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Political Ideologies: A Reader and Guide Paperback – 10 Feb 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Edition edition (10 Feb. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199248370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199248377
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 2.8 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'This is by far the best available anthology on political ideologies. It should be required reading for all courses on the topic' (Professor Michael Freeden, University of Oxford)

'This is simply the best single reader on political ideologies. The texts are judiciously chosen, they cover all the relevant issues, and allow students to examine not just the historical origins of different ideologies, but their contemporary transformations as well' (Professor Pratap Mehta, Harvard University)

'The combination of lucid commentary and carefully selected extracts from primary sources makes this book an indispensable resource for students studying political ideologies' (Dr Steve Buckler, University of Birmingham)

About the Author

Matthew Festenstein is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. His research is in political theory and late nineteenth and early twentieth century political thought.

Michael Kenny is a Professor in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals New Political Economy and Contemporary Political Theory.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By DVDTNC on 17 Dec. 2014
Calling Ayn Rand a "conservative" shows that the person who wrote this book is out of touch with reality.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
Perfect 19 Jun. 2013
By lia coito - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
if you are looking for a brief over view of political philosophy. it gives a good taste of different visions and is a good platform for increased study.
An adequate reader, though not without its shortcomings 6 May 2013
By Gregory J. Casteel - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This reader would make a decent companion to Andrew Heywood's excellent textbook, "Political Ideologies: An Introduction", 5th edition (2012), which I have also reviewed here on amazon. The contents of the two volumes don't match up perfectly; but they are pretty close -- close enough, at least, that they would work fairly well together. So, if you are preparing to teach a course on ideology, and planning on using Heywood's textbook (which you really should be using, by the way, since it is the best ideology textbook I've ever come across), then you might want to consider supplementing it with this reader, unless you can find a better one. This reader is far from perfect; but it does do a pretty decent job of providing a nice sampling of important political writings that are relevant to the major ideological traditions you'll be covering in your course, as well as a pretty good selection of writings about ideology itself, and about the question of whether ideology is still relevant in this day and age. Unless you are willing to take the time and put up with the hassle of compiling your own customized packet of selected readings, this is probably your best option.

But, like I said, this reader is far from perfect. For one thing, one of the readings -- "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" [Reading 21] -- contains serious typographical errors: several lines in the text are mistakenly repeated. In most cases, this is little more than a minor annoyance; but at one point it actually results in the accidental insertion of a sentence into the text that was never meant to be there -- the rather illiberal assertion that: "Technical and professional education shall be compulsory." (This unfortunate wording was the result of the mangling of a passage in the Declaration that was supposed to read: "Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available....") A number of other minor typographical errors can be found scattered throughout the text of this reader; but none quite so egregious as this one.

Setting aside typographical errors that can be blamed on inadequate proofreading, in my opinion, the main shortcoming of this text is in its selection of readings. While most of the works excerpted in this volume definitely belong in any collection of readings about ideology, a few are of questionable merit. For example, the excerpt that Festenstein and Kenny chose to use from Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" [Reading 72] is a rather prosaic passage about the toxicity of certain pesticides. Why use that particular passage and not a passage where Carson makes a more general argument for why we need to do a better job protecting the environment? Similarly, with a number of other readings, I had to scratch my head and wonder why the editors had chosen to excerpt this particular passage rather than a different passage from the same book, or from a different book by the same author, or perhaps even by a different author. And even in those cases where it was obvious why a particular passage was included, I often wondered why the editors chose to excerpt only that passage, and not also include some other, equally valuable passage from the same author. Perhaps my chief complaint about this reader is that it appeared to me that the editors had chosen quantity over quality -- they packed this book full of relatively short excerpts from lots of different authors, whereas I suspect that this reader would have been better had they included fewer, longer readings from only the most influential authors in each ideological tradition. But that's just a personal preference on my part. Your mileage may vary.

The bottom line for me is that this is a pretty decent reader on ideology, fairly well suited to be used as a companion volume for an ideology textbook such as Heywood's "Political Ideologies: An Introduction"; but it has a number of shortcomings that preclude me from giving it a wholehearted recommendation. If you are teaching an ideology course, and you have the time and patience to create your own readings packet, that is probably your best option. But if that isn't an option for you, you could do a whole lot worse than use this reader.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Two Stars 12 Nov. 2014
By Garang Yel Deng - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
it was a good book.
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