36 Following


Currently reading

Saints in Art
Thomas Michael Hartmann, Stefano Zuffi, Rosa Giorgi
The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe
Selected Poems
Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Cynthia Griffin Wolff
Lies My Teacher Told Me : Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
James W. Loewen
Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell

Painless American Government (Barron's Painless)

Painless American Government (Barron's Painless) - Jeffrey Strausser Wheeeeeee!

Okay, no. But this book is exactly what it claims to be: a succinct, readable, straightforward guide to the basics of American government.

My experience has been that the Barron’s “painless” guides live up to their reassuring descriptive. If you’re feeling a little rusty on the subject, or teaching someone who’s altogether new to it, I’d recommend this primer. (If it looks like I took eighty years to read it, that’s because I kept sending my son off to write reports every few pages, and we were reading it together.)

My only quibble is that if you write a book that makes reference to “our current president,” or to the political mood of the country, you’re committing to updating your book pretty frequently. This volume is ten years old. That doesn’t hurt the material covering the three branches of government or their various checks and balances. It does mean a little eye-bulging when your teen reads statements referring to George W. Bush still being in office, or people not really caring much about party affiliations any more.

And now that I’ve brushed up on the basics with this guide, I’m off to read “Americapedia: Taking The Dumb Out of Freedom” (“One Book, Under 300 Pages – with Knowledge and Nonsense for All”). “Painless” is politically neutral, as it should be. “Americapedia” has been described as the Daily Show in book form for teenagers. Here’s hoping.