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What You Should Know about Politics... But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues
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What You Should Know about Politics... But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Its a very exciting time in American politics. Voter turnout in primaries and caucuses across the nation has shattered old records. More than ever, in this election year people are paying attention to the issues. But in a world of sound bites and deliberate misinformation and a political scene that is literally colored by a partisan divide--blue vs. red--how does the avera ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published August 6th 2008 by Arcade Publishing
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(showing 1-30 of 590)
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Josh Liller
Oct 26, 2008 Josh Liller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
Claims to be a non-partison guide to modern political issues (as of 2008) and delivers. It discusses major issues and where the different parties & groups usually stand and why without trying to say who is right or wrong.
Mary Ronan Drew
Dec 18, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was ok
This book purports to be an unbiased look at politics and to describe what each side says about various issues. It is not nonpartisan. It is biased to the left. And it doesn't even do a very good job of explaining why those on the left believe what they do. A great disappointment.
May 19, 2009 Mel rated it it was ok
I didn't finish this book. The author aims for the pretense of neutrality, and instead presents a point of view so steeped in privilege see seems oblivious to it. The treatment of the material is far too superficial to be considered anything more than an introduction to the topics. Unfortunately some caution would be required even there because some of her explanations are error-ridden. For example, her discussion of gerrymandering gets the math wrong and therefore fails to show how someone who ...more
Segantang Helmi
Oct 03, 2015 Segantang Helmi rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Peck
Jun 01, 2014 Steve Peck rated it did not like it
One should be vary wary of any book or person who purports to provide a no partisan review of politics. In the great tradition of Sal Alinski - lying about your position is just all right. Don't waste your time if you hope for real non partisan analysis. I had great hopes for it but wish I never bought it.
Jan 14, 2009 Susie rated it really liked it
This is a must read. Very readable, explains all aspects of the Federal government in lay language. Written bey the daughter of a former governor of N Dakota (D) and niece of a senator form N Dakota (R)! Balanced, non-partisan.
Oct 10, 2008 Marcel rated it it was amazing
A rare book store purchase for me! What attracted me was the stated objective to provide a neutral study of all areas of current political affairs. This is a primer. The author has attempted to provide a background in all areas of American politics and to do so in a non-partisan way. Her effort has been largely successful, though one senses an overall liberal bias in places (or was it just me?).

I five-starred this book because it is quite well written and easy to understand. The author uses sim
Don S.
May 04, 2016 Don S. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone. Literally.
Everyone should read this book, then register to vote!

Written in what I would say was a very neutral, non-partisan way, it covers most of the hot-button issues revolving around politics today. It is a bit outdated, so here's hoping the author does an update to bring it fully though to this election cycle.
Feb 15, 2010 di rated it liked it
I had to put this back on the shelves since it was due back at the library, but I will check it out again when I have more time. Over all I think this is an excellent book. How I wish I had a book like this when I turned 18 & was looking at my first election!! Instead, it has taken me many years, & many different kinds of books to figure out where I am politically. I wouldn't exactly call this a "nonpartisan guide," but rather a "bipartisan guide." Conrad gives equal coverage to republic ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Courtney rated it really liked it
This book is textbook-like--bolded keywords, a list of key points at the beginning of each chapter, etc.--but is much more engaging. All of the major political issues are discussed, each with its own chapter. The author doesn't go too deeply into the topics, but it is a great overview. The book claims to be a non-partisan guide, and Conrad did a pretty good job at living up to that label, though her wording at times gives you a pretty good idea of her personal views. I think every American shoul ...more
Marty Greenwell
Oct 27, 2012 Marty Greenwell rated it it was amazing
WOW!! To finally have a book that cuts through the hype. I wanted to see what the real differences between the democrats and republicans were. I am a staunch liberal but find I am on the side of many issues championed by the right. On the other hand I see te right agreeing with some of my positions. And that we change. This book gives the history and the why to current policy. It isn't pushing one agenda, being very nonpartisan. I wanted to cheer for the author to hit my side but she didn't. Thi ...more
Sep 03, 2009 Fox rated it really liked it
super informative & objective..learned a lot & plan 2 re-read it in the future..a great guide in2 american politics..the foreign policy chapter is great, in my opinion..wisely constructed, with an informative background 2 each topic as well as current debates & more.
a must read...was never in2 politics but mainly cuz i didn't mind being ignorant...good 2 b informed, always. less of an ignorant now but still a-political. this book is definitely thought-provoking...might nnot b 2 excit
Jul 20, 2013 David rated it really liked it
Delivers what it promises - a brief introduction to a broad range of politically relevant topics delivered in clear, simple and straightforward terms; generally non-partisan and mostly unbiased. If you had no framework through which to understand politics/current events this is a solid jumping off point. I read a few reviews that spoke to the lack of depth - the book is 13 big topics in 373 pages, which is roughly 28 pages/topic - by definition not an in-depth study. Like I said, it delivers wha ...more
Laura Marinkovich
I just discovered I hate politics. This is my personal bias. The book did a great job of explaining certain issues. Maybe I'll come back to it sometime when I myself am a less biased individual.
Dec 07, 2012 Theresa rated it really liked it
This is a really good basic, nitty-gritty primer for anyone just starting to get interested in politics. it explains the terms and positions of most of what comes up in the poltical dialoge these days. I really appreciate that the book is non-partisan as well. Some books say they are but you can clearly tell which way the author is leaning. that wasn't the case here. I'm going to keep this book on my shelf and reference it every 4 years before a big election.
Nov 22, 2008 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pretty thorough and even-handed summation of major political topics of the day. If you've paid attention to the news and current events, consider yourself fairly well-informed regarding politics, and remember your high school civics lessons, it's mostly a review. But that's not the readership she's targeting.

