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Political Ideologies 5e Ind ed by Heywood (2012-07-30)

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  • By Gregory J. Casteel on August 25, 2012

    I've been looking for a really good textbook on political ideologies for a long time now. I'm a political scientist; and, although I haven't yet had the opportunity to teach a course specifically on ideology, I do lecture on the topic of ideologies when I teach comparative politics courses; and the topic of ideology often comes up in several of my other courses. Whenever I touch on a topic in class, especially if I'm not able to cover it in detail, I like to be able to recommend books to my students in case they want to learn more about the subject. (Believe it or not, some students really do want to learn more than what they're required to know for the test -- it's shocking, I know; but it's true.) So, I've been trying to find a textbook I could use if I ever had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course on ideology, that I could also use for reference when preparing lectures about ideologies, and that I could recommend to students who want to learn more about the subject. I also wanted to find one that was reasonably priced -- the single biggest complaint I hear from students is that textbooks are too expensive; and I have to agree with them on that point. Finding a suitable ideology textbook has not been easy. None that I came across before I found this one met all of my requirements. (I was particularly disappointed with Leon P. Baradat's textbook, "Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact," 5th edition, which I have also reviewed for Amazon.) But this textbook by Andrew Heywood not only meets all of my requirements and expectations, it surpasses them. Is it a perfect book? No. (I'll explain why in a moment.) But it is considerably better than any other ideology textbook I've had an opportunity to examine thus far. I'm very pleased with it, in spite of its flaws, and would definitely recommend it to any political science professor who is looking for a textbook for use in an ideology course. I would also recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about political ideologies. It is certainly the textbook I've been looking for.Following an introductory chapter that discusses ideology in general terms, there are ten chapters covering the world's major ideologies (presented in roughly chronological order, from oldest to newest): Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism, Anarchism, Nationalism, Fascism, Feminism, Ecologism, Religious Fundamentalism, and Multiculturalism. These are then followed by a concluding chapter that discusses whether ideology is still relevant today. Within each of the ten chapters covering specific ideologies, there is a brief (one page) preview of the ideology, a section on its origin and development, a discussion of the core themes of that ideology, a discussion of the major divisions within the ideology itself (e.g. between classical liberalism and modern liberalism) and of hybrid ideological forms (e.g. socialist feminism or conservative nationalism), and a final section discussing how the ideology has responded to the challenges of globalization. Scattered throughout the text are "boxes" that discuss (a) key figures within each ideology (e.g. for Liberalism: John Locke, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Jefferson, Jeremy Bentham, James Madison, John Stuart Mill, T.H. Green, and John Rawls), (b) key concepts central to each ideology (e.g. for Conservatism: pragmatism, authoritarianism, paternalism, Toryism, and libertarianism), (c) contrasting perspectives on various issues (e.g. freedom, democracy, human nature, equality, the state, gender, religion, culture, etc.) that highlight the many ways in which different ideologies view the world differently, and (d) cleavages within each ideology (e.g. the differences between "Equality feminism" and "Difference feminism" or between "Shallow ecology" and "Deep ecology"). There are also "boxed" definitions of key terms throughout the text, as well as a number of figures that are meant to illustrate some of the ideas discussed in the text. The definitions are quite helpful, though a bit oversimplified at times. Most of the figures are also helpful; though a few of them seem like little more than pointless filler that doesn't add any real value to the text. The layout of the book is visually appealing; and the text is well written and easy to read. Students with little or no background in political science or the history of ideas should be able to follow the text without encountering any serious problems. But don't jump to the false conclusion that, because this text is easy to understand, it must be "dumbed down" in some way. While it may eschew the obscure and intellectually challenging language favored by political philosophers in favor of a more plainspoken style, it still manages to cover pretty much everything that an introductory textbook on ideology could reasonably be expected to cover. If you want to add a bit more depth to the discussion of ideology, you might consider supplementing this textbook with a reader such as Festenstein and Kenny, "Political Ideologies: A Reader and Guide" (2005), which could almost be seen as a companion volume to this textbook. (I'm pretty sure it was not designed specifically to be a companion to this text, since it comes from a different publisher; but, in terms of content, it's hard to imagine a better match between a textbook and a reader.) But even if you choose to use this textbook by itself, without a reader, it should prove satisfactory for an undergraduate-level course. Other ideology textbooks I've examined -- most notably the one by Baradat -- are far inferior to this one in terms of the quality and depth of their contents. (In my opinion, if you want to learn about political ideologies, Wikipedia is a better source than Baradat's textbook.) But if you really want to learn about ideologies, Heywood's textbook is a great place to begin.But even this text has its flaws. The content is excellent; the writing style is great; even the layout is wonderful. But the typos ... oh, God, the typos! I don't think I've ever seen a textbook with this many typos before. Don't textbook publishers employ proofreaders anymore? (I'll gladly take the job if it pays reasonably well and I can do it from home, BTW. I can't think of a job I would find more appealing or would be better suited for: reading textbooks all day and correcting other people's grammar and spelling. Sign me up!) Fortunately, most of the typos in this book are of the harmless variety -- using the wrong form of a word (e.g. singular instead of plural, present tense instead of past tense, finite verb form instead of participle), omitting a definite or indefinite article, or mistyping or omitting a letter (e.g. "irrekevent" for "irrelevant", "is" for "it", "he" for "the") -- and are little more than annoying distractions in an otherwise excellent text. But some of these typos are so obvious that there's simply no excuse for them, such as when multiple cross-references on the same page read: "see p. 000" (apparently a place-holder for the correct page number, which should have been added before the book went to print). This sort of thing reflects very poorly on the editorial standards at Palgrave Macmillan, the publisher of this textbook. These typos were irksome, to be sure; but we shouldn't exaggerate their importance. What really matters when evaluating a textbook is the quality of its contents. And the contents of this textbook are of such high quality that I am willing to overlook the many, many (far too many) typos, and recommend this textbook over its competitors.I should also point out -- this is not a criticism, mind you, just something that you might want to be aware of -- that this textbook was published in the UK, and thus is written in British English rather than American English; so it uses British spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation throughout. Some American students might not be all that familiar with the differences between British and American English; but I seriously doubt they'll have too much difficulty understanding the text. Some of the spellings might look a bit odd to them (e.g. "labour" instead of "labor"), and they might encounter a handful of unfamiliar words (e.g. "cooker" instead of "stove"); but this shouldn't cause American students too much of a problem, so long as they have college-level reading skills. Professors might want to let their students know what to expect before they start reading, and advise them to be sure to look up any words they don't understand; but I don't see any reason why this textbook shouldn't be used in American colleges and universities.My bottom line: This is an excellent introductory textbook on political ideologies; and I highly recommend it. I plan to use it if I ever teach a course on the subject. I also plan to use it as a reference source the next time I need to prepare a lecture on ideology. And I will be recommending it to any of my students who want to learn more about ideology.

