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The fifth edition of a widely used textbook on American politics, co-authored by a St. Lawrence professor, has recently been published.

The Politics of Power: A Critical Introduction to American Government, by Ira Katznelson and Mark Kesselman, of Columbia University, and St. Lawrence University Professor of Government Alan Draper, has just been published in its fifth edition by Wadsworth Publishing.

The publishers describe the text as providing "a lively, comprehensive, critical perspective of the American political system by highlighting how political conflicts, institutions and processes are influenced by deep inequalities generated by the country's political economy. Building on the coverage of all of the major topics typical of an American Government course the critical analysis in this text is based on the theme that American democracy is limited by fundamental inequalities in power and economic resources. Respected for its critical theme, The Politics of Power also strives to be direct without being simplistic, engaging without being flippant, and critical without being cynical."

New items in this edition include:

  • A chapter examining Economic Policy, rounding out a new three-chapter sequence on policy, emphasizing the outcomes of government institutions and political behavior that is covered in earlier sections of the text.
  • Chapter 4, which previously covered social movements, and now answers key questions about how well informed the American public is about politics, what it believes and what influences public opinion. This chapter now addresses issues of public opinion and political values that reflect the focus of economic inequality and political institutions in the text.
  • The first Bush administration is covered in detail, including his economic policies, foreign policies and changes to political institutions (such as an increase in presidential powers).
  • Analysis of the 2004 Election, focusing on the strong continuities with previous elections and the emergence of the Republican Party as the majority party in the U.S.

    Draper is also the author of A Rope of Sand: The AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education, 1955-1967 (1989) and Conflict of Interests: Organized Labor and the Civil Rights Movement in the South, 1954-68 (1994). He won the University's J. Calvin Keene Award in 1996.

    Posted: April 7, 2005