Conditions of Use
The work provides a comprehensive overview of both the formal and informal political institutions that one would expect to find in an introductory-level American Government text. The index is thorough and easily navigable with direct links to the... read more
The work provides a comprehensive overview of both the formal and informal political institutions that one would expect to find in an introductory-level American Government text. The index is thorough and easily navigable with direct links to the relevant section of the text in which the key term is discussed. The attention to both content and process in the chapters on policy is useful.
The content is presented clearly and appropriately. The content is presented in a way that scaffolds the reader's knowledge from basic understanding of the historical context and key concepts toward analysis, synthesis, and finally enables critical assessment of ideas. This progression is evident, for example, in the learning objectives that begin each section of the text.
The relevance of content is a real strength of this text. The text repeatedly incorporates up-to-date examples to illustrate its reasoning and explain how foundational themes relate to contemporary political developments. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 election, and key aspects of the first-term of the Biden administration are usefully addressed in the text.
The writing is clear and accessible to an introductory-level undergraduate reader. Technical terminology is explained in a precise and clear manner.
The framework of the text is internally consistent. The book's seventeen chapters are well-divided into five parts. The chapter-to-chapter progression is logical. Within each chapter, sections are consistently arranged to first build comprehension and then work toward deeper analysis of topic, which is an effective pedagogical framework.
Chapter sections are easily divisible and do not overwhelm the reader with too much information in any single subheading. The material could easily be reorganized or covered in a different sequence at the discretion of the instructor without much disruption. The material is not overly self-referential.
The organization of topics conforms with what one finds in many other introductory level texts on American Government. Ideas are presented in a clear, logical fashion, and transitions between sections flow smoothly.
Images and charts were appropriate, visually appealing, and supported the text content in a meaningful way. The text was easily navigable and the Index, search function, and drop-down menus in the Table of Contents functioned seamlessly.
Sentence structure and grammar are excellent. The writing is clear and concise.
The text is wide-ranging and inclusive to a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds in its examples, particularly in the chapters on individual agency and action.
The textbook includes virtually all topics that are critical to foundational course(s) in U.S. Government. A chapter on State and Local government is also included as a useful addition. read more
The textbook includes virtually all topics that are critical to foundational course(s) in U.S. Government. A chapter on State and Local government is also included as a useful addition.
I did not identify any issues with the accuracy of the textbook content.
The textbook is highly relevant with topics that will continue to be important to include in a foundational study of U.S .government. Furthermore, the textbook has the capacity to undergo straightforward updates, (such as to linked contents, etc.) when necessary.
The textbook content is thorough yet very clearly written.
The textbook content and organization is consistent throughout. Each chapter offers an introduction, 3 to 5 written sections covering the topic, key terms, summary, review questions, critical thinking questions, and suggestions for further study.
The textbook content is clearly organized into sensible modules. For example, the civil rights chapter is organized into five components, including: 1) what are civil rights, 2) African-American civil rights, 3) women's civil rights, 4) civil rights for indigenous groups, and 5) equal protection for other groups. This organization allows instructors and students to easily reference particular sub-units of content.
The textbook contents are organized in an insightful way, beginning with core foundational elements of the Constitution, federalism, civil liberties and civil rights.
The interface of the textbook is excellent. A menu to the left of the online textbook allows readers to quickly and efficiently navigate to another topic of the textbook. Photos and other content (such as graphs) are clearly positioned and captioned, providing useful supplementation to the written content.
I did not identify any grammatical issues with the textbook content. It is well-written and proof-read.
The textbook utilizes a wide array of references to various cultures, both in its written content and its supplementary graphics.
The textbook provides a clear, concise, and easily navigable resource of comprehensive information on the topic of U.S. government.
This textbook covers all the main topics need for American government 101. Unlike many other textbooks, it has a separate chapter on State and Local government which I think would be useful as I found it is helpful for students to understand the... read more
This textbook covers all the main topics need for American government 101. Unlike many other textbooks, it has a separate chapter on State and Local government which I think would be useful as I found it is helpful for students to understand the lower level governments in relation to the federal government when discussing American politics. The index is concise and effective, and the book has key terms aggregated toward the end of each chapter.
I found the content of the book accurate and complete. Also, discussions are not biased toward any political ideology.
The authors updated the contents reflecting current events and political landscape. They provide both classic and current concepts throughout the textbook. The text is arranged in a way that necessary updates can be easily integrated.
It presents materials clearly. I found it very appropriate for undergraduates.
The book is well laid out and uses terminology consistent throughout the chapters. Also, each chapter sticks to an identical structure.
I did not find enormous blocks of text without subheadings. The chapters are well organized and reader friendly. It looks easier to move sections around.
One of many things I like about this textbook is that it is well organized throughout. Although I found having a chapter on Bureaucracy toward the end of the textbook unconventional, overall organization of the topics covered in the text are presented in a logical fashion. Each chapter starts with basic concepts and moves discussion toward topics which need more critical thinking. Having learning objectives at the beginning of each subsection (not just in a chapter) could help students stay focus on important takeaways.
I didn’t find any interface issues in this textbook. The textbook has clear images and charts. The links for figures seem to be useful in quickly navigating them.
I didn’t notice obvious grammatical errors in this textbook.
The text is not culturally offensive, but I would like to see more sections or paragraphs that flesh out diversity and politics.
I would consider using this textbook in my American Government 101. It is a good alternative to expensive textbooks.
This textbook is perfect for my American government course that I teach to undergraduates at the community college level. I really like that a section on state and local government is included. Most textbooks for undergraduates in this topic area... read more
This textbook is perfect for my American government course that I teach to undergraduates at the community college level. I really like that a section on state and local government is included. Most textbooks for undergraduates in this topic area don’t include this topic, and it’s a welcome addition.
The book’s accuracy was excellent.
I love the inclusion of recent current events.
I really liked the authors writing style. Complex ideas were synthesized inlanguage that was easy to understand.
I did not notice any inconsistencies.
I liked how things were broken down so I could deposit topics that students find challenging.
My only critique of the book is that the sections on Congress, the presidency, and the court system appear later on in the textbook. My preference would be to have these topics addressed earlier on in the textbook. I hasten to add that I teach at the community college level where I often have to address certain shortcomings and misunderstandings regarding the students’ high school knowledge in this topic area, so perhaps this preference only applies because of my specific student audience.
