American Government 2e
Glen Krutz, University of Oklahoma
Pub Date: 2019
ISBN 13: 9781938168178
Publisher: OpenStax CNX
Conditions of Use
The chapters in the Kurtz et al e-book covers all relevant chapters of American Government and even offers chapters on Foreign policy, Domestic policy and State and Local government. Some texts may cover only one additional chapter other than the... read more
The chapters in the Kurtz et al e-book covers all relevant chapters of American Government and even offers chapters on Foreign policy, Domestic policy and State and Local government. Some texts may cover only one additional chapter other than the basic chapters one would expect. In some cases, the additional or special chapter focuses on a specific policy area such as environmental policy or housing policy. Although the book does not add a specific domestic policy area, the choice of three areas on domestic policy, foreign policy and state and local government is refreshing
The accuracy of the content presented in the Kurtz et al book is as accurate and unbias as one would expect. The reason I say this is because the choice of content is a subjective process in itself and surely there are other content areas that could be added on a particular theme. For example in the discussion on the writers influencing the colonies toward revolution, Locke, no doubt an important writer, is presented while many others could have been highlighted. I like the fact that the authors attempt to present both sides in discussing problems and issues which contributes to an unbias pr presentation.
Nearly all of the material presented is relevant. Of course since a key feature of this book is to present a considerable amount of material that combines theory and application and stimulate critical thinking, covering the volume of materials given the way it is divided may present a challenge over one semester. Surely, it would be impossible to cover all the relevant material in this book, but its format does allow the instructor to be selective about the sections within each chapter to be emphasized.
The text is written in a way that undergraduate freshmen students would have no problem grasping. The glossary of terms after each chapter and the illustrations, examples, color pictorials and web links are all critical to the issue of clarity. The authors do a superb job.
The text of each chapter does form a consistency. There is a consistent pattern in terms of the major headings outlined at the beginning of the book. Although the order of the chapters differ from the way I may group chapters together, the book does maintain a consistent pattern based on the logic of the book it presents. For example I like to group Congress and Interest Groups together, the Presidency and Political Parties, and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties with the Judiciary. I also would like to see a separate chapter on social movements.
The text is easily and readily visible and permits an instructor to select what to cover based on the learning objectives of each chapter.
The topics are presented in a logical and clear fashion. The unit heading probably need more explanation and their rationale for selecting the chapters under each unit topic spelled out. An Introduction to each unit with the rationale and goals would be helpful.
I found no problem with navigating the text. The many color images and illustrations are very critical to minimizing any confusion.
I found no grammatical errors.
The book was very culturally sensitive but more could be added throughout each chapter. For example, what were free people color doing while such issues as Shay Rebellion and debates about military involvement in the Revolutionary War were going on . For every chapter a special effort could be made to fully integrate the experiences and writings of people of color. LBGTQ issues were integrated in many of the chapters and this is refreshing.
Overall, this was an excellent e-book. I am especially excited about he design combining theory and practice and critical thinking. The current book I use fully integrates free people of color into each chapter. Although this book is culturally sensitive, I challenge the authors to do more.
The book certainly has all of the topics expected of an Introduction to American Government text. In fact, Kurtz et al. have even added very impressive policy chapters (domestic and foreign) that you only see on occasion. I am skeptical that... read more
The book certainly has all of the topics expected of an Introduction to American Government text. In fact, Kurtz et al. have even added very impressive policy chapters (domestic and foreign) that you only see on occasion. I am skeptical that instructors can get through 17 chapters in a normal semester, but the material is nice to have if desired. The text is divided into 5 categories. And while all the topic areas you would anticipate are present, the structure is different. An easy example is seen in not grouping the federal bureaucracy in part 4 with the other institutions, instead placing it in section 5, the outputs of government. I suspect some will like this placement and others not, it is likely a matter or preference, but is worth noting. Overall, all expected topics, and then some, are covered, hence the text is certainly comprehensive enough by any measure of expectation in an introduction to American government text.
I did not see anything that I would say is not accurate, as much as a couple items that need to be updated, but that is discussed below. As to presenting information in an unbiased minor, I would argue that Kurtz et. al have done so in this text. One example to consider is presented in chapter 10, section 5 discussing the free speech rights of interest groups versus calls to regulate their activity. The situation is presented to students in a completely objective fashion. The pros and cons of government regulation of group activity (spending) are both presented accurately, and the student is asked to make their own determination. This is one of the pluses of this text.
