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British Politics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Hardcover – 3 Feb 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (3 Feb. 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0192854593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854599
  • ASIN: B008Y0641M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,247,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
The score here is perhaps a little harsh, as this is a good book, but there is a reason for it. For those that have read the 'Short Introduction To' series of books, you will know that these books are normally quite objective, and provide a good source of information for those who wish to learn about a subject, or are students of it.
Not so with this book. It makes a good stab at being objective and informative, especially at the beginning, but as the book goes on it becomes more and more of the author's view.
The author, Tony Wright, is a Labour politician, and this comes through very much in the writing. Here is someone who knows what really goes on, but for me I didn't want to know what really goes on, I wanted a dispassionate, informative account of what British Politics theoretically is. This is too one-sided, too involved in the subject.
It is certainly not a memoir, so does have use, and the writing is light and easy. If you don't want a 'textbook' on British Politics, it might be useful for you. If you have read other books, and want a more personal look at the subject, it will definitely be a good read. But as a starter book, which most of these 'Short Introductions' are, this isn't the best.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read a number of books from the Very Short Introduction series and have been a bit disappointed - they tend to start nice and slow and then go into a level of detail beyond what is needed for a "very short introduction".

Written by a former MP, this book describes British politics and some of its nuances. It is interesting, thought provoking, easy to follow and overall an excellent book. There is some overlap with the British Constitution book, and having read them both, this one might be sufficient.

First published in 2013, this version is updated 2013 and includes a lot of reference to the Conservative/Liberal coalition government.

Overall this is the best VSI I have read so fa.r
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As the blurb says these books are designed to be readable, a way to get ahead in a new topic rapidly. The narrative gives a good overview on most subjects that are covered. The book also does a decent job at trying to attract the reader into each topic field. This is the second edition of British Politics VSI and is quite up-to-date. The narrative talks about the current position of British Politics and the coalition government that we have at this time (as of 2013).

However, there is a problem here, in a book that should remain neutral in its delivery, and as other reviewers have commented the author's politics seem to influence his writing as it progresses. So here in is the `rub', so to speak and hence my rating.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The author Tony Wright was a labour MP for many years before becoming Professor at UCL in the political field. Whereas it is easy to tell which party he represented from what he has written, he is reasonable fair to his ex-opponents and offers a couple of perspectives on most issues. He does a very good job of engaging the reader and making you think about your own political leanings. Our unique and vibrant history is engaged with to help connect the reader to key points about the way politics works in this country.

Importantly this is an updated edition of the 'Very Short Edition'.

The author engages with the truth of the party system and its impact on the way politics works in the UK, he also talks about party funding and the development of the British Constitution. Adversarial politics is discussed and examples given from history of its development. In this second edition there are references to our current rule by coalition and the relative success that this has been. There is also a lot of reference to the centre of British Politics but probably not enough to its heart?

Like all the books in this series it is a light read, but a thought provoking one, I felt I got a lot out of it and would have given it 4 1/2 stars had the system allowed me!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I would have liked books like this when I was revising for my finals at university nearly forty years ago. This one provides a useful commentary on British politics. However, the brevity of the book's coverage is both a strength and a weakness. You don't purchase a book in thie excellent OUP series expecting to read a comprehensive and revelatory discussion on politics in Britain. What these books do provide is an excellent summary. The clue is in the strap line: 'very short introductions'. So I would argue any volume in the series should be reviewed with this caveat in mind - hence my five stars. The book provides an insightful summary of British politics, and it is more than evident that Tony Wright knows his subject. So if you're not revising for an exam and want a starting point for finding out more about this subject then this slim volume provides an excellent starting point. It is well written, erudite and engaging.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tony Wright is a great choice as an authors on British Politics because he has been there and done that. He has been an MP before becoming an academic and he has been in the House of Commons during some of the most significant constitutional changes we have seen in the UK. The book takes a quite light hearted style to what being British means and what the special significance of British Politics is. The three big changes in post-war Britain have been the socialist/nationalising government of Attlee, the reactionary neo-liberal privatising government of Thatcher and the centralising and reforming government of Blair. All of them have left a mark on the British political landscape and you cannot understand British politics wthout understanding these three movements.

This is a great little read and I recommend it for anyone who wants to get an insight into the fundamentals of politics in the UK.
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