Everything was clear and easy to find, including graphics, charts, and figures.
I did not notice any errors.
I did not notice anything offensive, but the textbook could be updated in the future on the topic of transgender individuals. Perhaps more specific information about the Supreme Court case regarding employment and other cases could be fleshed out.
American Government 2e offers a comprehensive survey of the core aspects of the US political system. It follows the standard layout of American Government textbooks and offers an effective and easily searchable index. It also includes a chapter on... read more
American Government 2e offers a comprehensive survey of the core aspects of the US political system. It follows the standard layout of American Government textbooks and offers an effective and easily searchable index. It also includes a chapter on state/local politics, which is a unique addition to the textbook.
The text offers an accurate synthesis of American political scholarship and is presented in an unbiased manner.
The content of the text features contemporary examples and events situated within historical and theoretical contexts. The presentation of the material lends itself to be easily modified to accommodate changes in the political sphere.
The text features sophisticated and accessible prose. Technical terms are clearly explained allowing the typical college to understand unfamiliar terms/concepts.
The text offers a consistent presentation of terms situated within a logical and approachable framework for college students.
The text can easily be consumed in small portions without sacrificing a broader understanding of the material. Even though there are many different authors/contributors the book reads like a cohesive work.
The text follows the standard format for American Government texts. It is divided into five sections, which makes it easily approachable to both instructor and student.
Though I had trouble accessing the PDF and online versions, it appears to have been an issue with the browser I was using at the time. There were graphics to illustrate some of the material, and it is nice that PDF and online versions are available.
I did not read the text cover to cover, but it seems largely to be free of grammatical errors. However, on the library listing page, there is a typo in the index for chapter 17.
The text did not include culturally offensive material and seemed inclusive in its examples and discussion.
The text provides an accurate, informative, cost-effective option for college students. It is comparable to other American Government textbooks, and I will consider using it in my future courses.
This text, American Government 2e by Krutz and Waskiewicz, covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately beginning with the origins of each political construct, through its evolution in America, and trends into the future. Following... read more
This text, American Government 2e by Krutz and Waskiewicz, covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately beginning with the origins of each political construct, through its evolution in America, and trends into the future. Following each chapter are a glossary and comprehension/study questions. The Declaration of Independence and parts of the Constitution are in the Appendices.
The content of the book is accurate. There are occasional editorial comments and examples of protests which suggest liberal criticisms of the status quo.
The content is up-to-date including most of the Trump presidency, which is helpful for students' understanding and familiarity. However, the preponderance of examples from the Obama and Trump eras will become outdated and need updates supplied by the instructor.
The text is written in lucid prose with technical terminology highlighted, defined in the text, and listed again in a glossary. Examples depicting the new terms are plentiful. The font is reader-friendly; pages are uncrowded.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework. Each chapter includes an introduction, theory and history of particular governmental entity, Links to Learning credible websites, graphs, photos, documents, Insider Perspectives introducing a biography of an icon of the chapter, ways to engage in real life government , glossary, and Bibliography for Further Study including books and films.
The text is easily divisible into smaller sections that can be reordered within the course. There are chapters on media literacy, public opinion and polls, civic engagement, that might be taken separately from the actual discussion of government structure.
The topics are presented in a clear fashion. However domestic and foreign policy are rushed at the end while lobbyists and other peripheral topics enjoy a more central position.
The text is free of interface issues; charts and graphics are clear and are explained and analyzed
Grammar is not problematic.
The text is not culturally insensitive, supplying context to why the Founders created the government originally and how it has evolved. Experiences and participation of African-American, Latinx, Asian, indigenous, women, and LGBT citizens fill a chapter.
Established in the introduction are the necessity and rationale for student interest and participation in their government. Although the disinclination students sometimes feel toward politics is examined , the many and various avenues to address grievances or engage in government enterprises are the centerpiece of the book's mission.
This book contains everything I need for intro American government classes. It is very comprehensive and covers all the necessary information. read more
This book contains everything I need for intro American government classes. It is very comprehensive and covers all the necessary information.
The information presented in the text book is accurate and comparable to all other books I have used on the market. The chapters are arranged in a way that makes sense to the material.
The material in the book is relevant and up to date with current politics and elected officials.
The textbook is written in a way that is easy to understand. It is not overly complicated and written at the appropriate level.
The consistency and cohesion of the organization of the textbook is on par with all the other material on the market. Information is presented in a logical order.
This book is easy to divide into chapters or sections that make sense for the progression of the semester.
Very logical and clear organization. The material progresses in a way that makes the most sense.
The images and charts used in the book help clarify the concepts very well.
No grammatical errors.
No instances of cultural insensititvity. The book addresses difficult issues in an appropriate way.
Great looking book and the price point would be very beneficial to students.
This textbook covers the main topics of a course on American government. read more
This textbook covers the main topics of a course on American government.
The textbook was first published in 2019. It was updated in 2020. It contains accurate references to the Trump presidency.
The textbook was first published in 2019. It was updated in 2020. It contains accurate references to the Trump presidency.
The textbook does not contain a glossary. The index is useful.
I have not found inconsistencies in the use of concepts.
The textbook is easy to read online.
This textbook covers the main topics of a course on American government.
The textbook is easy to read online.
In the table of contents, chapter 17 is titled "Chapter 17: Foreign Polict."
I have not found culturally insensitive comments.
In terms of content, the textbook has all the chapters one normally expects from an introductory American Government textbook. There is an additional chapter on State & Local government aside from the chapter on federalism - which offers... read more
In terms of content, the textbook has all the chapters one normally expects from an introductory American Government textbook. There is an additional chapter on State & Local government aside from the chapter on federalism - which offers instructors an option to discuss state & local government as well.
I did not see any issues in terms uneven discussions or those filled with mistakes.
This is a well put together textbook and with periodic revisions should be useful for students of American government for many years and decades to come.
I found the book to be clear and precise in its discussions and presentation of material. Particularly appropriate for an undergraduate audience.
Yes, the book is internally consistent in terms of its discussion and its presentation of information.
