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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $74.00
  • August 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92696-5
  • 581 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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The American Political System

Full Edition (with policy chapters)


Ken Kollman (Author, University of Michigan)


Empirical puzzles get students thinking like political scientists.

The American Political System focuses on the core insights of political science that students need to understand American government. Each chapter is organized around the real-world puzzles that draw scholars and students alike to study American politics. A clear, consistent framework based on the key role of institutions helps students think analytically about these and other puzzles.


A problem-oriented approach

American politics is filled with compelling questions, and political science can help students reach the answers. The American Political System is organized around 17 puzzles in American politics. Each chapter opens with a puzzling event or trend in American politics—the type of phenomena that inspire political scientists to delve deeper through research and analysis. Researcher videos in the instructor’s package and on the student website feature top political scientists talking about each of these puzzles and how we might go about trying to understand them.

A clear framework based on collective dilemmas and institutions

The framework of the book, developed carefully in Chapter 1, is based on collective dilemmas and how institutions are designed to solve them. After presenting a puzzle at the start of each chapter, Kollman uses the collective dilemmas/institutions framework, contemporary research findings, and illustrative cases to explore the “puzzle” and lead students to a deeper understanding of American government by the end of the chapter.

Engaging infographics help students visualize core concepts

The American Political System utilizes a contemporary analytical approach accessible to today's visually oriented students. Concept Maps in every chapter provide students with visual representations of fairly abstract concepts in political science. Corresponding Concept Map PowerPoints and Concept Map exercises on StudySpace help reinforce each important idea both in and out of the classroom.

In-text features reinforce key factual information

In addition to introducing students to important concepts and analytical tools, The American Political System also highlights the core factual information that students need in the course. "Know the Facts" boxes focus on the nuts and bolts of American government, while "Historical Path" boxes help students put events in historical context and identify long-term trends. The text also features a rich art program with tables and figures as well as carefully chosen photos to illustrate key points.

Rich, integrated student and instructor resources

A free and open StudySpace website features book-specific study and review materials, including Quiz+ chapter review questions, chapter outlines, flashcards, Concept Map exercises, and researcher videos. Thorough instructor resources accompany the text, including Concept Map PowerPoints, lecture PowerPoints, a test bank and instructor’s manual, and researcher video clips.

    Chapter 1: Introduction to the American Political System

    Chapter 2: The Constitution

    Chapter 3: Federalism

    Chapter 4: Civil Rights and Liberties

    Chapter 5: Congress

    Chapter 6: The Presidency

    Chapter 7: The Bureaucracy

    Chapter 8: The Judiciary

    Chapter 9: Public Opinion

    Chapter 10: Political Participation

    Chapter 11: Interest Groups and Social Movements

    Chapter 12: Political Parties

    Chapter 13: Elections and Campaigns

    Chapter 14: Mass Media and the Press

    Chapter 15: Economic Policy

    Chapter 16: Social Policy

    Chapter 17: Foreign Policy