The text being published in 2016, there are several locations that need to be updated. An example is found in Chapter 13, Section 4 in a visually appealing graphic on the timeline of the Supreme Court justices arriving at the Court. Yet both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh are not present in the graphic. There are a couple other places in the text where this is noticeable. I would not consider this to be a fatal flaw by any means, but one of the advantages of a digital text is that these types of updates are easier to make. In a couple instances such as above, they simply need to be done.
I believe the language used in the text is entirely appropriate for an introductory college course on the subject. Further, each section within the chapters does contain a glossary of bolded terms. If anything, a few additional terms could likely be added, but this is a nice feature. Otherwise, jargon is well defined and explained with the body of the text itself in such a way that material is accessible to the intended audience.
The structural framework of the chapters maintains a similar design throughout. Sections open with learning objectives that tell students the 2-5 most important things to take away from that reading, and quiz questions populate the text at the end of sections to help students self assess their understanding of the reading.
Overall there are no major things to complain about here. However I do feel that stylistically the presentation of in-text citations is cumbersome and distracting. The pure number of citations is impressive, however they are shown to the reader throughout a chapter in a separated gray box. These add up quickly and at times break up material where paragraphs or explanations would benefit from remaining connected. Plus, they blend with the gray boxes of the same color that are often used, otherwise effectively, to present case studies or specific examples. I believe the entire flow of the text and ease of read would increase by ditching this method of citation and simply using end notes or foot notes.
The previous comment represents a slight stylistic concern in the area of organization, but not a major one. As for as substantively, I find the grouping of Chapters 4-7 to be curious. Similar to removing the bureaucracy form the discussion of institutions, I found the grouping of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights with Public Opinion and Elections to be an odd placement decision. Certainly this could just be a matter of preference, and obviously an instructor can teach topics and assign chapters in whatever order they desire, but I am puzzled by this decision. I do not see the natural connection that ties those topics together.
I found the text to be eminently user friendly with no issues what so ever navigating within the chapters. Images and charts that are presented are not distractions at all, most of the time they are enhancements of the chapters.
No obvious grammatical errors that I noticed.
I believe ample coverage of diverse viewpoints and experiences are made use of in this text. While I am echoing this notion from a previous review, I did find it to be true that Kurtz et al. have taken care to discuss the impact of this issues on minority populations across the many chapters, and not solely in the chapter on Civil Rights as previous texts on the subject tended to do. This is a plus of this text.
Overall, I like the text very much. The content is concise to the point it is accessible for early undergraduates, but also in depth enough that real coverage of the topics exists. In addition to what I discussed earlier, here are some other things about the book I enjoyed that did not easily fit into the previous topics provided: I very much apricate the discussion of The Articles of Confederation in Chapter 2, Section 2. The importance of this document and the story of Shay's Rebellion are too often overlooked and they are covered well here. The Right to Privacy section of Chapter 4, Section 4 that describes activity from the 9th and 10th Amendments is well done. Chapter 8, Section 3 discussing the media and particularly the FCC is a very strong section of the text. The coverage of competing philosophies of Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint in Chapter 13, Section 5 nicely presents these approaches to novice readers. And the Fall of the Patronage system in Section 1 of Chapter 15 also stood out to me as excellent. The only section that I would point to specifically that I think could be improved significantly comes in Chapter 2, Section 5 and the discussion of Constitutional Change. The process of Amending the Constitution is under developed. The importance of this issue reflects so much for students about the goals of those at the convention and the individuals who ratified the document, coupled with the impact this very high hurdle for change has had on governing in America, leads me to believe that students need more time with this material and a further discussion of the impact that Article V has had. That is, of course, just one area. As clearly noted, I found far more to like about the text than not. Those considering a new adaption for the introduction to American Government class would do well to give Kurtz et. al consideration.