This is a particular strength of the text book from my view. I find it useful assigning my students questions based on discussions in various sections of chapters. For example, Chapter 1, Section 3 has a discussion on civic engagement along with colorful graphs and data pertaining to 18-29 yr olds and their political participation. I set up an assignment for my students to respond to a question based on the discussion in this section in an online class. The chapters are well organized and user friendly. I also like the presence of key terms at the end of every chapter as in the textbooks one can pay ($) for. This is another useful function to organize student assignments around.
Yes, the topics are presented in logical and clear fashion. For me, this was one of the strengths of the textbook. The clearer organization is a benefit to undergraduate students who may be taking the course as a required course. For many such students, the clarity in organization will further help clear any obstacles in understanding the political system.
I found the navigability of the textbook easy. The online navigation is exceptionally good. I have not tested it on a smartphone; however, on a computer the book is easy to navigate - to move between chapters, sections, pages, etc is easy.
I did not see any grammatical errors.
I did not find the book cultural insensitive.
I am glad to have discovered this book. I am using this text in lieu of my regular purchased text for my intro class and I am excited for the possibilities available given the interesting and useful ways the authors have organized the material in the book - while ensuring all the bread & butter chapters for an intro American Gov text are here.
An innovative inclusion is that, in addition to the standard chapter on federalism, American Government (2e) also includes a separate chapter (14) on State and Local Governments. This is a welcome inclusion: Although most Americans interact far... read more
An innovative inclusion is that, in addition to the standard chapter on federalism, American Government (2e) also includes a separate chapter (14) on State and Local Governments. This is a welcome inclusion: Although most Americans interact far more with their state and local governments than the national government on a daily basis, historically American government courses have de-emphasized sub-national politics. The invitation to re-introduce discussion of governors, state legislatures, city councils, and other forms of sub-national government is much appreciated. Although overall the text is quite comprehensive, one downside is that there are only two chapters on policy (separated into Domestic and Foreign Policy). Even worse, most of the Domestic Policy chapter is a theoretical discussion of policy; the only substantive area that gets much coverage is budgeting and tax policy (section 16.5). Thus, instructors who want to cover highly salient domestic policy issues like healthcare or immigration may need to assign supplements. The end-of-the-chapter resources are also quite good (better than I've seen in many books from commercial publishers). The "Key terms" section at the end of each chapter is a great resource for students studying for multiple choice exams. The point-by-point "Summary" section is a great way for students to review the main ideas in the chapter.
Accuracy is overall quite good. As one would expect from a 771-page book, at times there are minor issues. For example, when discussing the Boston Tea Party, the authors claim, "Today, many who do not agree with the positions of the Democratic of Republican Party have organized themselves into an oppositional group dubbed the Tea Party (41)." But at the mass level most Tea Party identifiers are Republicans, and in Congress the vast majority of Tea Party sympathizers (perhaps all) are Republicans. Elsewhere in the same chapter, the descriptions of Shays's Rebellion and the Boston Tea Party leave out important details that would help students relate the events to the broader topics under discussion. I look at these minor issues as an opportunity for teachers to clarify in lecture, rather than deal-breaking issues.
The text focuses on current events less than many commercial publishers' alternatives (Keeping the Republic comes to mind). However, it does do a nice job of considering the broader themes that characterize United States politics today. For example, the chapter on political parties has a nice section about divided government and political polarization (section 9.4), and the chapter on Congressional representation does a nice job of recognizing both the growing diversity of Congress as well as the continued ways in which Congress is less diverse than the American public (section 11.3).
Overall I find the writing to be at an appropriate level for first-year college students. The "Key terms" sections at the end of each chapter will be helpful to students who aren't sure whether they understand a particular term.
Overall the textbook is highly consistent. However, the editorial voice of the textbook is less clear than some alternatives from commercial publishers. Some may view this as a benefit, as there is more room for each instructor to add their own "big story" to their courses. Others may view this as a downside, because students will have less guidance in identifying the major themes or "thesis" of the course.
Because the textbook has less of an editorial voice, it is easier to move chapters around.
Overall the organization is quite good. I like that the chapters are divided into numbered subsections, which helps give students clearer instructions when I am dividing chapters over multiple days. At the same time, I should point out that, at least in my view, the book is organized in an unconventional way. For example, while Federalism (Chapter 3) is included in the "Students and the System" section, State and Local Government comes much later in the book (Chapter 14, in the "Formal Institutions" section). In addition, the chapter on the Bureaucracy is placed in the "Outputs of Government" section alongside the chapters on domestic and foreign policy, rather than its more traditional place just after The Presidency. Thankfully, though, the chapters are easy to move around. In my classes using the book, I have done quite a bit of rearranging.
The book is available in multiple formats. Students can read individual sections or chapters online (in a way vaguely reminiscent of Wikipedia), they can download a free PDF of the entire book, or more traditional students can order a hard copy of the book from Amazon (at a price that's still less than half of what students might pay for a book from a commercial press). Knowing that I would be using the book over many sections and many semesters, I ordered a copy from Amazon and I am glad I did.
Overall the book is extremely well edited. Grammar is as good as one would expect from a textbook from a commercial press.
While there's always room to incorporate more diversity, overall the book does a nice job. While the focus on diversity is certainly not as all-encompassing as some commercial books that make racial/ethnic diversity the "thesis of the book" (most notably McClain and Tauber's American Government in Black and White), the book certainly does not limit discussion of racial/ethnic diversity to the chapter on Civil Rights, as many textbooks have done historically. The book does a nice job of acknowledging racial injustice at the time of the American founding, including the Three-Fifths Compromise, as well as the importance of the Civil War Amendments in beginning to correct those wrongs (p. 63). The text also does a better job than most of discussing the importance of Voter Registration in Chapter 7 (Voting and Elections), including coverage of the Voting Rights Act and Shelby County v. Holder (2013). Finally, as noted earlier, the book does a nice job of showing that Congress is growing more diverse, while at the same time acknowledging the many ways that Congress is still not representative of the American public (Chapter 11, Congress).
My own opinion is that the biggest shortcoming is a lack of current events coverage. In my own courses, I am going to make up for this by assigning articles from CQ Researcher. Also, I was disappointed that I requested access to the instructor resources a few weeks ago, but as of the start of the semester I have still not received access. Instructors planning on using this book may want to request access to the instructor resources very early to avoid issues.
