Friday, October 24, 2008

What You Should Know About Politics...But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues by Jessamyn Conrad

The first and only issue-based nonpartisan guide to contemporary American politics.

It's a very exciting time in American politics. Voter turnout in primaries and caucuses across the nation have shattered old records. More than ever, in this election year people are paying attention to the issues. But in a world of sound bytes and deliberate misinformation and a political scene that is literally colored by a partisan divide—-blue vs. red—-how does the average educated American find a reliable source that’s free of political spin?

This book breaks it all down, issue by issue, explaining who stands for what, and why—-whether it’s the economy, the war in Iraq, health care, oil and renewable energy sources, or climate change. If you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in between, it’s the perfect book to brush up on a single topic or read through to get a deeper understanding of the often-mucky world of American politics.

Polls have shown that interest in the presidential campaign traditionally peaks 3–6 weeks before the elections. But this is also a book that transcends the season. It’s truly for anyone who wants to know more about the issues, which are perennial issues that will continue to affect our everyday lives.

My Review:
This handy book is laid out so that it's easy to follow. Topics are divided by chapters: Elections, The Economy, Foreign Policy, The Military, Health Care, Energy, The Environment, Civil Liberties, Culture Wars, Socioeconomic Policy, Homeland Security, Education, and Trade. Each chapter begins with a bulleted list of major points, next comes the background to current debates, and then current debates follow with a more in-depth discussion. Both sides of each issue are laid out. Time and again the reader sees "opponents" and "advocates" as each side is presented in a no-nonsense style of writing. Results of polls and majority of opinions are incorporated where applicable and overall trends are examined.

This is a useful guide to be referred to often. I recommend it.

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