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British Politics For Dummies [Kindle Edition]

Julian Knight
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £10.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

So - you want to be knowledgeable about British politics but don't know where to start. The rich history, complex statistics and tricky political jargon are getting in your way, not to mention the media hype (is politics only about duck houses and moats?). But don't worry! British Politics For Dummies is your essential guide to understanding even the trickiest questions surrounding politics in the UK, so you'll be discussing the ins and out of leaders, parties, ideologies, constitutions, laws, cabinets and summits past and present in no time - and with maximum confidence. Coming up to the potential end of Labour's historic three terms in power, there's never been a better time to get to grips with politics.

British Politics For Dummies includes:

Part 1: The Basics of Politics
Chapter 1: Taking in the Political Universe
Chapter 2: Understanding Why Politics and Politicians are Important
Chapter 3: Looking at Democracy & Participation
Chapter 4: Examining Different Political Ideologies
Chapter 5: Forming of the British Political State

Part 2: Elections and Britain's Parties
Chapter 6: Electoral & voting systems
Chapter 7: Voting Behaviour & Trends
Chapter 8: Honing in on Political Parties
Chapter 9: Pressure Groups
Chapter 10: Politics & the Media

Part 3: The Ins & Outs of Parliament
Chapter 11: Britain's Constitution
Chapter 12: Examining Britain's Parliamentary Democracy
Chapter 13: Gazing at the Summit: the PM and Cabinet
Chapter 14: Ministers & Civil Servants
Chapter 15: The Courts & The Judiciary
Chapter 16: Laying Bear Devolution & Local Government
Chapter 17: Joining the Lawmakers: Becoming a Politician

Part 4: Politics Worldwide
Chapter 18: Understanding Britain's Place in the World
Chapter 19: Taking in the International Stage
Chapter 20: Expanding Your Horizons: Europe
Chapter 21: Leading the Free World: US Politics

Part 5: Parts of Ten
Chapter 22: Ten Significant Prime Ministers
Chapter 23: Ten Major Political Scandals
Chapter 24: Ten Events Which Formed the Modern Political World
Chapter 25: Ten Political Trends for the Future

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Product Description


′Written withclarity and brevity, it tells you all you need to know aboutvoting You know it makes sense ′ (The Independenton Sunday, March 2010).

From the Back Cover

Get to grips with all aspects of British politics and discussbig political issues with confidence

Whether you′re a complete beginner or apolitician–in–the–making, this eye–opening guide has something foreveryone. Packed with expert information on the origins, historyand structure of the UK parliamentary system, this book offers afascinating insight into the rollercoaster world of politics.Explaining everything from key political ideologies and the spreadof democracy to what you can do to get involved, this is yourmust–have companion to British politics, both at home and on theinternational stage.

  • Back to basics explore definitions of authority anddemocracy as well as how the British political state was formed

  • Get voting learn about the different UK parties, votingbehaviour and the role of the media in election campaigns

  • Parliament calling focus on the Houses of Parliament,the Cabinet and the courts and discover what makes a goodpolitician

  • Going global get the lowdown on the UK′s foreign policy,compare UK and US political systems and investigate the EU, UN andNATO

  • Movers and shakers identify influential leaders and theevents and scandals that have rocked modern politics

"An immensely welcome addition to the For Dummies series. Thisbook succeeds admirably in capturing the whole of the question,′what is politics?′"
Rt Hon John Bercow, MP and Speaker of the House ofCommons

Open the book and find:

  • The purpose of politics and why it is important

  • Guidance on the strengths and weaknesses of democracy

  • Advice on your political rights as a UK citizen

  • The lowdown on pressure groups and lobbyists

  • How Britain′s constitution evolved

  • The ins and outs of criminal and civil law

  • Information on devolution and quangos

  • Obama–mania and its impact on British politics

Learn to:

  • Democracy′s rich history and why your vote matters

  • Electoral systems, the election process and what the differentparties stand for

  • The ins and outs of parliament and the UK government

  • Britain′s place on the global political stage

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 975 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (22 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AU7DSE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A timely title 12 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My first "For Dummies" book was about the DOS computer operating system nearly twenty years ago - and I found it really helpful! Since those days the range of subjects covered has increased to over 1,700 and they provide a good understanding of their subjects - and they are certainly not just for Dummies; a reference for the rest of us, is the Dummies byline.

Journalist Julian Knight provides an interesting and timely background to British Politics in his Dummies book which may prove useful in the run up to this years General Election. I was pleased to be offered this book to review as my eighteen year old is always bemoaning the fact he was not taught anything about politics at school and is looking forward to casting his first vote in May. He has found this book to be invaluable in providing a good level of background information about the whole subject, and for helping him to ask the right questions regarding his family members' political persuasions!

