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Who Rules America? Power and Politics 4th Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0767416375
ISBN-10: 0767416376
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 4 edition (June 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767416376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767416375
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

G. William Domhoff, who goes by "Bill," is a Research Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Born into an apolitical middle-American family in what he and his friends thought of as the Midwest (Ohio), he received his B.A. at Duke University, his M.A. at Kent State University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Miami. He has been teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz, since 1965.

Visit Bill's Web site at http://whorulesamerica.net/ for published articles, supplemental reading, and a 2014 YouTube video that touches on many topics from his latest research.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this book, Domhoff investigates where the power lies in America. He defines the 3 indicators of power, 'Who Benefits', 'Who Governs', and 'Who Wins' as the basis for determining who holds power. At the end of Chapter 1, Domhoff briefly summarizes the main points of the book:
"Using membership network analysis, this book attempts to show there is a corporate community (Chapter 2) that is the basis for a social upper class (Chapter 3). This intertwined corporate community and social upper class have developed a policy-planning network (Chapter 4) and an opinion-shaping network (Chapter 5) that give them the means to win a majority of seats in the electoral process (Chapter 6) and to shape the policies of interest to them within the federal government (Chapter 7)."

The arguments made here are very well researched, with quantitative analysis of how corporate leaders are linked with each other through their common elite socialization and self-interests, corporate directorship positions, foundation trustee status, policy planning groups, and government positions.
Domhoff gives the subject of power an honest and insightful treatment. After reading this book, I can't imagine a more logical and convincing description of how the unequal distribution of power in America is maintained, and further consolidated. Given its $30 price tag for less than 300 page paperback, I'd check the library before buying this one. Still, highly recommended!
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Format: Paperback
This is a tremendously well-written examination of the structure of power in America. It continues the ideas of Mills but with more of the empirical and less of the theoretical. A MUST-READ for anyone who claims to know how America is ruled. Simply stated--if this book doesn't get your blood boiling and move you to action then you have no right to complain about the present state of the American political system.
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Format: Paperback
Who Rules America Now?

G. William Domhoff is a professor of psychology and sociology at the University of California. He has written numerous books and articles on the subject of social and political power. Domhoff examined the American power structure and presents evidence that a fixed group of privileged people dominate the American economy and government. Less than one percent of the population occupies key positions in the corporate community and dominate government through special-interest lobbying, policy planning, and candidate selection.

Chapter 1 says the purpose of this book is to present evidence that the social upper class is a ruling class by its dominant rule in the economy and government. It has its basis in banks and large corporations, shapes the social and political climate, and dominates the federal government through a variety of methods and organizations. The evidence in this book challenges the conventional wisdom of American social science so this book will proceed step-by-step in providing empirical evidence on how each part of the system works (p.3). A social class is made up of families, not individuals (p.6). One way is to measure power is still "who benefits" (p.11). Another is the percentages of leadership in businesses and government (p.12). Given conflicts over issues, "who wins?" is policy decisions is an indicator.

The purpose of Chapter 2 is to show the existence of an upper class as a set of interrelated social institutions (schools, clubs, resorts, and social activities) that produce a distinctive life-style. Marriage patterns identify families and social cliques of great wealth (p.18). A separate educational system provides and outlook and life-style (p.24).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book very much and recommend it to anyone who cares about our nation enough to take the time to read it. I think it should be a required read in our high schools and universities throughout the nation. I am a college graduate with, effectively, three majors: Finance, Economics, and Accounting. I, also, have earned my CPA from the state of Ohio. This book has put most everything in perspective for me.

For years, I have been aware that our government and elected representatives under our Constitution are not the real power in our nation. They are only puppets, bought and paid for, by the real power behind the scenes, our Shadow Government. My education and experience over these many years notwithstanding, I still couldn't put my finger on exactly who was behind this shadow government and how it worked until I read this book.

The problem (or issue) of a Shadow Government governing our nation, taking power from our people has recently been exacerbated by the Supreme Court in their decision to view corporations as people (For those who would argue corporations have always been considered as people, I take exception. Corporations have, in the past, been considered legal entities–not people). No voter (most of us anyway) in our country can compete with the millions upon millions of dollars and favors paid to politicians for their representation in Congress. Domhoff's book will tell you how the whole thing works, lock, stock, and barrel. Instead of Shadow Government, he calls them the “Power Elite”. You’ll see. Go for it.

I, also, liked the author’s use of book notes and bibliographies along with, in my opinion, his apolitical presentation.
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