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This Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to these issues and more, providing an insider's view of how the system actually works while shining a light on some of its flaws. As we enter what is sure to be yet another highly contested election year, it is more important than ever that Americans take the time to learn the system that puts so many in power.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Posted January 29, 2011
Despite all the high-level media coverage that politics gets in the US, the way that American political system works is rather obscure even for someone who has been following politics for many years. There are several key aspects of this system that make it very different from other highly developed democracies around the world. The most notorious one of these aspects, the electoral system, prevents direct election of the American president, and makes only a handful of states competitive in the presidential race. Furthermore, what makes the political system particularly complicated is the fact that each one of the fifty states has its own political and electoral idiosyncrasies.
This book is a very useful first step for anyone who is serious about learning more about American politics. It covers all the main features of the system, without getting bogged down in technical details. It provides a concise and accessible overview, from both historical and contemporary points of view. The inclusion of several recent political contests makes the material relevant and approachable. It is an easy and enjoyable read and will be appreciated by anyone who is interested in the subject, whether you have been following American politics for decades or are completely new to it. I highly recommend it.