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Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter
     

Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter

by Rick Shenkman
 

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Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from “The Simpsons,” but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid.

In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety:

Overview


Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from “The Simpsons,” but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid.

In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. American democracy is as direct as it's ever been—but voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. At once a powerful indictment of voter apathy and political indifference, Just How Stupid Are We? also provides concrete proposals for reforming our institutions—the government, the media, civic organizations, political parties—to make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Shenkman (Presidential Ambition) makes the provocative argument that as American voters have gained political power in the last 50 years, they have become increasingly ignorant of politics and world affairs-and dangerously susceptible to manipulation. The book provides a litany of depressing statistics-most Americans cannot name their representatives in Congress, only 20% hold a passport, 30% cannot identify the Holocaust-as Shenkman inquires whether Americans are capable of voting in the nation's or even their own best interests. Although Shenkman clearly derives some pleasure in pointing out the stupidity and irrationality of the American public, his concern is genuine and heartfelt. In lucid, playful prose, he illustrates how politicians have repeatedly misled voters and analyzes the dumbing down of American politics via marketing, spin machines and misinformation. Shenkman initiates an important conversation in this book and makes welcome suggestions to reinvigorate civic responsibility and provide people with the knowledge and tools necessary to efficaciously participate in the political process. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Shenkman (history, George Mason Univ.; Presidential Ambition) combines his talents as a reporter and a historian to assess why the American voter can be rational and yet so capable of "being played like a fiddle" by politicians. The vaunted "People" (a misconceived American notion, he says) fail sufficiently to understand the issues or the nuances of debate. While more Americans have college degrees, presidential speeches are now pitched to the seventh-grade level. Providing fascinating background and current observations, Shenkman is ultimately optimistic. Highly recommended for public libraries.


—Donna L. Davey, Margaret Heilbrun

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465014934
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/11/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
387,703
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author


Rick Shenkman is the editor and founder of the History News Network and Associate Professor of History at George Mason University. New York Times best-selling author of five history books, including Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History, he appears regularly as a commentator on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. Educated at Vassar and Harvard, Shenkman is an award-winning investigative reporter and the former managing editor of KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

http://howstupidblog.com

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