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A Novel Approach to Politics: Introducing Political Science through Books, Movies, and Popular Culture Paperback – December 15, 2009

17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0872899995 ISBN-10: 0872899993 Edition: 2nd

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The slightly irreverent, humorous approach of the authors went over well with my students; I appreciated the sophisticated yet accessible treatment of the philosophical roots and theoretic structure of the study of politics. It worked very well with my approach to introducing political science; using the book with films and current events facilitated dynamic and far-ranging discussion. --- Seán P. Duffy, Quinnipiac University

In all of my class lectures, I frequently mention films, books, and TV shows that illustrate a point of political interest. When Van Belle and Mash first released their delightful text, I found a book to use whose kindred spirit matched my approach. It is fun, funny, informative, and most importantly, it serves up politics to a generation of students who have been socialized by the entertainment media. --- Jim Radford, Radford University

As an instructor who struggles to animate students about the importance politics in their daily lives, this text accomplishes the almost impossible--it makes students smile and even laugh about politics. The framing of political theory in such a way that challenges students to think and to internalize ideas is a major accomplishment. As a supplementary reader it enriches and brings ideas to life while providing much needed substance to class discussions. - --Richard S. Gutierrez, University of Texas, El Paso

In all of my class lectures, I frequently mention films, books, and TV shows that illustrate a point of political interest. When Van Belle and Mash first released their delightful text, I found a book to use whose kindred spirit matched my approach. It is fun, funny, informative, and most importantly, it serves up politics to a generation of students who have been socialized by the entertainment media. --- Jim Radford, Radford University

As an instructor who struggles to animate students about the importance politics in their daily lives, this text accomplishes the almost impossible--it makes students smile and even laugh about politics. The framing of political theory in such a way that challenges students to think and to internalize ideas is a major accomplishment. As a supplementary reader it enriches and brings ideas to life while providing much needed substance to class discussions. --- Richard S. Gutierrez, University of Texas, El Paso

About the Author

Sent to Earth shortly before Krypton exploded, Doug VanBelle was raised by gorillas in Africa and then bitten by a radioactive spider while on a high school field trip. None of that helped much at all. He misspent his youth-and a bit more-trying to find a violent competitive sport that did not cause him serious harm, but the four times he broke his nose suggest that he is slow to learn. Somewhere in there, there was a bunch of degrees and some other learnin' stuff. He was awarded a full scholarship in Chemical Engineering, dropped out after the first year, went through seven other majors, failed a creative writing elective, took a semester off to work in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry and somehow still managed to graduate on time. He is now a political science professor who writes science fiction and teaches in the media studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the former president of both the Foreign Policy Analysis and International Communication research sections of the International Studies Association, the Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy Analysis, and he has written extensively on theories of political decision making and the role of news media in international relations.

Spurred on by the blatant discrimination inherent in the statement ""Trix are for Kids,"" at age 4 Ken Mash attempted to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rabbit and other animals similarly situated. After three errors in one inning squashed his dreams of playing for the Mets, his overactive justice complex led him to pursue a career as a lawyer and politician. While earning his B.A. in political science he discovered what those jobs were really like. Thus, Ken's next degree was in mixology. Eighteen months later, his fiancée informed him that she was leaving town to do graduate work and that she would go either with him or without him. A couple of degrees later, he is currently a political science professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of the honors program and the pre-law advisor. He has delivered numerous papers and talks on American politics, constitutional law, and civil liberties, and he is very active in the faculty association. He currently resides in Nanticoke, PA, with his wife and four children where he is now content in knowing that his parents were mistaken when, as a child, they told him that he was wasting his time watching T.V. and movies.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 401 pages
  • Publisher: CQ Press; 2nd edition (December 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872899993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872899995
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. on April 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've used this book for several introductory courses to Comparative Government and I will use it again and again. Aside from the fact that the students loved it (as a student put it: "It's the first time I actually read the footnotes in a book."), they also learned a lot. Don't be fooled: the book is funny and light-hearted, but it gets a lot of information across, but because of the tone of the book, students retain more information from it. I wish they had a chapter dedicated specifically to political parties, tough, and I do hope they will come up with a new edition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Alexander Davis on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
You'll know what I mean when you read it. The author(s) sprinkle(s) in random compliments to colbert, actually compliment is understating it, but im too lazy to crack out a thesaurus right now. Now I love colbert as much as the next guy, just not this guy. The book will literally end chapters with "COLBERT IS AWESOME" or "COLBERT IS A GOD" from out of nowhere. Its just stupid. Also, the book is really, really . . . . . . REALLY cheesy. They try so hard to be funny, its really farking distracting. I guess its better than having to read an intro poli sci textbook written by a crusty old judge, but imo this is taking it too far.
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Format: Kindle Edition
yeah yeah I know that it's a text book but that didn't stop the authors from writing in the tone a college kids cool older brother.
And, a more logic based reason turning this text into "Story time with government, politics, and a whole bunch imaginary characters that are actually SUPPOSED to be over the top caricatures of the real people they call their own :)" is that some of us legitimately learn, understand, and retain what we're taught much better when we listen to the content rather than read it. If you guys did it you would probably be one of the few textbooks that have done it... there you go being a trailblazer--again. I don't know how you manage it!
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By Sara Binde on June 21, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this cheaper version over the newest version. It seems to be similar to (or the same as) the newest version when my university political science class required the book. The text seemed to be the same so I was able to get by with a significantly cheaper book for the semester.
The authors make the material in the book much more interesting to read compared to traditional textbooks. They have a good sense of humor and make the concepts easy to understand.
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By Loni Riley on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Well It wouldn't be a book I would read for pleasure but I ordered for a class I am taking at school. I was very happy with the prompt response and how quickly the book arrived at my doorstep. It was awsome!! Thank you Amazon, plus you saved me a whole lot of money rather than if I would have bought it from the bookstore. Hurray!!!
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I bought this book a few years back for my political science class and it's probably one of the best text books I've ever had. I didn't doze off even once reading it for class. The authors are funny and informative and the book is easy to read.
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Highly recommend this book as a textbook any day! The authors have fun with the subject in an edgy - attention KEEPING way. Politics are way more interesting after reading through this book.
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By Collette Villarreal on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humorous approch to politics...loved the footnotes. Colbert is a god! Definately a great read peppered in with a humor and many stories realated to movie clips making it easy to understand.
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