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The Political Science Shelf.

We Can All Do Better

Bill Bradley

Vanguard Press

c/o Perseus Books Group

Eleven Cambridge Center

Cambridge, MA 02142

9781593157296 $24.99

Eighteen-year New Jersey Senator and former contender for the Democratic presidential nomination Bill Bradley presents We Can All Do Better, a concise call to arms against the problems plaguing modern American society - unacceptably high unemployment, an out-of control financial sector that brought on the Great Recession, increased money in politics to the level of near-bribery, etc. Two major reactions have arisen in response - the Tea Party and the Occupy movement; Bradley acknowledges the frustrations that drive both, but is critical of their lack of positive achievements or efficacy. Chapters stress the need for more "modernized vocational schools" to train people for a changing job market; sharply criticize the Supreme Court Citizens United decision to allow unlimited corporate funds to influence elections, debunk the right-wing mantra that government is always the problem, and more. "For those who argue that only the private sector is important, I'd say, 'Look around.' Without government, there's no economic prosperity. There are measures that benefit everyone: airports, airline safety, roads, bridges, schools sewers, dams, mass transit, power grids, ports, water systems, food safety, weather forecasts, law enforcement, disease monitoring, drug safety - and many more. These are public goods. Without them, the private sector would wither." Each chapter ends with Bradley challenging the reader, "Can we do better?" Accessible to readers of all backgrounds, "We Can All Do Better" is thought-provoking, recommends possible solutions, and above all, encourages Americans to champion the selfless and virtuous side of their human nature. Highly recommended.

The Politics of Policy Change

Daniel Beland & Alex Waddan

Georgetown University Press

3240 Prospect Street, NW

Washington, DC 20007

9781589018846, $29.95,

Congress has not gained a reputation for swift governance. "The Politics of Policy Change: Welfare, Medicare, and Social Security Reform in the United States" discusses the uphill struggle that is changing policy in modern American politics, and the politics that both sides use to pressure the future of America, as long time students of politics and policy Daniel Beland & Alex Waddan come to allow readers to see the obstacles on both ends to change. "The Politics of Policy Change" is well worth considering for anyone who wants to understand the modern political battlefield.

The Contradictions of Real Socialism

Michael A. Lebowitz

Monthly Review Press

146 West 29th Street, Suite 6W

New York, NY 10001

9781583672563, $15.95,

Socialism and communism quickly turned to autocracy and oligarchy. "The Contradictions of Real Socialism: The Conductor and the Conducted" analyzes the many attempts to create truly socialist governments throughout the second half of the twentieth century and the problems these countries faced, and how they departed from the writings of Karl Marx, the man credited with many of the concepts behind socialism and communism. Written by a student of Marx's work and economics in Michael A. Lebowitz, "The Contradictions of Real Socialism" does well in presenting the ideas of socialism in a balanced context.

Voting and Holiness

Nicholas P. Cafardi, editor

Paulist Press

997 MacArthur Boulevard

Mahwah, NJ 07430

9780809147670, $24.95,

When voting with one's conscience, there are many things to consider and rarely is it clear. "Voting and Holiness: Catholic Perspectives on Political Participation" explores Catholic perspectives in a divided political world as many political writers come together to discuss the electoral prospects and the weights of evils when deciding on a candidate, the immediacy of those evils, and which candidate has the potential to do the most good. "Voting and Holiness" is worth considering for devout Catholic voters who are unsure in the coming year.

Obama's America

Ian Reifowitz

Potomac Books, Inc.

22841 Quicksilver Drive

Dulles, VA 20166-2012

9781612344720, $29.95,

The election of Barack Obama was a major victory for race relations in America, pushing forth one of America's best values: cultural unity. "Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity" is a discussion of culture, social issues, and politics as Ian Reifowitz presents an optimistic view of what Barack Obama can do for America culturally, the fierce response to his rise, and what it ultimately means for America's future. An intriguing alternative perspective on the influence that Barack Obama holds on American culture, "Obama's America" is a solid addition to any cultural studies collection, highly recommended.

Obama's Globe

Bruce Herschensohn

Beaufort Books

27 West 20th Street, Suite 1102

New York, NY 10011

9780825306853, $24.95,

Foreign policy in America has changed in the Obama years. "Obama's Globe: A President's Abandonment of U.S. Allies Around the World" is a discussion of the Obama Administration foreign policy by Bruce Herschensohn, who is very critical of the President's global policies and the shifting allegiances of America due to his decisions. "Obama's Globe" is a strident and thought-provoking addition to international issues collections, recommended.