I like the additional chapter on State and Local Government (Chap 14). Chapter 8 on the Media is the best chapter I've seen on that subject. It offers an excellent collection of concepts and ideas useful to political science students. read more
I like the additional chapter on State and Local Government (Chap 14). Chapter 8 on the Media is the best chapter I've seen on that subject. It offers an excellent collection of concepts and ideas useful to political science students.
This is a hard aspect of any textbook. I reviewed the book for about 3 hours, and I could probably spend another 3 hours finding other "issues." First, Page 39 of textbook about Locke and the social contract gives no citation. According to Locke individuals held authority through a divine power that existed in the people that formed the basis for the "fountain of authority"? Rousseau more clearly articulated the concept of Social Contract, borrowed from Locke. Your textbook makes no mention of Rousseau. Second, key terms in Chapter 17 are wanting. Third, Political Parties should precede elections in the book. Fourth, the idea that the winner-take-all approach to election is the reason for the two-party system is a conventional and weak argument, and there are no citations to back up the text (pp. 334-335). Fifth, Page 338 discusses the Electoral College as the reason for a two-party system, but the explanation given does not explain why the Electoral College is one of the main reasons why there is an entrenched two-party system. Sixth, from pp. 266-267, and the Electoral College, the idea of achieving a tie vote is irrelevant. If the candidate fails to achieve 270 votes, then the election is sent to the House of Representatives. Finally, there is no sufficient definition of due process anywhere in the book. I could go on, but you have some important ones.
Your idea of relevance is not really relevant. Much of your textbook is solid, such as Chapter 8 on the Media. I like how you included the FCC. But given what is currently happening with the COVID-19 Pandemic, I would argue that the textbook remains just as relevant, even though some of your reviewers will claim otherwise. Table 17.1 on page 643 is useless. You can replace that space with something more relevant?
The textbook is written well. I did not see too much passive tense. I would reduce the number of "in order to" and replace with "to" in many sentences. You have a solid editing staff doing well to ensure a good syntax throughout the book.
The textbook is consistently outlined. But the chapter in Foreign Affairs (Chap 17) is thin and needs more meat. Where is the concept of deterrence? the Cold War era is not well articulated. Other critical concepts such as "security dilemma" and "domino theory" need to be introduced. This course must give freshman students the conceptual baseline tools to advance to the next grade. Also, the authors do not explain the Electoral College sufficiently as it relates to the 2 parties.
Modularity is clearly possible in this text, although I do not think this criteria should be rated high in importance as to determining whether this is a solid textbook. Each topic by chapter is integrated with all the others in some way.
The formatting of the text throughout is excellent. The choice of pictures, and subjects is excellent throughout. The cosmetics of the book is well done.
See previous answer immediately above I do not detect any issues here.
None that I could detect. I looked more at concepts and content. "in order to" was overused.
The textbook is ideologically neutral throughout, with one exception. It does not explain some additional reasons why the two-party system in the U.S. persists. This is probably a sensitive issue.
There could be more treatment of the concept of power in the beginning of the book. There are numerous ways to define or describe political power, and they should be conveyed in the textbook. Also, where is David Hume? Madison and Hamilton cite him in the Federalist Papers. Hume's ideas on human nature as the underlying purpose for dividing power is essential to understanding the American political system.
The book covers all the main topics that good introductory American Government textbooks typically cover and also includes chapters on topics that are not covered in detail in many textbooks. It dedicates entire chapters to state and local... read more
The book covers all the main topics that good introductory American Government textbooks typically cover and also includes chapters on topics that are not covered in detail in many textbooks. It dedicates entire chapters to state and local government, domestic policy, and foreign policy.
Overall, the textbook provides accurate information, but there are some places where it comes up short in this regard, and a few statements made in the book are not as clear as they could be. For example, the definition of the margin of error that is provided is not technically correct, and the example that follows the definition is not correct even in a non-technical sense. As another example, the description of Adam Smith’s views on wealth accumulation is oversimplified and arguably misleading. There are minor mistakes in some of the tables and figures, too. While it is rare for any textbook to be completely full of errors, there are a few more errors in this book than in my preferred American Government textbook and other leading textbooks on the topic.
In general, the content is suitably up to date, although some tables and figures should probably be updated soon. The textbook includes many illustrations, photographs, and examples that are recent enough for students to be able to relate to without much difficulty.
The text is generally clear and easy to read, although it may err towards oversimplification is some places. Chapters are structured in reasonable ways. The highlighting of key terms and the examples that are provided are helpful.
The text is suitably consistent even though there are many chapter authors.
I think it would be easy for me to pick and choose sections of the book to focus on and to present chapters in a customized order.
As mentioned earlier, chapters are structured in reasonable ways. The structure is on par with leading texts in this area.
I didn’t have any difficulty navigating the book.
I did not notice a significant number of grammatical errors.
As mentioned earlier, the book is reasonably up to date. It includes many examples that students with a wide variety of backgrounds and characteristics should be able to relate to. Issues related to race, ethnicity, gender, and class are addressed in appropriate ways.
This is the first time that I have thoroughly reviewed an open source textbook for potential use in a course, and I was impressed by the overall quality of the book. It covers most, if not all, of the material that I typically cover in my American Government course and does so in an engaging way. It is certainly a viable option for my course. The book leans more towards describing American government than explaining it, which may be fine for many instructors, especially for an introductory course. I do wish there was a bit more of a unified explanatory framework that was used throughout the chapters, though. My preferred text, The Logic of American Politics (Kernell et al.), does a bit better job of using a small number of key concepts – transaction costs, conformity costs, free riding, the prisoner’s dilemma, etc. -- to shed light on a wide variety of phenomena and encourage students to think analytically. At the same time, given the overall quality of this book and the money my students would save if I assigned it, I am seriously considering changing texts for the first time in over a decade.
Thorough coverage of the main thematic areas generally addressed by introductory American Government textbooks. Analysis of political institutions is well-balanced with substantial attention to the role of the individual and collective action. read more
Thorough coverage of the main thematic areas generally addressed by introductory American Government textbooks. Analysis of political institutions is well-balanced with substantial attention to the role of the individual and collective action.
The content of the work is accurate and unbiased. The text effectively frames controversial topics in American politics and the reader does not come away with the impression that the author's are putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of a particular interpretation or political ideology.
