Customer Reviews: Introducing Public Administration
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on June 29, 2013
This text was the sole-required textbook for Political Science 489 Public Administration at Penn State Harrisburg, fall 2012. This review refers to the Kindle version which at the time of purchase could only be viewed on the Kindle Fire (and computer Kindle software programs as opposed to older Kindle devices) due to its production as an authentic replica of the textbook. There are grammatical and spelling errors in the text though they should not be a hindrance overall. There are also points where the authors seem to inject their own opinion into the text without clearly stating so and hopefully the critical reader will note these instances and evaluate them accordingly. Where I found such errors (grammatical/spelling) or such opinions that needed a counterpoint, I added a note. As long as Amazon Kindle projects continue to share such notes, you should be able to view them on your own device. Hopefully, you have an instructor who has significant experience and is willing to share that knowledge candidly to balance the material presented in the text. If you're in college working on your degree, good luck with your studies.
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on August 26, 2014
This book is very poorly written and with an obvious bias. I was surprised to see things like claiming Moses as "the beginning of modern bureaucratic structures." Apparently, "Jethro's advice of putting able people to be 'rulers...' was followed by the ancient Roman army" (whom I didn't know read the Bible for advice). I also don't understand why it needs a picture of Charlton Heston (as Moses) and a paragraph about how he supports gun rights and helped getting Bush elected.(p206-207) What about "President Richard Nixon takes time out from subverting the US Constitution..." (p179) or how every time period in the US was based on federalism until 2009 when it changed to "Stimulate the economy" with "massive federal funding" (p139). I wonder whose term started in 2009. There's also a section called "The Obama Revolution - The Return of Big Government" (p103) The section called "Writing Your Way to the Presidency: John F. Kennedy Compared to Barack H. Obama" which says things like "Now Kennedy's ghost [writer] was ghosting for Obama. How sweet!" (p19) On page 5 it asks "Has the election of President Barack Obama to the presidency changed your attitude toward public servants and public service careers?" This must be a very pressing matter of debate within the public administration sphere that I wasn't aware of.

I've also never considered Andrew Carnegie an "important philosopher" (p114), but maybe I'm just not as well-read as I should be. I also didn't understand why there was a long explanation on Ayn Rand and objectivist thought, who I thought would be largely irrelevant to public administration. Another topic the authors thought important enough to address in the text (on page 10) is "Edmund Burke Versus the Tea Party." Or we can talk about the Tea Party in other places, like page 498 about their relation to budgeting. You might not notice this unless those sections were assigned, though, because the Tea Party doesn't show up in the index even though it is mentioned multiple times throughout the book. It does provide some moral lessons from the Bible, like on page 287 where it quotes John 15:13 while discussing Socrates (because a section about Socrates isn't complete without a quote from Jesus).

Aside from that, and I could go on about the obvious political slant (because the authors provide such a selection of quotes to choose from), the book is written in a very informal format. This may be helpful to some people, but for someone who is taking this in a master's level class it doesn't quite flow with the other things we are reading (and I admit this may be the instructor's fault, not the author's). It reads like some of my old high school textbooks, which might be good for memorizing terms, but doesn't help as much for the understanding of concepts and their relation to others. It also has relatively poor analysis of certain things outside of the field of public administration. The bits on philosophers (such as Bentham from pages 538-539) seem to have an in-depth understanding on their respective philosophers (and their views). I might not know this if I didn't extensively study these authors in undergrad, and that concerns me about the other topics. I hope that the things about public administration (which I am less familiar with at this point) are not as poorly explained.

I have a feeling that some textbook authors benefit from Amazon listing the ratings for different editions of textbooks as separate books. In this case, the previous editions have low ratings and significant feedback, but with this more recently released version, it is given the appearance of being a higher quality textbook. This is my first Amazon review, but because this book is so biased, poorly written, and widely used as a required text in this field, I felt obligated to write it. I intend to inform my instructor and make it known to the department that they should reconsider this book and advise their faculty against using it.
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on December 7, 2013
From a student's perspective, this text did about as good of a job at spicing up such dry material as it could have. One thing I would note is that there are some obvious biases present, especially in the introductory material for each chapter.
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on September 9, 2013
Great book. It met all my expectations and I will take very good care of it so I may return it for another student. Thank you.
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on August 16, 2013
I plan to use this book as a reference guide through out my career. Very easy read. Writing style is unconventional.
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on October 4, 2012
For the first 2 chapters, I thought the book was interesting and relevant with current information and ideas. The third chapter is about all forms of government within the United States with one glaring omission - no mention of tribal governments or sovereign nations. The chapter discusses everything from federal government to state, city, town, school districts, special districts but there is never a mention of the over 500 sovereign nations within the U.S. borders. This is astonishing to the point that I can only think it is a purposeful and racist omission.
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on October 17, 2013
Up to date and well written. This was a required read for a college class but it was so well written that unlike many textbooks I wasn't bored. This book gave the student constructive questions that lead to in class discussions.
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on December 17, 2014
What a disappointment! This book arrived bent at the corners and in a floppy envelope that was opened. For $145 and brand new, I expected the pages to be lined with gold. or at least a text to display on a book shelf in a study. Instead, it is just a lumpy paperback.
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on May 22, 2016
Do not use this book. Biased in its format and cannot be substantiated in any other forum.
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on July 23, 2014
Hated this book but had to read it for class. Amazon service was great as always.
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