The textbook covers all the essential parts of American government. Overall it is a bit smaller in word count than a traditional hard copy textbook and some of the chapters are smaller than I would like. But I would rather have it smaller so I... read more
The textbook covers all the essential parts of American government. Overall it is a bit smaller in word count than a traditional hard copy textbook and some of the chapters are smaller than I would like. But I would rather have it smaller so I can add what I think is important than have too much material overwhelm the students. For example, I do a lot with the 9th Amendment, but it only has three paragraphs in the textbook.
I found no appreciable errors in the textbook.
The book is up to date and has most of the usual citations one would expect of an Introduction to American Government text. The opening parts of the book though do focus a bit more on economics than I would prefer.
The book clearly defines all the terms and theories and in plain language for non-majors to understand.
The textbook follows the usual model of an American Government textbook. The writers do have material distributed into sections of the text that are not always the best choice in my view (this could be said of any textbook).
The book is divided into chapters, and then subdivided again into sections. Making it possible for a student to read 2-3 pages and then stop/think about what they have covered. Each subsection has a quick review at the end to help readers see if they understand the section.
The textbook follows a traditional American government textbook format, starting with the Constitution and covering, Federalism, Civil Liberties and Rights, Interest Groups, Political Parties, and the three branches of government. It even has a chapter on Local government and two policy chapters, Domestic and Foreign. Important terms are underlined throughout the text making it easier for students to see the terms they should know for testing.
The links embedded in the book often do not work. Those that do work, can take the reader away from the book and you can not hit the go back button. I found my iPad did not always work well with it. The book also does not always allow the reader to skip pages or go straight to a section to read. If you click on a chapter title, say Media, nothing happens, except it opens the subsections of the chapter. If you click on the Media icon subsets you can go straight to that subsection of the Media chapter.
The figure icon needs to be fixed or dropped. In the book, the word Figure will appear to let the reader know to look for an image. But there is never a number or way to identify the image/picture attached to the Figure reference. Usually the image it only an inch or two from the Figure citation, but not always clear.
I think it does an excellent review of the issue of slavery and how it impacted US government. Its review of Civil Rights and the groups fighting for their rights is one of the strongest parts of the text.
I am considering switching to this textbook for my department. It is one of the few textbooks that offers colored images in it. I believe students prefer more than black and white words. I am also happy it comes in a printed version. I only use online textbooks and sources for my classes, but have students who want a hard copy option. The hard copy version is sold by Amazon and other online retailers for about $20 (not sure it includes color for that price).
The text covers the full range of standard American Government textbooks, from government and civic engagement, to civil liberties and rights to branches of government and foreign policy. This text could very easily replace the book I have used... read more
The text covers the full range of standard American Government textbooks, from government and civic engagement, to civil liberties and rights to branches of government and foreign policy. This text could very easily replace the book I have used ("We the People") for the past 3 years.
The text provides a very objective and accurate account of the full layout of American government. It incorporates an impressive amount of historical references to add context and depth.
The text does a good job of covering the standard content (governments, federalism, civil rights, separation of powers, media, etc.). I am especially impressed by its multi-dimensional approach to topic coverage. The writers were able to demonstrate intersections across time, incorporating themes that could easily be segregated in a single chapter. Because it is a 2016 publication, it will need to be updated to include up-to-date info on campaigns and elections, recent SCOTUS cases dealing with civil liberties, civic engagement and challenges to 2nd Amendment, etc...
The language is accessible for students in higher education; and likely high school juniors and seniors. It supplements text content with useful links that serve as a great tool for boosting application and comprehension.
The text is consistent in terms of language, organization, and overall framework.
Each chapters is highly segmented into small units that could easily be assigned at different points within the course or adapted into a dynamic class project/activity with high impact. The writers also relied on tons of well-referenced outside sources that can easily be reorganized and incorporated into additional units. There's A LOT of flexibility with the text content.
The text is highly segmented, which may seem overwhelming at first, but flows in a way that makes sense. I really appreciate how they were able to consolidate what would easily be a 15 chapter textbook into 5!
Overall, the text is free of interface issues and navigation problems; the main drawback is the sheer volume of links - can get a bit cumbersome. For class, it would probably be necessary to inform students of the most important links to review.
The text is free of grammatical errors.
While no text does a perfect job at inclusiveness, I was impressed at the myriad examples of diverse cultural experiences incorporated throughout the text. These examples were not solely places in the civil right unit, but incorporated throughout the text; which is significant.
