a student could nonetheless do a word search of the book in pdf form to find what they needed. The book also lacked a table of contents.
While everything that is presented is accurate, there are choices that authors make in a text that can affect how a book is perceived. In this case, the book comes across a bit toward the liberal side of the political spectrum in the use of examples of government action that worked or did not work. Contrast examples from Democratic administrations earlier in the book to the less optimistic coverage of foreign policy during the George W. Bush years.
I think the book is very relevant for a class on American politics. In terms of longevity, some of the content can last for a long time (e.g. the portions on the founding), but the text does seem to be a couple of years old. For example, there have been changes in the Senate since that time and the policy issue examples would need to be updated.
The book is extremely clear and nicely presented from the standpoint of organization and prose.
The book is largely consistent across the chapters in the way it presents terminology and framework. The authors explain acronyms and definition wherever needed, which is good for the student. It would be nice to see additional discussion of civic education than just the occasional text box. One area that needs even more development would be discussion of voting turnout among youth voters and their views of politics. The authors need to better hammer home the importance of the students' own political engagement in the system.
Yes, the text works well in this regard.
I'm not crazy about a chapter at the front of the book before the discussion of the Founding. However, I would likely just skip that chapter until later in the semester.
As I mentioned above, there is no index, glossary or table of contents. Students would need to get used to word searches in the pdf document. As with many pdfs, the product on the screen is not as crisp as what a student might view in a physical book with nicer graphics.
Absolutely fine. These folks write well and the book reads like it was copyedited.
This is the strength of the book and its focus on information. The entire presentation is relevant, given the changing informational context in the US today.
I'm considering adopting this book for fall 2015, but would be more persuaded if the content were updated to reflect more recent cases of governance and to include the 2014 election and outcomes. I currently use AM GOV, which is updated regularly and has a nice focus on student civic engagement.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Communication in the Information Age
- Chapter 2: The Constitution and the Structure of Government Power
- Chapter 3: Federalism
- Chapter 4: Civil Liberties
- Chapter 5: Civil Rights
- Chapter 6: Political Culture and Socialization
- Chapter 7: Public Opinion
- Chapter 8: Participation, Voting, and Social Movements
- Chapter 9: Interest Groups
- Chapter 10: Political Parties
- Chapter 11: Campaigns and Elections
- Chapter 12: Congress
- Chapter 13: The Presidency
- Chapter 14: The Bureaucracy
- Chapter 15: The Courts
- Chapter 16: Policymaking and Domestic Policies
- Chapter 17: Foreign and National Security Policies
About the Book
This text is a comprehensive introduction to the vital subject of American government and politics. Governments decide who gets what, when, how (See Harold D. Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets What, When, How, [New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936]); they make policies and pass laws that are binding on all a society’s members; they decide about taxation and spending, benefits and costs, even life and death.
Governments possess power—the ability to gain compliance and to get people under their jurisdiction to obey them—and they may exercise their power by using the police and military to enforce their decisions. However, power need not involve the exercise of force or compulsion; people often obey because they think it is in their interest to do so, they have no reason to disobey, or they fear punishment. Above all, people obey their government because it has authority; its power is seen by people as rightfully held, as legitimate. People can grant their government legitimacy because they have been socialized to do so; because there are processes, such as elections, that enable them to choose and change their rulers; and because they believe that their governing institutions operate justly.
Politics is the process by which leaders are selected and policy decisions are made and executed. It involves people and groups, both inside and outside of government, engaged in deliberation and debate, disagreement and conflict, cooperation and consensus, and power struggles.
In covering American government and politics, our text introduces the intricacies of the Constitution, the complexities of federalism, the meanings of civil liberties, and the conflicts over civil rights;explains how people are socialized to politics, acquire and express opinions, and participate in political life; describes interest groups, political parties, and elections—the intermediaries that link people to government and politics; details the branches of government and how they operate; and shows how policies are made and affect people’s lives.
About the Contributors
American Government and Politics in the Information Age is adapted from a work produced by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.