- Series: Almanac of American Politics
- Paperback: 1726 pages
- Publisher: National Journal Group (September 14, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0892341203
- ISBN-13: 978-0892341207
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 2.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Almanac of American Politics 2010
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"The Bible of American politics." - George Will "It's simply the oxygen of the political world. We have the most dog-eared copy in town." - Judy Woodruff, The NewsHour "Real political junkies get two Almanacs: one for home and one for the office." - Chuck Todd, NBC "The single best reference there is for Congress and Washington specifically and the country generally." - Jim Lehrer, The NewsHour "Michael Barone is to politics what statistician-writer Bill James is to baseball, a mix of historian, social observer, and numbers cruncher who illuminates his subject with perspective and a touch of irreverence." - Chicago Tribune "Indispensable.... This compendium of statistics and information has gone as far as humanly possible." - Washington Post"
About the Author
Michael Barone is a senior writer at U.S. News and World Report and a Fox News Channel contributor. His most recent book is Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America’s Founding Fathers.
Richard E. Cohen has decades of experience covering Capitol Hill as National Journal’s congressional correspondent. The author of a biography of former Representative Dan Rostenkowski, in 1990 he won the prestigious Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress.
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Top Customer Reviews
So what earns this book a 5/5? Well, it puts all sorts of information in one place. Racial demographics of congressional districts, bios of legislators, and financial information are all available in this book, and easily found since Barone organizes all information by state. An index is provided if you're unsure of what CD a particular Congressman might be in.
Purchasing this book also gives you access to the Almanac's website, which gives you electronic versions of the last few editions of the almanac as well as the current one. What would be nice is if National Journal offered this online access at a lower price in lieu of purchasing the book... but overall, it's a must have for anyone that follows politics.
For those unfamilar with the Almanac, the book is released every two years and it is basically an encyclopedia of all national politics. Broken up mainly by state, it gives detailed sketches of all of the governors, U.S. senators, and U.S. representatives, including how they've done in their previous elections, their backgrounds, how they've voted on certain key votes, and how liberal or conservative the congressional districts are. The Almanac also provides breakdown of the states themselves: how they've voted in previous presidential elections, how the voter registration numbers look, and other information. I've noticed that this year the authors have added some very interesting sections on which states will be awarded additional seats by the next census, and which ones will lose seats. This information will be obviously be pretty key after 2010. Finally, this volume gives some good coverage of the impending 2008 presidential race.
The price tag is probably the biggest negative, but it is still well worth it. Plus, while the book will cost upwards of $75 if you go to a bookstore, you can get it on Amazon for under fifty bucks. A good deal, if you ask me. The Almanac is a great book for a political junkie to read over-and-over-and-over again, and it is also a superb resource tool for people interested in just learning about the government and our elected officials. It's always a fun read, even if many of the Member profiles are recycled volume-to-volume.
Does the book have any faults? Yes. Data on backgrounds of legislators sometimes contained errors. In at least a couple of cases the authors supplied conflicting information in different segments of biographical data. Moreover, the definition of military service can be perplexing, omitting interpretation of reserve service (active or inactive?) and in one case including even ROTC service in college. (I mention military service here only because it does constitute one of the variables used in the authors' analysis of voting and demographic characteristics.) But problems are minor. The charge of Republican political bias has no validity. Michael Barone is a conservative but he and his co-author, Richard E. Cohen, longtime correspondent for the highly respected, nonpartisan National Journal, have scrupulously avoided unfair selection of information or unfair judgments. They provided a vast array of verifiable empirical data, and in their narrative an individual's political party affiliation played no part in the selection of examples of praiseworthy or embarrassing behavior.
It has become a cliché to describe a book as indispensable--no human would have time to read all books so designated--but for anyone interested in understanding American politics as observer, student, or participant, this book comes closest to deserving the label.