For more book reviews, visit my blog, Build Enough Bookshelves.
Dec 29, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
It was a challenge to get through, but I'm so glad I did. It's great to get info on the issues that isn't biased. I'm sure it's hard to explain issues without offending someone on the right or left but I felt like both sides were usually explained to me. And I feel much better voting in the upcoming election with a bit of background info on a lot of issues that were once just blahblahblah.
Jan 14, 2009 Nell rated it it was amazing
One of the better books I have ever read. She writes about the major topics of American politics and explains the background of issues, current debates on issues, and provides arguments from both sides. A MUST read for every American - I feel extremely informed now and find myself understanding much more of the news than ever before.
Rachel Black
Aug 13, 2012 Rachel Black rated it really liked it

This book truly seemed nonpartisan to me (I'm not sure what an evangelical Christian would think) and it provided a succinct and thoughtful description of every issue that is coming up in this election. It was a great, fast way to get informed!
Dec 05, 2012 Katrien rated it liked it
The author does a good job of explaining the background, hot-button issues, and current controversies in a number of topics. I used this as background reading while teaching about the election this year and found it helpful for both me and my students.
Jan 07, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
The book is now slightly dated, published before Barack Obama was elected President, but the material remains relevant for anyone who wants to dig a little deeper into some of the main policy issues in the United States.
Feb 11, 2010 Melanie added it
Shelves: pushed-aside
This book is going in my "pushed aside" category, meaning I haven't given up on it, and I'd actually like to finish it, but something shinier came along and shoved it out of the rotation.
Jan 22, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
Would make a good reference book. Truly nonpartisian and not pushing a political agenda. I did learn some good stuff, although as a political junkie from the NW, I knew a bit.
Mar 31, 2010 Richelle rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It really is non-partisan. Good book to understand the in and outs of our current system. Every american voter should be well educated.
Jan 22, 2009 Irene rated it it was amazing
Great (and first?) primer for contemporary politics for the layperson. No fuss. . . no bias, no bull!
Jun 17, 2009 Terrinole rated it it was amazing
Basic info...good refresher (with LOTS of history facts thrown in). Perfect for a Poli Sci/INR major!
Oct 20, 2008 Lauren is currently reading it
A great historical and cultural background to the debate issues of today. A must read.
May 19, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
author really attempts to clarify all sorts of political issues - quite a lot to take in
Jan 20, 2013 Darryl rated it really liked it
Really good reference on a lot of issues. Takes a look at the arguments on all sides.
Sep 19, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing
well written, well thought out, and all around useful and wonderful! Everyone must read!
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