This text is VERY detailed in its coverage, which is impressive and surprising given its relative brevity. I encourage any professor of U.S. Government to take a good look at this text and strongly consider its adoption.
Comprehensive in terms of concepts and how they related to current ideas. Uses contemporary examples, but not in depth cases that may be needed in higher level courses. However, the concepts are so strong here (thorough, well laid out) that an... read more
Comprehensive in terms of concepts and how they related to current ideas. Uses contemporary examples, but not in depth cases that may be needed in higher level courses. However, the concepts are so strong here (thorough, well laid out) that an instructor could easily supplement the text for a variety of courses and levels.
The book is consistent with similar complementary materials. The explanation of disagreements and legal decisions in particular is objective yet clear what values, tradeoffs, etc were at stake and how the decisions affected government especially. As a policy professor with professional experience in the field, I would be likely to use cases to follow up about how policy content accounts for those decisions in a process that includes policy actors (private and public)).
Uses current issues as examples of concepts. While the examples could become outdated, the issues used have been relevant for a long period of time. The concepts represented in the text also make case teaching via policy/politics news easy, even if the textbooks examples were to be stale - - which they are unlikely to be.
Useful explanation with visual of common goods & excludability; unitary, federation and confederation; contents/concepts of Constitutional amendments. Straightforward comparisons with oligarchy and monarchy. Thought/theory/philosophy explained while discussing history of government. Concepts well explained and presented
Consistently uses contemporary examples. This consistency and clear explanation of the concepts behind the examples makes the book particularly strong.
Good, though for my purposes (I teach a graduate level policy processes course), some could be broken down differently for my use. Would grade this as 4.5 if possible.
Clear organization led to clarity of content.
Wish contents would take me straight to the chapter I click
Professional grammar and writing.
Updated and inclusive.
I will likely use this book to replace and supplement my graduate level course materials. Very clearly explains important concepts; I can use my own assignments to require graduate level thinking and expand on the complications/interactions of the text concepts, etc. Other similar books dive too deeply for my purposes into the minutiae of government without providing concepts or making those concepts too academic sounding. This book uses clear language and of-the-moment context that brings the idea of government to life.
This text covers nearly all of the major topics covered in American Government texts. From the origins of the US political system, the constitutional framework, participatory inputs, formal institutions, and public policy, the major points are... read more
This text covers nearly all of the major topics covered in American Government texts. From the origins of the US political system, the constitutional framework, participatory inputs, formal institutions, and public policy, the major points are addressed. I like the text's thematic emphasis on student participation. I do miss a chapter on political culture, but even without it, the text is good. That said, there are areas where the text is quite brief and doesn't provide terribly deep discussion. Adopting profs should read the chapters carefully so they know what areas get deeper coverage, and what areas get shallower treatment.
Overall the book is balanced, but there are areas where things could be more even handed. For example, the section on ideology equates authoritarianism with the right side of the political spectrum, even though authoritarianism as a ruling style can also be commonly found in communist or socialist polities; students might be led to conclude that communists and socialists aren't about control. The real differences of course align along questions of *what* aspects of society and the economy ought to be controlled, and by whom--liberals want to control some areas, conservatives others. On the other hand, on the divisive topic of LGBT rights, the discussion is pretty even-handed, adopting what is certainly the modal vocabulary of political science regarding these complex issues.
I agree that the content is relevant, and can be easily updated. That said, many of what appear to be hotlinks in the text did not work when I tested them in December 2018.
The canonical terms of introductory American Government are present and defined adequately.
The book is consistent, though I think its framework of effective engagement could have been implemented more consistently. I would have included in most, if not all chapters after the constitution, sections where students would be guided on how to engage with politics effectively in the context of each chapter.
The modularity is effective, though the order of the contents is the order I've been using for years, so I wouldn't have to make any changes..
Pretty standard for many similar texts and courses.
I found the insertion of bold links in the middle of the text rather distracting. I liked the incorporation of the graphics, which will enable students to work on their graphic/data interpretation skills.
I didn't read every line, but the broad sections I read contained no technical writing errors that I observed.
There is a very broad selection of examples relating to variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds--the Civil Rights chapter is a good example.
Very well done. The text covers everything that an introduction to American government should. read more
Very well done. The text covers everything that an introduction to American government should.
