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American Government: Institutions and Policies (Available Titles CourseMate) Hardcover – January 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0495802815 ISBN-10: 0495802816 Edition: 12th
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Whether it is the student who has come to believe that politics has always been about the status quo or the student who has given up because average citizens cannot produce real change (a very common bias in my experience), this book finds ways to present a more nuanced view of American politics and show them that there is more to learn about the political landscape... you then have a very good opportunity to seize their attention and get them interested."

"I have examined over 15 American Government textbooks... and I find that none of them come close to matching this textbook in terms of approach, clarity, content, pedagogy, and ancillary materials.... [Wilson and DiIulio's work in the public sector over the past years enhances their impressive academic credentials. The fact that they have worked for both Republicans and Democrats and the evenhanded manner with which they have covered the major topics in the text allays any reservations that this text doesn't give every side of an issue fair treatment.... I stand in awe of how Wilson and DiIulio are able to package so much solid information in such few pages.... This is as solid and intellectually honest a textbook as one could hope for. It should be the standard by which all others are measured. The emphasis on students using their critical thinking skills to reach conclusions on issues of the day provides a firm foundation.... I think that this is the finest American Government textbook available today. The authors combine excellent scholarship, academic rigor, practical examples, and insight that are an invaluable aid to any student trying to understand their government."

About the Author

James Q. Wilson most recently taught at Boston College and Pepperdine University. He was Professor Emeritus of Management and Public Administration at UCLA and was previously Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. He wrote more than a dozen books on the subjects of public policy, bureaucracy, and political philosophy. He was president of the American Political Science Association (APSA), and he is the only political scientist to win three of the four lifetime achievement awards presented by the APSA. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 2003. Professor Wilson passed away in March of 2012 after battling cancer. His work helped shape the field of political science in the United States. His many years of service to his American Government book remain evident on every page and will continue for many editions to come.

John J. DiIulio, Jr. is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and has won each of Penn's most prestigious teaching awards. He was previously Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He received his Ph. D. in Political Science from Harvard University. He has been a senior fellow and directed research programs at several leading think tanks including the Brookings Institution, and has won awards from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the American Political Science Association, and other bodies. He has advised presidential candidates in both parties, served on bipartisan government reform commissions, and worked as a senior staff member in the White House.

Meena Bose holds the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies at Hofstra University and directs Hofstra's Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. She received her Ph.D. (1996) from Princeton University. Dr. Bose teaches courses on the American Presidency, American Foreign Policy, and American Politics. She is the author or editor of several volumes in presidency studies and American politics. She taught for six years at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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Product Details

  • Series: Available Titles CourseMate
  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 12 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0495802816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0495802815
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Tal Chatoli on November 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read with amusement the comments that this textbook is fundamentally flawed because of the authors' biases. I have reviewed Introduction to American Government textbooks for over 35 years as I made decisions about textbook adoptions. One thing is crystal clear: every author or group of authors has their own political opinions/philosophy/biases that show up to some degree in their intro textbooks. I find Wilson and Dilulio's textbook no more or less biased than any other. In using this textbook and others over the years, I have found that bias is usually found by students when they do not agree with a comment or line of reasoning that the author uses. When I've used Wilson's text, self-described "liberals" in the class take issue with some of his remarks. When I use O'Brien, Light, Peltason, Cronin, Magleby's, "Government By The People," self-described "conservatives" take issue with some of their remarks.

As to the issue of global warming and in light of the recent emails that were hacked from Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia there is room for doubt as to how the issue has been handled by the experts. I find Wilson and Dilulio's skepticism refreshing. Students need differing viewpoints presented even in introduction textbooks. I wouldn't worry about too much indoctrination going on based on textbook selection........most students do not read enough of them to be swung one way or the other!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Cromwell on December 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Content is very easy to understand. I looked up the Advanced Placement topics on the college board website. This book does a good job of covering the topics on the AP exam guideline. I have not actually taken the exam, but I would feel very confident if I were going to.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John McAdams on April 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Wilson text is the classic American government text, vastly more intellectually serious and analytic than other texts, which seem to be just a laundry list of topics that the sales force says instructors want.

The bad reviews of the text are from people who have a particular disagreement with Wilson, and very much resent any views but their own being taught in a college classroom (leaving aside the fact that professors are free to assign other material or disagree with Wilson if they want).
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful By an eclectic - on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This textbook has generated a firestorm of controversy. Here are some direct quotations from the text.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that children cannot pray in public schools . . . " (p. 86)

"Students pray in front of a high school in Virginia. The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school." (caption beneath a photograph, p. 111)

"Since 1947 the Court has applied the wall-of-separation theory to strike down as unconstitutional every effort to have any form of prayer in public schools . . ." (p. 112)

". . . long after the Supreme Court had decided that praying and Bible reading could not take place in public schools . . ." (p. 460)

These statements are false. State-sponsored prayer is what is prohibited. It would have been a simple matter for the authors to have written that. What they chose to do instead is promote the canard that the Supreme Court is prohibiting children from praying in school. The Supreme Court has never said any such a thing.

This is all the worse because John DiIulio is the former head of George Bush's "Faith-based Initiative," and a well-known proponent of what he calls a balanced approach to religion in the public sphere. He has every right to promote his view, no less because I disagree with him. He has no right to mis-state the facts to support it, especially in a student textbook.

The text's main discussion on school prayer is found at pp. 110-113. It begins with the standard know-nothing bromide that the First Amendment does not "clearly require the 'separation of church and state.'" That may be the authors' opinion. Our Supreme Court has consistently held otherwise.

These pages amount to an indictment of our Constitutional framework.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Liberal rewriting of history. If this is your required college text you should realize you are being brainwashed with revisionist history. Many case examples used in this book are minor incidents that are propped up as if they were culture changing historical mile-stones and major events.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Selena L. on March 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
really explains everything as a textbook should do. and helps a lot on understanding political issues that are related to people
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By WilliamLeguizamon on October 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great and awesome. I really needed this book and these guys were really quick about getting shipped to me. The way they described it was spot-on. It looks used, but does not affect my learning experience. Awesome.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book arrived in good condition. More importantly, it taught me EVERYTHING I needed to know for the AP United States Government and Politics test. Suffice it to say that five stars are fitting.
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American Government: Institutions and Policies (Available Titles CourseMate)
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