It's Even Worse Than It Looks

Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein

Basic Books

c/o Perseus Books Group

250 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York NY 10107

9780465031337, $26.00,

IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN IT LOOKS: HOW THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM COLLIDED WITH THE NEW POLITICS OF EXTREMISM examines Today's political gridlock in Washington DC and uses research and insights to consider how partisan politics and law have led to a stranglehold on political process. From adversarial political parties and a governing system that makes it difficult for majorities to act to key historical points that have contributed to this moment in history, this is a solid examination of political process and its current flaw's, and is a solid pick for any political collection.

The Little Blue Book

George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

Free Press

1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

9781476700014, $11.00,

The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic offers Democrats language to communicate their moral values clearly, discussing the underlying issues of our time from the economy to food policy and offering in-depth analysis of the ways that extreme conservative positions have permeated political discourse. It teaches the basics of how to fight back on moral grounds and provides Democrats and progressives alike with new ways of thinking about political discourse, and is a key acquisition for any political studies shelf.

The Tea Party

Ronald P. Formisano

Johns Hopkins University Press

2715 N. Charles St., Baltimore MD 21218

9781421405964, $19.95,

THE TEA PARTY: A BRIEF HISTORY provides a fine survey of the Tea Parry's politics, history, and the movement's agenda and mfluence, and is a pick for any American history and politics collection. Couched in a small book is an entire review of the Tea Party's history and basic principles, offering surveys of it leaders and their contentions and ideals. The result is a fine and easy introduction to a brand new party and its concepts, recommended for any general collection strong in American history and politics.

China and Coexistence

Liselotte Odgaard

Woodrow Wilson Center Press

c/o Johns Hopkins University Press

2715 N. Charles St., Baltimore MD 21218

9781421405636, $45.00,

CHINA AND COEXISTENCE: BEIJING'S NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY provides college-level collections with an in-depth coverage of China's program of peaceful coexistence and suggests that the nation's policy of working with the international community is a way seeking greater influence and power without military costs and involvement. Associate Professor Odgaard examines the history of the idea of peaceful coexistence in early Soviet doctrine, how it was adopted by China, and how it has influenced China's role in border disputes and involvement in international politics as a whole. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any serious collection on China's politics and place in the world.

A Capitalism for the People

Luigi Zingales

Basic Books

c/o Perseus Books Group

250 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York NY 10107

9780465029471, $26.99,

A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity outlines a blueprint for recovering the democratic process and considers connections between government, business interests, and populist anger over corruption and elitism. The author grew up in Italy where nepotism routinely rules: his is a call for action as he observes elements of his country's sad political process infecting the once-operational democracy of America. The solution, he maintains, is a rethinking of traditional political categories overall. Chapters focus on solutions to problems in this recommended pick for any political studies collection.

Fuel on the Fire

Greg Muttitt

The New Press

38 Green Street, 4th floor

New York, NY 10013

9782595588050, $28.95,

FUEL ON THE FIRE: OIL AND POLITICS IN OCCUPIED IRAQ comes from an investigative journalist who provides keys to understanding an underground conflict shaking the nation. It features hundreds of unreleased government documents, extensive interviews with senior American, British and Iraqi officials, and connections between Iraq's experience and that of surrounding nations. It's a story of oil politics at its worst, corruption, and special interests policies that dominate national interests, and it's a vivid account of the Iraqi people highly recommended for any Middle Eastern collection.

Asia's Unknown Uprisings V. 1

George Katsiaficas

PM Press

PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623

9781604864571, $28.95,

Asia's Unknown Uprisings V. 1: South Korean social Movements in the 20th Century provides a powerful compendium of Asian politics and history and uses social movements as a starting point to survey the lesser-known history of, in this case, 20th century Korea. It focuses on the Gwangji Uprising and considers Korean experiences and possible Asian and global social movements using its example, considering local conflicts and relationships to Korea as a whole. This volume was ten years in the making and offers a study that analyzes similar uprisings in nine other places in Asia from the Philippines to China and Nepal. Photos, graphs and charts make this a top pick!
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Publication:Internet Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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