I didn't find any errors.
I was actually surprised at the 'updatedness" of the book. Very well done. I assume the work has been, and will continue to be, updated with each election.
Very well done.
No issues there.
I liked the fact that the book had several subsections within each chapter. That seems to make the text even more "modular" than would normally be expected.
No issue there.
I saw no issues there. The links that I checked were still functioning. The graphics were very well done.
I never saw any problems with that concern. One issue, however, that might be addressed is with the word "media." Sometimes it is used in plural sense, but most often used in the singular sense. For example, on page 205 of the text, the author writes "With the rise of the Internet and social media, however, traditional media have become less powerful agents of this kind of socialization." In the next sentence, the author writes "Another way the media socializes audiences is through framing." Are the media an "it" or a "they?"
This is a very impressive work, and I will most certainly adopt this book. My kudos to the author. The fact that it is free is even more impressive. There are a few points the author may want to consider. First, on page 15, in Figure 1.6, is a map illustrating different forms of government throughout the world. I think that's important to show that most of the world's nations do operate with a democratic framework. My issue is that the map doesn't show differences among those democracies (e.g., parliamentary, presidential, etc.). Along those lines, I would like to have seen the American government discussed more in a relative/comparative sense. In other words, most of the world's countries are parliamentary, not presidential. The uniqueness of the American system is rarely mentioned (e.g., the fact that it has a presidential, federal system, with true separation of powers). I think it would be interesting to point out that when the USA had the chance to write other countries' constitutions, those new systems (Japan and West Germany) were created with parliamentary governments. Again, these are things the author may want to consider. This book is very impressive, as is.
By the standards of Introduction to American Politics textbooks, this is a comprehensive offering. Offers coverage of topics that most instructors would cover in such a class, including political behavior, civil rights/liberties, American... read more
By the standards of Introduction to American Politics textbooks, this is a comprehensive offering. Offers coverage of topics that most instructors would cover in such a class, including political behavior, civil rights/liberties, American political culture, and structure. While some textbooks do delve deeper into certain subjects (seemingly at random), it is good to see a textbook that offers nuts and bolts that will make it usable to nearly any instructor, allowing them ample room to discuss areas of their expertise without conflicting with the textbook. However, chapters are sometimes questionably or confusingly organized, and compress wider subjects that usually receive broader treatment into footnotes or brief passages.
There are some lapses here. For instance, right off the bat, the critique of socialism seems to take the position that socialism is inherently and entirely distinct from our system, which isn’t accurate. It can be said that in capitalism, “government accumulates wealth and then redistributes it to citizens.” China is not a socialist country; it is an oligarchic authoritarian regime. In his haste to laud American democracy as a good, if evolving, system, the author sometimes fails to recognize critical perspectives, or interpret them as straw-men. The analysis of Presidents attending Ivy League institutions is a bit misleading as evidence of elitism, for example. The division of provisions of the Bill of Rights into three categories is arguable at best. 11.1 seems to overstate the present state of equality in Congressional elections, especially given voter suppression. Elazar is a bit dated to present as useful fact (14.2) Many Supreme Court Justices do not regard the Court systems as the guardians of individual rights, but reserve this right to Congress—the Court, in their eyes, is there only to enforce laws that are made, whether right or wrong, so long as they are strictly in concordance with the Constitution. LGBT rights seem to be given less treatment than African American rights. But the textbook does well dealing with less amorphous topics, like the simple history of the Constitution or structural questions; for instance, the discussion of the eccentricities of the double-jeopardy concept. In the balance, I would say that the textbook does not do as good a job of providing multiple viewpoints—or being honest about its own orientations—as those that are professionally published. But that does not render it an invalid tool.
This is certainly the Achilles Heel of American government textbooks, some of which have been written as direct reactions to, say, the 2016 elections or the lens of inequality. For the most part, this book does as good a job—if not better—at sidestepping this capsules in time and offering something that need not be edited or updated often (though, some updates are always necessary as government is constantly evolving). But by sticking to institutional logic, historical examples, and well-established topic controversies that are not going to go away (abortion, executive orders and the use of force, the civil service), the book does an excellent job at avoiding the publishing industry’s penchant for planned obsolescence. Perhaps its status as an open textbook is one reason why it is so easy to avoid a chapter on Trump’s tweets, as this is stuff that publishers vaunt as the need for new editions.
