Kingdon explores how the American polity is different from that of other countries - particularly other Western democracies - examining just how this uniqueness came about. It invites both introductory and advanced students to appreciate the roots and limits of American exceptionalism, and to recognize the profound importance of current debates over the government's role in our everyday lives.
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John W. Kingdon has taught political science at the University of Michigan since 1965 and is the author of numerous books.
In this brief and accessible book, Kingdon (political science, Univ. of Michigan) tackles several basic, important questions often left unasked by the average American: What makes the American people different from people of other nations, and how and why did we become different? Essentially, the answers lie in what we believe about ourselves and our government. Kingdon argues that the basic components of "American ideology"?individualism and equality?coupled with a deep-seated mistrust of government growing out of the experience of the earliest American immigrants created the conditions from which our government, one of limited powers, was designed. Once started down the path of limited government, Americans rarely looked to government as the solution to societal problems. Hence, Kingdon suggests the center of politics in the United States, even today, is to the right of most of the industrialized nations of Europe. While Kingdon's book presents no new research on this subject, it is a refreshing and engaging review of what constitutes our political culture and its consequences for contemporary public policy.?Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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