  • By s.f. on April 21, 2012

    for an introduction to political ideologies this book is well done and the price is even better. there is a newer version but i would recommend this version for price reasons only, the next edition does include more ideologies towards the end of the book but not terribly important especially for an introduction. there are some criticisms that nationalism and anarchism are not ideologies but they are included and in my opinion are certainly ideologies. the best part of this book is, certainly not the writing, but certain issues are compared by all ideologies, like perspectives on democracy,religion, environment. the book starts with a brief introduction chapter and then proceeds to cover the old ideologies first; liberalism, conservatism, socialism, nationalism, anarchism, fascism is covered and then post material ideologies feminism, ecologism, religious fundamentalism etc. the book is straight forward and easy to understand but many people, probally younger people, will find the read incredibly boring. if you need this book for a class i would recommend this edition instead of the new one, if you want to learn ideologies and are not really interested in personality in writing buy this book for the price. if you do not read too much this book wont be too advanced to understand but just plain boring for reading pleasure but if you don't want a skewed view of ideologies this book is the way to go there is no agenda setting or propaganda in the book.

  • By Guest on March 23, 2018

    The book is wonderfully clear. I particularly like the profiles of the key thinkers under each ideology, and extensive 'further reading' lists. A great resource for teaching.

  • By Stephanie Harris on April 29, 2016

    This book is written in a very straightforward way that helps the common person, who may not have a background in politics, understand political terms and ideologies in our society. Highly recommended!!

  • By Guest on July 12, 2016

    The cover and the first few pages were almost torn, the rest of the book didn't look so bad but this is not the quality I expected for a "good" condition label. The content of the book itself is priceless of course.

  • By HOKU M. on October 12, 2012

    This book provides a detailed look at the different ideologies of politics. And politics applies to every aspect of everyones daily lives. The examples, the figures, and the structure of each chapter allow for an easy comprehension of the entire book.


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