The text does not run the risk of becoming obsolete in a short period of time; however, many of the examples are quite common to other introductory American Government texts. Students may struggle with somewhat dated, routine examples. In updates to this text, it may be useful to search for more contemporary illustrations of key concepts, and this would be a relatively easy fix to implement.
The writing is clear and concise. The prose is accessible, and the authors' have done an outstanding job avoiding the jargon that can unnecessarily complicate a text.
The framework of the text is internally consistent. Excellent use of sub-sections in each chapter. Learning objectives are clearly identified for each unit, and each unit concludes with a concise summary of main points followed by multiple-choice and short answer questions.
The material is easily divisible. An instructor could easily rearrange the order of topics without presenting much disruption to the reader. For example, if an instructor wanted to cover formal institutions prior to individual agency and action or mediating institutions, it would not be difficult to do so using this text.
In each unit, there is a clear progression of thought from basic description of concepts toward more critical analysis. This usefully guides the reader and provides the shared language and conceptual understanding necessary for more nuanced, thoughtful analysis. The first unit of the text ('Students and the System') outlines the necessary historical context without getting too bogged down in general introduction. The text then moves through its substantive topics in a coherent manner with useful transitions between topics. The concise introductions at the beginning of each chapter effectively frame the chapter topic.
Figures and images were clear and undistorted. Display features are intuitive and not confusing to the reader. Reviewing the text, I did not experience any significant interface issues.
The writing is clear and error-free. Grammar and sentence structure are appropriate for the reading comprehension level expected in an introductory level course.
The examples used throughout the text are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds. The 'Insider Perspective' sections in each chapter reflect this in their profiles of diverse individuals. The chapters on civil liberties and civil rights, in particular, demonstrate the cultural relevance of the text.
This textbook is extremely comprehensive. It covers all the bases of an Introduction to American Government and then some. From the founding and Constitution to the major institutions of Congress, Courts, and the Presidency, these major areas are... read more
This textbook is extremely comprehensive. It covers all the bases of an Introduction to American Government and then some. From the founding and Constitution to the major institutions of Congress, Courts, and the Presidency, these major areas are all covered. Furthermore, it also includes chapters on linkage institutions like parties, interest groups, and the media. And finally, it contains both sections on individual rights and liberties as well as policy and bureaucracy. It contains every topic I cover and more in an Introductory course.
The textbook is error-free and unbiased. The main framework chapters are excellent and thorough. The cited political science literature is excellent. The more niche chapters like Public Opinion could use a freshen up on the theoretical concepts. The definition of public opinion is probably not as accurate as it could be. There is a vibrant discussion in modern research on the balance between socialization and genetics in public opinion research that should be included. Overall, it is solid and accurate.
A textbook with a framework as solid as this will not go out-of-date quickly. Nearly every chapter has classic and current concepts to understand the evolution and development of institutions. The founding chapter and the Constitution are great chapters and will always be relevant. There are areas where graphics examples could be updated; a few of the federalism chapter charts are using 2014 data. At the edges, the composition of Congress and descriptive representation will need to be updated. Gerrymandering and redistricting is continually evolving. The 2020 census will alter the reapportionment section on Congress and the Electoral College. Most importantly, the emergence of Donald Trump simply alters how the institution of the presidency communicates and respects (or doesn't respect) past institutional norms. The "Middle Ground" feature might need to be updated as controversies change but overall this definitely a relevant textbook.
The textbook is well-written and clear. There are numerous features that are used to help students engage with content (summaries, supplemental reading, graphics and break outs). It is such a long and comprehensive textbook that possibly it might suffer from not having a clear and overriding theme. However, each chapter is organized with clear and explicit learning goals and achieves everything you need from an American Government textbook. The professor can supply larger themes to the broader course and this textbook can fit nearly any theme with important and clear information on American Government. It is difficult to be so comprehensive and not lose the forest for the trees at times.
The textbook is consistent and the framework is adhered to in each chapter. Learning goals are explicit and each chapter has a clear structure and consistent features that carry throughout the chapters.
American Government 2e is broken up with numerous sections with targeted learning goals and clear intention to allow students to read each section in whole or in small parts. It is not overly burdensome or clunky or overwhelming in its text portions. The text moves cleanly through concepts and important sections of each chapter.
The overall textbook is structured clearly with important areas (1. Students and the System 2. Individual Agency and Action 3. Mediating Institutions and Collective Action 4. Delivering Collective Action: Formal Institutions 5. Outputs of Government) and chapters that fold under the broader categories (i.e. Formal Institutions include Congress, The Courts, and The Presidency). The overall structure moves formal institutions to the back of the book which is different than how I structure my course but the chapters are modular and allow the professor to assign chapters independently and mix and match to lecture chapters.
The text's interface is similar to any American Government textbook and has clear charts, tables, and numerous features that are clear and unobtrusive.
I did not see any clear grammatical errors in my review.
The text is not culturally insensitive. the text covers many inclusive and powerful cases of civil rights from African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement to women's suffrage to Occupy Wall Street. It even has a section on Civil Rights and Native Americans. One area it could be more inclusive is by including more primary sources and perspectives from underrepresented groups both as parts of chapters and suggested readings/bibliography citations.
This is an excellent and comprehensive American Government textbook. The text's ease of access and open source publishing make it a clear and obvious alternative to expensive textbooks. I have used it in my classes and value its comprehensive nature and the ease of access and affordability it provides for my students.
The text covers exactly what an introduction to political science/government textbook should cover. read more
The text covers exactly what an introduction to political science/government textbook should cover.
As a teacher of history also, I especially look for historical accuracy. The book is accurate with but few exceptions. The sections on Native Americans lose their lands and on the rights revolution are too simplistic historically. A number of important factors are left out. Likewise, the reasoning in Chapter 9 Political Parties as to why we have only two major parties lacks depth. Otherwise, I find the content accurate, sufficiently in depth, and excellent. An example of a high degree of accuracy is the discussion on the problem of divided government.
The content is mostly up to date. Even though the publishing date is 2019, however, many of the charts, maps, graphs, pictures, and statistics in general are from 2015 or earlier. For example, reelection rates to Congress stops at 2014. In short, more up to date statistics and graphics should be there. This is disappointing but not fatal as I can update in class using the overhead.
The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used. Particularly well written is the "Approach to Foreign Policy, p. 650, especially, the "Classic Approach" and the more recent history of U.S. foreign policy.
