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"Politics: A Very Short Introduction" by Kenneth Minogue
An easy, accessible introduction to a controversial subject, along with the governance of human rights and legalities, in humanities.
Growing up, I was never aware, or at least never took an interest, in politics. Perhaps it was my teachers' awful job at teaching it—something that couldn't be further from the truth (I won't mention names, even though I can if I wanted to). While I wandered about living my own life yet finding ways to deflect the changes in my surroundings, it's about time I understand what's going on, namely the presidential elections that took place this year.
This marks as the very first book read and reviewed here on The Seeds of Books: a very short introduction to the subject of Politics.
Author Minogue did a modest job in cleanly explaining the subject as a whole. The first couple of chapters are little anecdotes in how politics ran during the time of the Greeks and Romans. Around the middle of the book was where I actually was sort of looking for: exactly how to "think" politically and bringing concerns in working toward a just society. When I think of it, I always revert back to my old thought that the simple idea of Peace is unattainable, but that doesn't mean we can't try. Even expressing our good morals can burst veins of anger among the political world, in which author Minogue did a nice job explaining that near the ends of the chapters. Overall, there's a chunk of things going on in this world when interpreted politically because what one state finds to be "just" upsets the others. An example is the issue of abortion: legalize it and a side refers to it as "legalized murder;" Penalize it and the other side calls for tons of unwanted pregnancies. It never ends.
Parts of the book Minogue clues in to what I've always believed what politics is: endless, heated arguments over topical issues with no right answers. Personally speaking, I have no time for arguing over something I can sleep on. Last time I said this to a coworker, he asked if I was concerned about my future. My response? I worry about myself and what goals I need to achieve for myself.
If anything, having said that, I'm most concerned with our fate as humans, our rights, economics, our avoidance of any corruption (yeah, I know), where the line(s) drawn in terms of freedom and international relations. This book, however, was a decent start and got me a little bit more curious.
As for the book itself, I like Minogue's writing. Only thing was I felt, at times, it was too "artistic" linguistically as I wanted to get straight to the point in learning about the subject immediately. That explains why the reading got much better and more fun around the middle to the end of the book. Minogue has quite a way with words, but it isn't necessary when introducing a subject, especially for the layperson.
Other than all that, I find it to be an okay start. Check it out for yourself!
- Simple introduction to a subject many are concerned about today.
- Written without any side-leaning propaganda.
- General explanations about human rights, money distribution, role of government, etc.
- The content is a bit muddled.
|Title||Politics: A Very Short Introduction|
|Description||In this provocative but balanced essay, Kenneth Minogue discusses the development of politics from the ancient world to the twentieth century. He prompts us to the consider why political systems evolve, how politics offers both power and order in our society, whether democracy is always a good thing, and future politics man have in the twenty-first century.|
|ISBN||9 780192 853882 // 978-0-19-285388-2|
|Book Dimensions||Width: 4.88″ (5 7/8″)|
|Height: 6.88″ (6 7/8″)|
|Depth: 0.56″ (9/16″)|
|Contents||Why Despots Don't Belong in Politics, The Classical Greeks: How to be a Citizen, The Romans: The Real Meaning of Patriotism, Christianity and the Rise of the Individual, Constructing the Modern State, How to Analyse a Modern Society, Relations between States: How to Balance Power, The Experience of Politics: I. How to be an Activist, The Experience of Politics: II. Parties and Doctrines, The Experience of Politics: III. Justice Freedom and Democracy, Studying Politics Scientifically, Ideology Challenges Politics, Can Politics Survive the Twenty-first Century?, Further Reading, Index|
|Cover Painting||Philip Atkins|
|Published||1995 (reissued in 2000)|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Copyright||© Kenneth Minogue 1995|
|Printed in||Great Britain|
|Book Format||Paperback, Kindle, eBook|
|Quoted Reviews||"a dazzling but unpretentious display of great scholarship and humane reflection" —Neil O'Sullivan, University of Hull|
"Professor Minogue's slim volume is an admirably light and sensible guide to political practitioners and students who want to learn more about the theoretical and historical context of today's controversies." —Philip Goodhart
Kenneth Minogue's book fills a real need, and is the best work of its kind since the publication of Bernard Crick's In Defence of Politics....It is meritorious in two significant ways. First, it casts a wide net....Second, it addresses its subject matter with sophistication...the book is beautifully written." —William Maley, Policy
"Kenneth Minogue is a very lively stylist who does not distort difficult ideas." —Maurice Cranston
"Minogue is an admirable choice for showing us the nuts and bolts of the subject." —Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
"This is a fascinating book which sketches, in a very short space, one view of the nature of politics...the reader is challenged, provoked and stimulated by Minogue's trenchant views." —Ian Davies, Talking Politics
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