The text is fairly clear but lacks some of the professional editing that I frequently see in pay-to-play textbooks. There are no grammar or spelling errors, but sometimes the choice or placement of topics doesn’t align with the larger argument being made in a chapter, which can be confusing. For example, in talking about Courts, jumping from the concept of jurisdiction (complex) to Hamilton and the Federalist, and then to the historical evolution of the Court is a bit jarring. Subchapter titles like ‘organizing to govern’ are a bit confusing. Words seem arbitrarily capitalized (why capitalize Scalia and McConnell)? Sometimes the content makes leaps (are heuristics really an appropriate topic for an Intro to Government textbook, given how complex the concept is in the political psych literature)? But fundamentally, I often found myself searching for particular lessons, only to find the introduction to those lessons a bit dry or even meandering.
The book follows a relatively consistent framework for presentation throughout. Each chapter is structured similarly. I’ve covered organization under ‘clarity’ above, so setting this aside, the textbook is good at being consistent in its tone and content, and chapters are easy enough to utilize. But as I noted above, the unhelpfulness of bolded terms can be genuinely confusing and are inconsistent (Katie Holmes gets bolded? Geraldo Rivera?) For students looking to identify key terms, this bolding does feel mightily inconsistent.
I think that the textbook goes too far in this direction. The subchapters are very short, and while they sometimes deal with distinct topics, it would often be more efficient to discuss big ideas by combining them into a more cohesive and less chopped-up narrative. I’m not sure, for instance, that 6.2 and 6.3 need to be different chapters, and have concerns about the modularity of chapter 5 in particular. However, I can’t really think of a way to sidestep these concerns – all authors must make choices.
Generally speaking, I think this textbook does as good a job at this as any other good textbook. There is no unifying logic, but the lack of this epistemological perspective is one strength of the book. It isn’t a text about how, say, rational choice affects American politics, but more of a carpet-bombing of information. I do think that some modules could be combined, but for the most part the author accomplishes this well.
While I am generally unfamiliar with how open-resource textbooks are supposed to be ideally positioned, the book provides excellent navigational tools on the left side of the bar that made it easy for me to find what I wanted. Within the chapters, there are simple navigational links—often to external resources—that are helpful and not distracting.
There isn’t much to say here. The book is competently written and produced. While some sentences are a bit languid and I might have organized thoughts differently, there is no direct error in any sentence that I could see.
This is tricky, as some American politics textbooks emerge from an activist mentality of pointing out how—for lack of a better term—messed up American culture can be. Here, the author does provide a chapter on our crappy treatment of some groups, but it is not as inclusive as it could be, and sidesteps coverage of some important groups. This is a difficult problem, because our history of oppression and inequality is lengthy and robust, and so where does one start? I would say, though, that while the book is not insensitive, there are plenty of opportunities to weave considerations of the struggles of various groups into its pages rather than shoeboxing them into a few chapters. To some extent, though, that would make this a book with a specific orientation, which defies one of its strengths.
In the balance, I recognize the critiques above may not sound like the book is a good resource. Actually, I think it is. I don’t think it’s as good as hearing from some of the real experts in the field and their approach, and I don’t think it would be a good match for some faculty who like to teach from a given perspective. But that’s ok! I am strongly considering adopting this for my students, though I wish that it were weightier and lengthier.
The textbook is very comprehensive with more than 650 pages of content plus appendices with relevant documents. Although in the last decade I have opted for brief editions of American government, in an electronic format a longer text is useful for... read more
The textbook is very comprehensive with more than 650 pages of content plus appendices with relevant documents. Although in the last decade I have opted for brief editions of American government, in an electronic format a longer text is useful for students who want to know more about topics that are difficult to cover in a fifteen week semester, including state and local government, public policy and foreign policy.