The text is consistent.
While most of the narrative text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections, there are sections that go on for a page and a half of densely worded blocks of text that many of my first and second year students would find challenging in comprehension given that length.
The book's organization/structure/flow is very good. Though as I said before, more recent in time statistics, graphs, charts, and pictures would help, the use of the visuals organizationally as far as charts, maps, and graphs is very good.
The text is easily navigated and free of any significant interface issues.
The text contains no grammatical errors of any significance.
The text is very culturally sensitive and I see no cultural offensiveness. If anything it simplifies our history as to discrimination and racism in the direction of being overly intolerant of past civil rights violations in the light of past cultural norms based on ignorance and insecurities that darken our history, and with which the present continues to deal with.
Overall, an excellent textbook which covers the needed subject matter comprehensively. The narrative is engaging and very well written. This is a good choice as the textbook for beginning level political science courses.
The book covers all of the basic components of American government. There are even two chapters on public policy, which many basic textbooks omit. Overall, this is a solid choice in terms of comprehensiveness. The textbook does not include much... read more
The book covers all of the basic components of American government. There are even two chapters on public policy, which many basic textbooks omit. Overall, this is a solid choice in terms of comprehensiveness. The textbook does not include much material on current elections, but an instructor can easily add his or her own supplemental materials.
The book is accurate and error-free. As for bias, the author(s) definitely stayed neutral in their descriptions of the events regarding the Trump presidency and their effect on American society.
This text will only need updates in the area of the presidency, public policy, and possibly elections. However, all textbooks--standard or OER--face this issue. The authors for this book have used a standard structure that will stay relevant as long as any other.
I was quite impressed by the clear prose used in this text. There is very little jargon, and technical terms are adequately summarized. Students at all levels will have no difficulty with the language used therein.
The book uses a standard framework/structure, and so there is no problem with consistency.
The book contained appropriate section breaks so that students can jump directly to the relevant subsection. Instructors will have no difficulty omitting certain topics/chapters.
Again, the book uses a standard organizational framework/structure, and it is organized appropriately for an introductory text.
I saw no problems with the navigation or images. It was quite easy to use.
I saw no grammatical or spelling errors.
The book seemed to use inclusive examples--for example, the racial breakdown of the federal judiciary. I would have preferred more of this, but the book was adequate in this regard. To be clear, it is not culturally insensitive.
I was quite impressed with this textbook, and have made plans to adopt it next year. It is a well-written and solid introduction to American Government. Although it lacks some of the additional material that other traditional textbooks provide (i.e., more information on judicial decision-making or constitutional interpretation), the text accomplishes its goal--to provide a clear and accessible overview of the American political process. It is easily the equal of most other traditional textbooks on the market now.
The textbook provides for a comprehensive overview of American Government. The text contains a variety of ideas and concepts. The content delivers plenty of perspective for students to learn about American government. The historical approaches... read more
The textbook provides for a comprehensive overview of American Government. The text contains a variety of ideas and concepts. The content delivers plenty of perspective for students to learn about American government. The historical approaches in many chapters provide contextualization of concepts. This is particularly identifiable in chapters one and two.
The chapters contain accurate information. The chapters have a mix of history, current facts and evidence along with key concepts traditional of American government texts. At times, the chapters are heavy with history and not as much with theory. The information in several chapters, like the chapters pertaining to the institutions, provide for an in-depth analysis.
The updates for most chapters should be easily accomplished. American government textbooks, in order to stay relevant, demand frequent updates. Chapter three necessitates a revision in order to re-create its relevance. Some of the information in it is five years old and the writing does not explore clearly the theory of federalism and its evolution. The chapter on Congress should also be updated and with data from 2016 and 2018.
The language is sophisticated throughout the text. The required terminology for the curriculum is present with context in every chapter. Terminology is placed bolded for easy identification. Overall, the textbook is written in a traditional format. The language might not appeal as well to the Z generation. This is a pragmatic generation of learners. The textbook’s language is not as direct and as appealing to the pedagogical style of this new generation of students. Chapters six and seven are uncharacteristic. It would be easier if the chapters would focus on the 2016 and 2018 elections. Instead the chapters’ information jumps around and the data needs organizing. Present the electoral information in tables and use the 2016 election as a case study. By reorganizing the information contained in the chapters, it will be easier for the reader to follow the data if it is in a table format. Electoral case studies provide for a story within a history. This could certainly be prepared for the 2020 election. Political behavior for presidential and mid-term congressional elections should be analyzed independently.
The framework in the textbook and within chapters is consistent with other traditional publications. The terminology is consistent and the textbook has a glossary at the end of each chapter; which is useful for students to identify terms and concepts. The appendix is also important; and for example, it contains the Constitution, and some of the Federalist Papers.
The textbook contains sections and subsections within the chapters with independent learning objectives. The headings and subheadings are appealing and provide the students with direction about what is coming next. Chapters provide plenty of information for pedagogical instruction; which is well organized. If faculty want to remove a section, it is not difficult for students to follow the main concepts.
Overall, the organization and flow of the textbook is logical and it follows a traditional American Government textbook. There are sections in the textbook that resemble a history textbook. For example, the chapter on political parties resembles a history text.
The red links in areas of the textbook are distracting. The endnotes are difficult to follow. It would be useful to have the endnotes at the end of the chapters.
The textbook does not contain grammatical errors.
While the textbook references race, ethnicity, gender, and other identities in expected chapters like Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, and even the Media, overall the textbook offers a limited approach to identity politics in the context of American politics and government. These issues are prevalent in American political and social life, and have been accentuated during the first term of President Trump. By avoiding the topics and the conversations, the text is not allowing students to civically engage in discussions and learning. Instead the textbook chooses to avoid the high stakes conversations. This provides the Media with an opportunity to fill this vacuum. Identify politics should be present in more sections of the text. Identity politics should be an integral part of academic conversations and should provide opportunities to students to engage with difficult topics by using critical thinking strategies.
Instructor and student resources are need improvement.