Amazon have provided a really good Product Description of this book which outlines in great detail how the subject is covered and should give you a good idea of the books appeal to you - or not! British Politics for Dummies is a book of politics now, and although it may still be of some interest after the General Election when all the "excitement" has died down, it is best read beforehand when a lot of its content is more relevant.

Quite a difficult book to give a star rating as its appeal will decline a bit with the passage of time. If you can read it before May 6th then you will get the maximum benefit and I would say five stars; as the election fades into history so will some of this books content so then I could only give three stars. For now I will compromise and give British Politics four stars.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to Politics 23 July 2012
By S
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn't buy this book to supplement any period of formal study, but instead to give myself a brief, basic introduction to British Politics. We are bombarded and surrounded by politics and political jargon every day and I think that a little knowledge to cut through the politicalese would be of huge help to everyone.

This book provides just that, highlighting the bare bones of British Politics without dumbing the whole thing down too much. The author doesn't go into long, confusing paragraphs full of the nitty-gritty of Politics, instead opting to gloss over things in sufficient detail to understand the politicalese used in the daily papers. Knight includes essentially all the important aspects of politics in the UK, such as the structure of the political parties, how the Houses of Parliament work, who's who, and a brief political history of the UK.

Overall, I would recommend this to people who are either completely ignorant of politics, or those who only know a little. I think it might be a little basic for those who know "more than the average person" about politics, but even experienced politicos might learn something, since this book contains chapters on the EU, the UN and the politics of the United States as well.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
*Update* I think I may have been a little harsh in my review below. I was a bit peeved at the beginning of the book when the term 'General election' was transposed with 'Parlimentary election' which I think could be confusing. Also some sentances were too long. The connection between a constituency and its 'seat' in parliament, and the fact it may or may not be a 'cabinet' seat should be really easy to explain but I didn't feel it was. This was a fundamental point which should have been cleared up at the beginning of the book.

However, the broad topics covered are presented well overall. Just this evening Mr Portillo was talking about Athenian politics on the telly; I would never have known what he was harping on about if I hadn't read this book.

So I've awarded it another star.


This book covers a lot; as well as British politics it also compares our systems with those around the world and explains the EU, NATO, and UN including the Security Council.

But I didn't find it as explicit as it should have been. The 'Speed of light trip' around the basics of politics in chapter one didn't deliver what it promised and I found it too rambling, not to the point and not basic enough for the average pleb to take in. Some more charts or diagrams would have helped.

I still had to refer to Wikipedia to clarify some points as well as resorting to that other resource... asking my Dad! This was mainly down to ambiguous language used in the text.

I would say that the book could have covered even more within its 400-odd pages if it cut down on the waffle and unfunny (in my opinion) humour.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By and for us, most of the time 14 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A passable overview of the subject, though as others have mentioned it is very basic but that's the nature of the Dummies series: bite-size chunks of generalisations

I think this would be useful for foreign students who want a basic start in Democracy UK and with an eighteen page index most subjects are covered.

I did find it lacking in one area: taxation and finance. Perhaps the author didn't want to get involved in a subject that is very changeable from one administration to the next but I think it's an important issue because so much of what any party says and does has some financial implications. No one wants to be perceived as the taxation party so a whole range of revenue strategies are created to give the impression that taxes will always be lower, so vote for us. The index had no PFI, Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer and taxes only get two references each.

I know it's a minor point but I find the Dummies presentation very old fashioned looking. Having created the layout style years ago the publishers seem reluctant to update it. The main heading type (probably called Dummies Bold Italic Script) really looks like something from the Fifties. The one wide column per page, margin icons and the ticks to indicate important bits of copy all need a thorough makeover. The covers are really stuck in a well-worn rut.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent, well written book.
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful
Factually solid and a useful resource. I've read other For Dummies titles and am used to the jokey format but this author seemed to take it to extremes, which was quite irritating.
Published 4 months ago by Emma Brown
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good Kindle book
Like most of the "for Dummies" books the British Politics book offers a detailed introduction. However, I've been left extremely frustrated by too many blank pages that seemingly... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ramnod
5.0 out of 5 stars Product As Described
Product As Described
Published 5 months ago by Intouch Solutions
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very useful overview for beginners - with plenty of material to interest the more knowledgeable followers of politics.
Published 7 months ago by GB Leeds
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you for such quality in every dept.
Published 7 months ago by IAN JC.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A brilliant insight to British politics
Published 7 months ago by Natasha Sheridan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read
Published 9 months ago by Hayley
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for my studies
As described, perfect for my studies. Thank-you
Published 9 months ago by Faye_Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars My son has enjoyed reading it and it has tought me a few ...
Delivered very quick. My son has enjoyed reading it and it has tought me a few things.
Published 9 months ago by Catherine Susan Davies
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