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The American Anomaly: U.S. Politics and Government in Comparative Perspective
by:Raymond A. Smith
Students educated in the United States often come away from their classes with the belief that the American political system is the "best" such system in the world. They are often left with the idea that the very concept of democracy itself somehow demands that political institutions and processes be arranged as they are in the United States. Other...
Students educated in the United States often come away from their classes with the belief that the American political system is the "best" such system in the world. They are often left with the idea that the very concept of democracy itself somehow demands that political institutions and processes be arranged as they are in the United States. Other democratic political systems are frequently regarded as deviations from this ideal model, or perhaps ignored altogether. Yet as students enter into the workforce, it becomes all the more important for them to understand that it is the American political system which, in many ways, is the exception and not the rule. These American anomalies have major implications for representation, governance, and public policymaking in the United States. Existing books in American politics and comparative politics, however, rarely emphasize this important dimension in sufficient depth for students to truly understand American politics in comparative perspective. The American Anomaly systematically analyzes and explains the U.S. political system by way of comparison with other countries, especially other industrialized democracies. It is organized intothree distinct sections, respectively covering the constitutional order, governmental institutions, and political participation. Extended case studies in each chapter draw on all the major regions of the world, includingWestern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. Further examples are drawn from dozens of political systems and every chapter is specifically structured to include some discussion of politics in both Canada and Great Britain. Each chapter additionally includes a number of special features, such as: boxed-text sidebars with case studies drawn from other political systems; suggestions for further reading; a list of relevant websites, including those of other governments. The companion website at http://www.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415957465/ offers useful tools such as Synopsis Slides, Questions for Discussion, Exploration Exercises,Links, andFurther Reading.
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