The material offered more than meets the appropriate standard for a textbook used in a first or second year course in American Government and Politics. The foundational building blocks of the republic that are provided are similar to the last... read more
The material offered more than meets the appropriate standard for a textbook used in a first or second year course in American Government and Politics. The foundational building blocks of the republic that are provided are similar to the last two textbooks I used (We the People & By the People) and for that matter correspond to the textbook I myself used over thirty years ago in my “Intro” course which I still refer to in the classroom. The chapters relating to “State & Local Government” plus “Domestic” & “Foreign” Policy (14,16 & 17) are an added bonus although I will not assign these whole chapters in the Intro course due to time restrictions. That noted, I will assign a section or two to aid in a specific class activity and these chapters can be used to supplement material in another course or two, particularly “State & Local Government.” The supplementary material within each chapter/section like “Finding Middle Ground” and “Milestone” can be an effective tool for the instructor to use for additional student engagement or an activity as such go deeper into a particular concept than mere text can. There certainly is enough relevant and timely material to assign a chapter per week for the one semester “Intro” type class, especially when combined with the supplementary material noted above.
I found no appreciable factual errors and appreciate the wealth of source material provided therefor. The writing appears to be objective and factually correct. Naturally, in a subject like government and politics there are a host of judgment calls relating to the meaning of certain terms and events and in this regard, I respect the judgment of the authors and believe they presented the material in an unbiased manner.
The foundational material in each chapter/section is relevant and the examples used to explain/apply such material is more “up to date” than many for profit books I have read. This includes a host of the “Critical Thinking” questions that I found to be “on point” and thought provoking. Those items in chapter 8 are among my favorites. I imagine the authors are planning to update every two years and it should be relatively simple to add/subtract topical material without substantial modifications to the foundational text.
The text, while voluminous, should be readily understandable to the typical student. “Key Terms” are highlighted within a chapter and then are defined again in the at the end of the chapter which should help student recall for those who want to check along. The chapters, at more than thirty pages are relatively long for some students so all of the material within a chapter may not be read. Some paragraphs are quite long in word count as are some sections that continue for pages without a “break” such as a graphic, figure, table or photograph which may inhibit overall comprehension of the material within. For example, in section 8.1 there is no ‘break’ for 11 paragraphs/over one thousand words. Of course, this is a college textbook and there is much to learn, my recent experience is that if the volume of the reading appears ominous such may not be read in whole or be comprehended as well as the instructor may have hoped. Additional sections within a chapter or sub-sections within a section and/or more topic headings could break up the volume of information into smaller chunks for the reader, especially one who may have distractions present.
The framework/layout of each chapter is consistent which is an aid to both the instructor and the reader. Each chapter begins with an introduction, moves into the various sections and concludes with the summary and then supplemental material. The use of terminology appears to be consistent between chapters and is a strength of the textbook as repetition is valuable for student retention of a particular term or concept. The use of the Electoral College and same-sex marriage across chapters are examples that I found useful in this regard.
By breaking each chapter into sections, the modularity of the textbook itself is enhanced and should allow the instructor to break apart and/or chunk particular sections of interest. If anything, as I noted above, breaking chapters into even more sections or sub-dividing those sections would enhance the ability of the instructor to “chunk” material. Of course, where to draw those “lines” is subjective and not all will see the value. My experience is that a significant number of my students will not read/fully comprehend a 30-40 page chapter at one pass. For example, could chapter 8 be divided into six or eight sections? There are a number of instances where, as was previously noted, there are significant blocks of text in “long” paragraphs without subheadings or some other type of break. Such can pose a roadblock for the easily distracted student or the person using the aid of a text reader. Such being said, I believe this textbook is far ahead of other options I have seen as far as modularity and the ability for the instructor to chunk portions of the chapter for the assigned reading each week. Additionally, there are sections within each chapter that can be assigned in other courses.
More than other textbooks I have used or read the framework of this textbook is more attuned to my style of teaching and presentation of material. For instance, I find the “unit” groupings to be effective and have always taught special interest groups before Congress. The material is generally laid out in a straightforward fashion that should make sense to the reader.
On the plus side, the fact that the chapters are divided into sections aids the instructor in assigning chunks of material and the reader in being able to jump to a particular section therein. The hyperlinks are effective for those who want to review the source and to learn more. A downside of the online version is that the section, source and other links do not open in a new page, at least for me, which causes the reader to then backtrack with the effect that after a few instances some readers may not bother. The graphics – tables, charts, photos and the like are effective visual representations of important information and all appeared to display properly both online and in the PDF. One note of concern is that the captions thereon in many instances are not fully compatible for a text reader. For printing purposes, it would be helpful if graphics and/or sections did not run onto the next page. I plan to print around 100 pages double-sided in additional to providing the online and PDF links.
The text contains no grammatical errors that jumped out at me which is quite an accomplishment in such a voluminous text.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive and it makes use of examples that are inclusive more than the norm. The materials contain frequent references to variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. For instance, the many examples of LGBTQ “issues” like marriage was well documented and current through recent case law like Masterpiece Cakeshop. In my view, chapters four and five are stellar and provide “alternative” voices to the narrative. A good example of such are the “Continuing Challenges” sections. Perhaps the next addition could add a supplement for each chapter or unit containing “other voices” which could be an effective shortcut for the instructor and of interest to our contemporary student base that is more “diverse” in many areas than 10-20 years ago.
I believe this textbook is a comprehensive and well written vehicle to aid the instructor and enhance student learning. The authors certainly did not skimp on providing information nor did they fail to provide source material in most instances. For their effort and expertise, I commend them and those who have supported this project. The modularity of the chapters should allow the instructor to more effectively “chunk” material than most other textbook options. As noted, perhaps the authors will consider a further subdivision in this regard. The introduction and the summaries are useful starting and ending points for the reader and the addition of thoughtful “critical thinking” questions plus the “keyword” pages are another useful addition to the work. The deeper learning tools like “Middle Ground” and so forth allow the reader to learn more about a specific concept using a real world application and should provide the instructor with a ready-made activity that will more actively engage the student be it in an online or seated class. I plan to regularly assign these items to use in discussion and written work. Perhaps the next addition could include an index listing the section number of those various tools to make it easier for students to find. The inclusion of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, selected Federalist Papers and electoral college results will aid the student in referencing those materials over the instructor including a link (to be lost) or the student conducting a search. The case law is also an effective addition. If practical, it would be helpful if there were a hyperlink to OYEZ or Cornell LII for each case. I note there is a link to the homepage of those repositories in the text. The continuing calls for student engagement is also a nice addition in that it allows the student to see more of how they can be active participants in governing beyond just paying taxes or voting. Finally, I thought that the chapters (4 & 5) in Civil Liberties & Civil Rights were in particular very informative and well done. My least favorite chapter concerns Federalism (3), not because of the topic but I just think that chapter is not as informative as others. Then again maybe that is just my bias because of what information was included and what was omitted. I plan to use this textbook in my first year “Intro to American Government & Politics” classes and will use the “State & Local” chapter in that class.
