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Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $111.00
  • January 2013
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-91325-5
  • 8.7 × 11 in / 880 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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American Politics Today

Third Full Edition


David T. Canon (Author, University of Wisconsin, Madison), William T. Bianco (Author, Indiana University, Bloomington)


Politics is about conflict and compromise.

American Politics Today helps students understand the debates and controversies that they encounter in the news by emphasizing conflict and compromise as natural parts of politics. New book features—including highly visual “How It Works” infographics—show how the American political process resolves conflicts.


An emphasis on conflict and compromise

An emphasis on conflict and compromise offers a dynamic way to get students thinking more deeply about American politics. Three key ideas—beginning with the idea that politics is conflictual—run through the book:
• Politics is conflictual.
• Political process matters.
• Politics is everywhere.

All new Conflict and Compromise chapter openers use recent stories “ripped from the headlines” to explore how conflict and compromise have shaped nearly all aspects of American politics. “You Decide” boxes present a controversial issue and encourage students to consider the possible trade-offs involved in proposed solutions.

Shows that politics is explainable

Bianco and Canon address student cynicism by showing them how politics works: how the political process resolves (or fails to resolve) conflict, how the Founders intended for it to work, and how it works in action today. New “How It Works” infographics complement the chapter-opening stories, depicting the processes that underlie the conflicts and compromises we see in American politics. Critical-thinking questions ask students to consider the implications of the process and how it affects the outcome. 

Goal-oriented pedagogy

Chapter Objectives identify important learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter and then recur at the start of the relevant sections throughout the chapter to create a more active reading experience. End-of-chapter review sections organized around Chapter Objectives include section summaries, practice quiz questions, key terms, and critical thinking questions, as well as information about related online resources. Nuts and Bolts boxes provide students with brief summaries, in the form of bulleted lists or tables, of important basic information they will want to review. 

In-text and online features encourage analytical and critical thinking

“What Do Political Scientists Do?” boxes in the text—and accompanying videos on StudySpace, the free student website—explain in an engaging, journalistic style how political scientists identify research topics and conduct their studies, and what makes this research and analysis important to the lives of ordinary people. “In Comparison” boxes examine how American political institutions and processes differ from those in other countries, shedding light on how America’s distinctive political processes matter. “You Decide” boxes challenge students to think critically and analytically about controversial issues. Online, further critical-thinking activities build off the book’s key themes and ask students to apply what they’ve learned to outside, web-based resources. 

    Full Edition Contents:

    Chapter 1: Understanding American Politics
    Chapter 2: The Constitution and the Founding
    Chapter 3: Federalism
    Chapter 4: Civil Liberties

    Chapter 5: Public Opinion
    Chapter 6: The Media
    Chapter 7: Political Parties
    Chapter 8: Elections
    Chapter 9: Interest Groups

    Chapter 10: Congress
    Chapter 11: The Presidency
    Chapter 12: The Bureaucracy
    Chapter 13: The Courts

    Chapter 14: Civil Rights
    Chapter 15: Economic Policy
    Chapter 16: Social Policy
    Chapter 17: Foreign Policy

    The Declaration of Independence
    The Articles of Confederation
    The Constitution of the United States of America
    Amendments to the Constitution
    The Federalist Papers, Nos. 10, 51, and 78
    Presidents and Vice Presidents