Printer Friendly

Making public policy: a hopeful view of American government.

Making Public Policy: A Hopeful View of American Government.

Steven Kelman. Basic Books,$16.95. Steven Kelman, is a professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is probably best known for his artful evisceration in The Public Interest of the hyped "findings' of massive waste reported by the Grace Commission. He has now written a full-blown text on the public policy process that takes on with special vigor the "public choice' theorists who have articulated a cynical and negative view. Ever since James Buchanan won the Nobel Prize for economics, public choice has enjoyed a special and largely uncritical cachet. Kelman mercilessly and effectively punctures that balloon. While he is perhaps a little too harsh on David Mayhew and Morris Fiorina, two political scientists whose work is more subtle and sophisticated than he allows, Kelman's critique is basically on point.

The book is really aimed at thecollege market. It is a very good addition to the range of texts on the public policy process, for students and also for faculty who work in the areas of process, politics, and/or implementation. While Kelman's writing is clear, and his examples appropriate, his sophisticated analysis makes his book somewhat less accessible to a lay audience. There is a lot of detail that will be of less interest to the non-professional political scientist or student, and some disputes and theses that will not resound for those who are not immersed in the sometimes arcane controversies. Even so, any reader of Making Public Policy will come away more knowledgeable, and more hopeful, about the American policy process.
COPYRIGHT 1987 Washington Monthly Company
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Ornstein, Norman J.
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1987
Previous Article:Mission to Tehran.
Next Article:The NRA is right; but we still need to ban handguns.

Related Articles
PE will get kids moving again.
IRAN - May 21 - Tehran Charges Iranian-American Academic With Conspiracy.
The Public Policy Conference: MS activists will follow the money trail.
Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue.
Learning futures: public libraries for the new generations.
Johnson, Valerie Life after Fenwick: the rise, fall and future of library services for children in Australia.
Homegrown energy: as America copes with climate change, many see hope in biofuels.
Women aren't "small men": women's health issues are different than men's and need to be addressed specifically.
Autumn issue: Bravo.
Putting community in forests: a look back at the evolution of American Forests' policy niche and toward recommendations for expanding the role of...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters