Which ‘Politics for Dummies’ books are best?
Politics move at a blistering pace today thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle. With so much information — and misinformation — out there, it can be difficult to confidently weigh in on the pressing issues of our time. But a solid understanding of the basic principles behind local and global politics can go a long way toward getting involved and making an impact in your community.
The “For Dummies” book series is known for breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand explanations. With “Politics For Dummies,” 3rd Edition, you’ll soon feel qualified to take a stand on the debates raging in your social circles.
What to know before you buy a ‘Politics for Dummies’ book
What are ‘For Dummies’ books?
“For Dummies” books are a series of reference books on a wide variety of topics popularized in the 1990s. These iconic yellow-covered instructional texts are great at identifying the key components of a subject and explaining the relationships among them. The writing is straightforward, not academic. Each book is organized into parts and further divided into chapters, so the information is easy to follow and dip into piecemeal.
Why is learning about politics important?
While social media and the news are constant resources for politics, neither tell the whole story. It’s easy to get caught up in the opinionated aspects of politics while losing sight of the basic mechanisms that inform these hot-button issues. Learning about politics can help shine a light on why certain issues become so contentious. That knowledge can also help you wade through the spin that politicians and media outlets put on these issues. It’s important that you decide for yourself where you stand and how you want to respond as a citizen with rights and powers.
Are there more in-depth ‘For Dummies’ books?
If you feel that a “Politics For Dummies” book might be too basic or generalized, the series also has books on detailed political topics. Turn to these to take a deeper dive into an aspect of politics that grabs you. For instance, “For Dummies” has books about the U.S. Constitution, American Politics and Congress. Additionally, the back of each “For Dummies” book has a chapter that points readers toward further resources to continue learning. Soon you’ll be showing off entire bookshelves of your expertise.
What to look for in a quality ‘Politics for Dummies’ book
Politics is a catchall term to describe how we as a society govern and are governed. Day-to-day, this occurs on a number of levels. You will want a “For Dummies” book that helps parse the differences among local, national and global politics while factoring in the social, cultural and economic forces that influence them.
This is the most accessible form of politics that affects your daily life. Institutions such as your city or town council, district school board, nonprofits and advocacy groups all function as local political bodies. If you want to make sure your child is attending a good school or your neighborhood doesn’t succumb to predatory zoning and development, you’ll need to understand how local politics work.
National politics seem so distant compared to the everyday happenings of our communities. But what happens on the national stage affects our local politics, too. Understanding the basics of federal and state government can clarify the nebulous talk of presidents and members of Congress. This will help you organize locally and vote more effectively. Some things you’ll gain insight into: taxes, the legislative process, civil rights and the separation of powers.
You may not think it, but in our globalized society, a lot of what happens on the national stage is informed by major trends around the world. Bigger issues such as national security, climate change, trade, supply chains and immigration all come down to how countries interact.
For example, the question, “Why are so many jobs shipped overseas?” cannot be answered with a knowledge of national politics alone. You’ll need a more nuanced appreciation for the global economy. Likewise, if you want to better understand why elected officials bring certain bills to the floor of Congress, or why major protest movements crop up about issues that don’t seem to affect you, you’ll need a broader view of the global political situation.
How much you can expect to spend on a ‘Politics for Dummies’ book
“For Dummies” books are all sold for around $20-$25.
‘Politics for Dummies’ book FAQ
Are there only American ‘Politics for Dummies’ books?
A. “For Dummies” does not limit itself to American politics. There are instructional books on Australian and British politics, for example, and more generalized surveys of regions such as the Middle East with political sections. All of these are great for anyone who wants to cultivate a basic knowledge of world politics but doesn’t know where to start when dipping into another culture.
Are ‘Politics for Dummies’ books biased?
A. Politics can be a minefield. Even a reference book like those written by “For Dummies” can contain inherent bias introduced by the point of view of the author and publisher. That said, “For Dummies” sells itself as an introductory, unbiased educational resource.
Readers should always approach a purportedly factual book with a dose of healthy skepticism. It’s best to read other sources alongside them. But when it comes to “Politics for Dummies,” the basic facts of a governmental organization are hard to spin, and these texts represent a trustworthy starting point for unpacking the machinery of government.
What’s the best ‘Politics for Dummies’ book to buy?
Top ‘Politics for Dummies’ book
What you need to know: The go-to resource for the curious reader, this general book on politics will help build a solid foundation for further intellectual growth.
What you’ll love: With this book, you’ll learn about American local, state and national politics from elections to lobbying. This resource equips readers with the necessary information to contact their representatives and participate in local politics. You also learn how to access various tools so you can follow key legislation and court cases every day.
What you should consider: It does not go in-depth about American political party platforms.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top ‘Politics for Dummies’ book for the money
What you need to know: Readers looking for a big picture understanding of global politics have a lot to glean from this.
What you’ll love: Building on an understanding of your own country’s politics requires a knowledge of how politics work abroad. This book will teach you about institutions, ideologies and policies found around the world. You’ll also learn about diplomacy, war and international law. It’s a great beginner’s book for eager minds hoping to learn some of the key terms and concepts in political science — whether you’re beginning a college major on the topic, or brushing up for a job interview in policy.
What you should consider: This book is a little biased in its classification and description of certain concepts and philosophies.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Civic participation is the backbone of a functioning democracy, and this book sets you up to make a mark in your community.
What you’ll love: The best way to have an impact is to get involved. This book walks you through the entire process of running for office — from identifying your core issues to fundraising to running and winning your campaign.
What you should consider: This book is great for getting you started, but needs to be read as a general introduction into a process that requires a lot of connections, capital and will power.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Karl Daum writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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