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"Populism: A Very Short Introduction" by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

This compact, introductory book packs a wallop with lots of information—yet an important topic to familiarize ourselves with.

We all know what transpired in 2016, and having worked at a retail area in tourism, majority of the customers I've encountered said it all. Then again, why did this surprise anyone? What worked well, especially in light of his supporters, Donald Trump pizzazzed the beauty of populism in modern history. This brings us the question: What does it mean to be a populist? Is that a good thing? Like politics itself, you'll get many different answers but this book should be a gentle supplement to the subject.

Populism is derived from the notion in which candidate(s) pressures the corporations and the elites. It basically is the political stance that favors the people and their [hidden] voices while challenging entities that don't listen nor support the citizens' needs. Some political candidates get this reputation due to their style in bringing out their messages and where they stand on the issues that plague the country. Having mentioned him earlier, Trump has succeeded in this having ran, won and represented the Republican party. On the left-wing spectrum, Bernie Sanders most certainly riled up the people on the Democratic side. In fact, authors Mudde and Kaltwasser were able to talk about populism that has occurred and represented in other countries, such as Peru, Austria and Ecuador to name a few.

As for other countries and their former leaders, you likely remembered Hugo Chávez and Juan Domingo Perón who went on to make lots of noise pushing their populist energies—promising the people with a voice that otherwise couldn't be heard by the higher-ups (for those who are familiar with the song "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel, he does mention Juan Perón). Granted, this isn't a political analyses going over the former leaders mentioned on this book, but you will learn the sudden, some quiet, rises to power and giving the attention to groups that the populace often would ignore. Overall, you don't only get a deep breakdown of the term itself, but you get plenty of historical examples that made populism what it is. Coming away with this, it seems like populist agendas and charismatic politicians, who very much speak close to how their citizens talk and act, is probably the closest thing to winning them over. In other words, such phenomenon is here to stay, at least here in the USA.

Only critique is certain sections get too wordy for my liking. It's nice reading a topic written by authors passionate about the subject but I feel that that passion gets in too deep. I ended up having to reread certain parts more than twice. Besides that, many people new to the subject, like myself, will come away learning the full definition of the word, the leaders whose rise in power portrayed such conjecture, and how populism plays along in a democracy both good and bad. Hard to say, since in some countries it's a blessing while in others wish it was never displayed nor integrated.

Along with some images adding to the authors' points and information, that's very much it. This small, introductory book packs a wallop. However, since I feel it does get wordy at times, you may want to reread some pages to better understand the authors' linguistic structures. Still, this is a highly recommended book!





  • LOTS of information packed into a short, inexpensive book.
  • Goes into plenty of detail, mainly about the populist movements around the world.
  • At this day and age, namely here in the USA, it may seem populist agendas may be around for a long while.
  • Certain sections are a bit wordy.
95% (A)
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Title Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction
Author(s) Timothy Gowers
Description Mathematics is a subject we are all exposed to in our daily lives, but one which many of us fear. In this eminently accessible and entertaining introduction, Timothy Gowers elucidates the most fundamental differences, which are primarily philosophical, between advanced mathematics and what we learn at school, so that one emerges with a clearer understanding of such paradoxical-sounding concepts as 'infinity', 'curved space', and 'imaginary numbers'. From basic ideas, through to philosophical queries, to common sociological questions about the mathematical community this book unravels some of the mysteries of space and numbers.
Acknowledgements "To Emily I dedicate this book, in the hope that it will give her a small idea of what it is I do all day."
ISBN 9 780192 853615 // 978-0-19-285361-5
Book Dimensions Width: 4.88″ (4 7/8″)
Height: 6.88″ (6 7/8″)
Depth: 0.31″ (5/16″)
Page Count 160
Contents Preface, List of diagrams, Models, Numbers and abstraction, Proofs, Limits and infinity, Dimension, Geometry, Estimates and approximations, Some frequently asked questions, Further Reading, Index
Cover Painting Philip Atkins
Published 2002
Publisher Oxford University Press
Copyright © Timothy Gowers 2002
Printed in Great Britain
Book Format Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Quoted Reviews "a thoroughly good idea. Snappy, small-format . . . stylish design . . . perfect to pop into your pocket for spare moments" —Lisa Jardine, The Times

"A very good idea, these Very Short Introductions, a new concept from OUP." —Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
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