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KLIATTAGERANGE: Ages 15 to adult.
The Opposing Viewpoints series does a great job presenting diverse opinions on current topics in order to promote critical thinking skills. Student debaters and paper writers will benefit from the helpful way in which the selections are organized and introduced. The Presidential Election Process, for instance, presents a total of 22 brief articles excerpted from recent books, journals, and online sources, written by journalists, political science professors, and policy makers, and arranged in four chapters--Does the Nomination Process Produce the Best Candidates?; Should Campaign Spending Be Limited?; Do the Media Unfairly Influence Presidential Campaigns?; and Should the Electoral College Be Abolished or Reformed? Within each chapter each article’s stance is made clear by its title: e.g., “The Media Often Distort Candidates’ Positions,” or “Media Coverage of Candidates is Objective.” The book’s introduction provides an overview of the issues, while chapter prefaces explain what each debate is about. Brief paragraphs preface each article, summarizing the author’s argument and posing questions to consider while reading it. A few political cartoons and sidebars (e.g., a list of “Top 15 PACs in 2004 Election”) dot the text. End materials include a list of supplementary articles, questions for further discussion, and an annotated list of organizations to contact. The other volumes follow a similar format, and all are sure to provoke valuable discussions and debates in and out of classrooms. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)