The book is comprehensive, covering the major topics one would expect to find in a U.S. government textbook. One issue that does not receive a lot of direct attention is American political culture, including the values that underlie our... read more
The book is comprehensive, covering the major topics one would expect to find in a U.S. government textbook. One issue that does not receive a lot of direct attention is American political culture, including the values that underlie our democratic system, but this can be supplied complementary readings. The book does include a chapter on state and local government, which is often not covered in U.S. government textbooks. The index is comprehensive, and it helpfully allows the reader to link directly back to the text.
The details and interpretations of major issues provided by the text are accurate and helpful. In the course of using this textbook, I have discovered no significant errors. I have also discovered no instances in which the presentation seems unduly slanted or biased.
All government textbooks have a tendency to show their age quickly, but this text may be more resilient than most. With a publication date of 2019, this text contains updates references both the presidential elections of 2016 and the midterm elections of 2018. The second edition of the text provides more than 100 substantial updates from the last two years. However, the text provides a strong historical perspective on the issues that it addresses, so much of the texts discussion will continue to be relevant and applicable even with the passage of time. Because of the text’s design, I believe that it will be a manageable task to keep it up to date.
The text is written in a clear and accessible way. The text is not overladen with jargon, and when specialized terms are used, there is an effort to provide definitions for terms. These definitions are located at the end of the chapter, which is not entirely user-friendly but understandable given the format of the text.
The is consistent in its use of terminology, and the frameworks that it provides are generally helpful and clear. I have not noticed any internal tensions or inconsistencies within the text.
I believe that modularity is one of the strengths of this text. The order in which I present material in the course varies from the order in which chapters are presented in the text, but I have experienced few difficulties in subdividing chapters and assigning them in the order needed to support teaching. Each chapter is clearly divided into main sections with learning objectives, and there the text is further divided under clearly delineated sub-section heads.
The topics in the text are presented in a clear and logical fashion. The organization of the text is fairly traditional, with the decision to include the topic of bureaucracy under the “Outputs of Government” as one less conventional approach. The internal structure of individuals chapters is clear and logical. The “Links to Learning” and “Insider Perspective” features in the text help to enrich the material without breaking the overall flow of discussion.
The textbook interface is free from any major interface issues or navigation problems. One nice feature of the text is the ability directly to citations through the texts footnotes. However, it would be helpful if there were a way to transition back to the main body of the text from the note in question. It would also be helpful if the text came with bookmarks to the main chapters and subsections.
The text appears to be free from grammatical errors.
I have detected nothing in the text that could be considered culturally insensitive or offensive. It’s inclusive treatment of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds is especially evident in the text’s treatment of civil rights, but it is evident in other sections of the text as well.
I have used this text successfully in the classroom, and students generally respond positively to it. In some cases, students are somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of information presented in the text, but I have found that guiding their attention to certain key sections can help to avoid this obstacle. In general, I am impressed by the amount of thought and research that has gone in to preparing this edition.
Krutz textbook is set up exactly the same as the three different United States Government textbooks I have used in nine years of teaching at the community college level. It is a well planned and logical progression of chapters and topics. read more
Krutz textbook is set up exactly the same as the three different United States Government textbooks I have used in nine years of teaching at the community college level. It is a well planned and logical progression of chapters and topics.
Current and updated; the textbook has a wealth of information ad applicable activities.
Great examples, engaging stories, and clever interactive readings; the textbook would be relevant to most community college students today.
Well written with solid organization, the chapters flow nicely together. Solid end of chapter educational aids are provided.
One of the strengths of the Krutz text; each chapter format patterns the same learning styles and methods.
Each unit has three to four sub units that can easily be assigned in different readings This is the type of written activities I use in the classroom, specifically teacher driven selected chapter readings. It is impossible to cover all the material in a quarter college course, this format allows selective teacher emphasized learning outcomes.
Introduction, Consitution, Federalism, Civil Rights and Liberties, Parties and Ideology, Opinion and Media, Congress, President, Courts, state and local, and International Affairs. Logical and standard fare.
Excellent charts and interactive materiel. Engaging for an open textbook.
Nice level of reading; grammatically correct.
Offers many examples and insights to a wide variety of political views and cultures.
Might be using this text in the spring of 2020
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Policy
About the Book
American Government 3e aligns with the topics and objectives of many government courses. Faculty involved in the project have endeavored to make government workings, issues, debates, and impacts meaningful and memorable to students while maintaining the conceptual coverage and rigor inherent in the subject. With this objective in mind, the content of this textbook has been developed and arranged to provide a logical progression from the fundamental principles of institutional design at the founding, to avenues of political participation, to thorough coverage of the political structures that constitute American government. The book builds upon what students have already learned and emphasizes connections between topics as well as between theory and applications. The goal of each section is to enable students not just to recognize concepts, but to work with them in ways that will be useful in later courses, future careers, and as engaged citizens.
In order to help students understand the ways that government, society, and individuals interconnect, the revision includes more examples and details regarding the lived experiences of diverse groups and communities within the United States. The authors and reviewers sought to strike a balance between confronting the negative and harmful elements of American government, history, and current events, while demonstrating progress in overcoming them. In doing so, the approach seeks to provide instructors with ample opportunities to open discussions, extend and update concepts, and drive deeper engagement.
About the Contributors
Glen Krutz, Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. Krutz joined the Department of Political Science in 2002. Before joining OU, he served on the faculty of Arizona State University and helped run two large-scale National Science Foundation projects as a doctoral student at Texas A&M University.
Sylvie Waskiewicz, PhD, is an editor, researcher and writer who specialties include textbook publishing and e-learning instructional design, including copyediting and proofreading with meticulous review of text, layout, and media from first pages to printer proofs as well as QC of web content (HTML/XML).