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How American Politics Works

Philosophy, Pragmatism, Personality and Profit

Author(s): Richard J. Gelm

Book Description

American politics is criticized and belittled by media critics and the public, yet the system is held out as a model for the world. The paradox of this simultaneous cynicism and adulation is rooted in the conflict between the human motives that drive politics.

Crisply and clearly written with numerous historical examples, How American Politics Works explains the complex and sometimes confusing American political system in a vibrant and accessible light. Documented with recent and historical scholarship presented clearly in laymen’s terms, How American Politics Works explores the multiple dimensions of politics and the source of Americans’ disillusionment with their government through the “four Ps”: Philosophy, Pragmatism, Personality and Profit.

Philosophical and moral principles underpin the key political institutions in America, but values are challenged in the quest to achieve workable political solutions. Policy is rarely made to conform to lofty principles alone. It often results from short-term incremental compromise, driven by people in pursuit of the public good and their own personal self-interest and profit. How American Politics Works explains the inner workings of the American political system, including the power of ideas, political compromise, powerful personalities and the preeminent position of money.

While Americans’ high ideals are often illusive in the rough and tumble of political battles, and the public’s trust is bruised with every political scandal, balancing idealism and individual virtue with ambition and self-interest is the dynamic and safeguard of American politics. How American Politics Works offers a comprehensive presentation of the realities, challenges and possibilities of the American political system to bring an understanding, fascination and dedication to the wider public.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-0006-8
ISBN-10: 1-4438-0006-6
Date of Publication: 01/11/2008
Pages / Size: 225 / A5
Price: £34.99


Richard J. Gelm is Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at the University of La Verne in Southern California. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from the University of California, Davis and his B.A. in political science from the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Politics and Religious Authority: American Catholics Since the Second Vatican Council and has teaching and research interests in American Government, Political Behavior, Voting and Elections, Congress and the American Presidency. In his leisure time he pursues his passion for baseball and travel. He has travelled across all fifty American states and Europe.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-2281-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-2281-7
Date of Publication: 01/09/2010
Pages / Size: 225 / A5
Price: £19.99