Most of the chapters are accurate but I found two main problems: the map on different types of government (Chapter 1) and the chronology of the Bill of Rights (Chapter 2). (1) I liked the narrative on different types of government but I think that a table with the Greek classification of types of governments based on how many rule and whether they are good or bad would have clarified it better for students. In addition, some of the information on the map can be confusing for students: the UK is a monarchy and a democracy; and some countries that appear as democracies are transitioning to democracy or are really autocracies. (2)The ratification process and the Federalist papers refer to the ratification of the Constitution without the Bill of Rights via Art. VII of the Constitution. Afterwards, the Bill of Rights was adopted to appease anti-federalist and it was ratified in an amendment process of Art. V of the Constitution.
Most of the content of the different chapters focus on the mechanics of the system and on relevant examples that will be important for years to come. Changes on the composition of the members of the elected branches are easily updated and/or can be explained in the classroom. The judiciary doesn't change that often and it rarely affects more than two members at a time. In addition the appendix with major judicial cases will withstand the passing of time and it isn't difficult to add a couple of relevant cases per judicial year and then review the choices every four or five years.
I found the language clear. The text will be accessible to students.
I haven't found inconsistencies throughout the text as to terminology and framework
I found it easy to adapt it to the different needs of my course. For example, I may not get the chance to dedicate a whole class to elections but I can use sections of the chapter on elections in relation to civil rights, to Congress and to the Executive.
Overall, I like the organization of each chapter with the review questions, further reading and film suggestions. The glossary, summaries, and review questions including critical thinking are all conducive to learning and it will help students prepare for exams. However, when I went over each chapter in detail I realized that there is no consistency throughout the textbook regarding the film selection. Some chapters have one; others don’t. In addition, the reading selections are inconsistent—some are very long lists and others only include five or six books.
From an aesthetic perspective, the textbook has a fair amount of graphic material that is appealing to students. However, many pages have blank gaps in the middle of chapters. These gaps give the impression that the text has not been properly edited to make sure that text and images are combined the best possible way. For example, p. 44. and in most of the chapters. Students may find it annoying.
Sometimes the beginning of the paragraphs are repetitive but this may favor comprehension of the content
On diversity: Notwithstanding the fact that the book has text and images that represent different groups based on sex, race, religion and sexual orientation, among other characteristics; there is general reference to Hispanics being the largest minority group in the first chapter which is supposed to set up the main characteristics of our country. It is only mentioned in the chapter on civil rights.
I choose this title because it underlines student political participation. As other agents of socialization don’t seem to educate students in how essential their participation is to a healthy democratic system, any text that emphasizes and provides easy ways to engage in politics is welcome. On the Appendices section, I like that it includes an appendix with relevant court cases (Appendix E). Nevertheless, this section is missing the Articles of Confederation. Although there is an internet link to the Articles in Chapter 2, I find it more useful for students to have access to the Articles within the textbook so they see they are important. Moreover, I found the film selection stifling—no documentaries, no TV series, no foreign films. Finally, the "further reading" section is missing major works. For example, Plato and Aristotle are not included in the “further readings” of the introductory chapter on government.
This textbook is very comprehensive. All of the topics you would expect to be covered in an American government 101 course are here: origins of our republic, institutions, individual action and collective action. The various appendixes include... read more
This textbook is very comprehensive. All of the topics you would expect to be covered in an American government 101 course are here: origins of our republic, institutions, individual action and collective action. The various appendixes include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Federalist 10 and 51 and a couple of other items. I can definitely see the advantage of having them all in one place. I usually wind up giving the students a link to these materials on the web, so having them in the actual textbook would be a nice bonus of using this text. Also in terms of comprehensiveness, there are 17 chapters in total, which at one chapter per week is at least three or four more chapters than most instructors will be able to get through in a semester. This means that pretty much every major topic you could want is in this book and all you have to do is choose which chapters you want to cover.
Everything in this textbook looks accurate to me. I see no sign of bias or editorial spin from the authors. By comparison, another online textbook on American government (which will remain nameless) had a clear bias from the very first chapter. That was the first online textbook that I looked at and it gave me pause when considering using one. But the Krutz book has won back my confidence. It is as accurate as any standard, mainstream textbook on American government.
Well, longevity is a tough matter for this kind of text. The information is up-to-date through the 2016 presidential election and makes reference to the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But as with any American government textbook, this information will need to be periodically updated. Other mainstream textbooks will generally issue an updated edition every few years to include the outcomes of new presidential elections. I see no reason why that would be different with this text.
