The Fresh Politics Reader: Making Current Events and Public Affairs Relevant to Young Americans Paperback – Feb 25 2015
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From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–This book comes across more as a simple manifesto of the authors libertarian views than as a look at the important issues facing our country. Topics are divided into two sections related to personal liberty and public policy and include the preservation of life, guns, drugs, marriage and sexuality, education, and the news media in the former, with the environment, energy policy, taxation, health care, foreign policy, social security, and affirmative action in the latter. Buley typically recaps current practice and the views from the left and the right, both of which he categorizes as statism and contrasts them with his own libertarian viewpoint. Accordingly, his opinions sometimes agree with conservative, and sometimes with liberal, positions and are often critical of both, advocating a minimum of governmental intervention. A major flaw is the books utter lack of documentation. The author cites facts and statistics without giving any indication of their origin or reliability. His own advice, take it from a college student, is a poor standard of scholarship to set an example for this audience. Although he claims his book isnt 280 pages of soapboxing, the lack of documentation gives it exactly that effect.–Jeffrey A. French, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
These are words that I use to describe Mr. Buley's writing style and message. This book aims to uncover complex and sometimes conflicting political messages and problems, and it succeeds in this mission.
If you're a student with any interest in politics -- or want to learn more about it -- buy this book. You owe it to yourself to have some of the largest political problems of our age put into simple and exciting terms.
Liberty is valuable. It should remain that way.
What's worse is that the author finds ways to present positions that I personally agree with in terms that I could not agree with. For example, on the death penalty section, p. 12, he is explaining that the potential for mistakes and the irreversible nature of death can lead to innocent people dying at the hands of the state - an argument that I find very compelling. But instead of stating this in neutral terms, he loads it up with his very biased view of the world: "The state is an inexact, unsubtle entity. It makes mistakes. Such is the nature of a bloated bureaucracy and imperfect legal proceedings." If he had simply pointed out that such is the nature of BEING HUMAN - we all make mistakes, whether we are bureaucrats or doctors or entrepreneurs - instead of getting in a dig at a government that he apparently hates, we'd be in complete agreement. These examples are peppered throughout, and in ways that make the author seem either oblivious to his own biases, or if he is aware, then he must have set out to indoctrinate rather than help people inform themselves. It would have been fine for the author to state what his own beliefs are - but it's less than honest to frame the discussion in biased ways.
The best thing I can say about it is that the organization of the book would have provided a great framework in which to look at the many issues of the day, had the author been able to fairly present arguments for all sides.
Additionally, there are so many spelling and grammatical errors that I took off another star just for that. Don't people believe in editors any more? Or how about putting your book away for three days and coming back to it with fresh eyes so that you can catch your own mistakes even if your publisher can't afford to edit you.
Ultimately, I was very disappointed, and will continue looking for the type of book that will be useful to our group.
Mr. Buley doesn't waste space on the insignificant quibbles that turn many off from politics, but instead covers the substance of each topic he addresses. He never fails to address how an issue rose to prominence, why it deserves consideration, and most importantly, why the reader should care. While he writes from a libertarian perspective, he by no means forces the reader to adopt his views. He explains why he holds the beliefs he does, but provides the reader plenty of information to form his or her own opinion. The writing itself is clear, intelligent, and very easy to follow.
Anyone unsure of what to make of the current political melee, just starting to develop their views, or simply trying to gain a little more insight into the issues absolutely must read this book.