Exceptionally clear. This is one of the strengths of this textbook. I sometimes worry that textbooks I use are hard for students to understand. Maybe not from top to bottom, but often enough that it is a concern. This textbook is very clear and straightforward. I think students would have an easier time digesting the information in this book than some of the other textbooks I have used.
The book is internally consistent. Not much to comment on here. There are some nice inserts in each chapter called Link to Learning. They are usually a couple of paragraphs long and illustrate key concepts with practical examples followed by links to websites that have additional relevant information. If a student is particularly interested in a topic, this would give them an immediate opportunity to find more information. Of course, the question is how many students really do that?
It would be easy to rearrange the chapter order of this textbook to suit the needs and style of most anyone teaching an American government 101 course. Again, the sections of the book include origins of the republic (in this case called "Students and the System"), individual action, collective action, formal institutions and government output. Personally, I prefer to teach institutions before individual or collective action, and that looks like it would be easy enough to do with this textbook by simply assigning some of the later chapters first and then coming back to the ones in the middle of the book later. In fact. most of the chapters are pretty well self-contained and explain relevant concepts from other chapters so the student doesn't get lost. So if you wanted to teach the presidency before Congress, there is enough information about Congress in the presidency chapter that students would be able to understand it without having first read the chapter on Congress.
Similar t the question about modularity, the organization and flow of the book is partially a matter of the author and editor's preference. Obviously, fundamental concepts such as the origins of the republic and the founding era need to be at the beginning of the book. But after that there is some latitude as to which major theme comes next. I suppose that in this case the decision was made to put individual action next as a way to show students how they can participate in government and how government affects them. That might help to draw students into the material earlier in the semester, that is if you teach the chapters in order.
The textbook is a PDF and presents no problem in terms of viewing. My institution, CUNY, currently has money for instructors to print course packets for students, so it would be possible to print the chapters I want to use and then the students would have a hard copy. On the other hand, if students were to use their phones to try to read the book I could see that being a problem. I don't see how you could read text meant for an 8.5 by 11 inch page on a smart phone. But that seems like a limitation of this medium, not of this particular textbook.
I did not see any grammatical errors. Spelling, punctuation and sentence structure were also all very good. And as stated above, the book is very clear and easy to read, which would make this text easy for students to understand.
The chapter on civil rights includes sections on African Americans, women, native Americans, Alaskans, Hawaiians and the LGBTQ community. That is as comprehensive or more comprehensive than other textbooks I have used. This is also one of the longer chapters in the book coming in at about 50 pages. Most of the other chapters are in the 35 to 40 page range. The authors or editors clearly made an effort to be inclusive in this chapter. Diverse student populations will appreciate this aspect of the text.
Overall, this looks like a viable option for an American government 101 course. There is little to nothing lost compared to a mainstream textbook. There are also some advantages to this textbook, including clarity of the writing and various appendixes that include the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Federalist 10 and 51 right in the book. It's nice to have them in one place, and not all other textbooks do that. I can see myself using this textbook in the future.
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... 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 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... 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 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... 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.
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. 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.
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... 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.
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... 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.
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... 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 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... 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.
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... 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.
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,... 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.
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... 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.
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... 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 index as well as a glossary of key terms at the end of each chapter. 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
Students and the System
- Chapter 1: American Government and Civic Engagement
- Chapter 2: The Constitution and Its Origins
- Chapter 3: American Federalism
Individual Agency and Action
- Chapter 4: Civil Liberties
- Chapter 5: Civil Rights
- Chapter 6: The Politics of Public Opinion
- Chapter 7: Voting and Elections
Toward Collective Action: Mediating Institutions
- Chapter 8: The Media
- Chapter 9: Political Parties
- Chapter 10: Interest Groups and Lobbying
Delivering Collective Action: Formal Institutions
- Chapter 11: Congress
- Chapter 12: The Presidency
- Chapter 13: The Courts
- Chapter 14: State and Local Government
The Outputs of Government
- Chapter 15: The Bureaucracy
- Chapter 16: Domestic Policy
- Chapter 17: Foreign Polict
About the Book
American Government 2e 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.
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.
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
Ann Kordas, Johnson & Wales University
Jennifer Danley-Scott, Texas Woman’s University
Christopher Lawrence, Middle Georgia State College
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).