- Paperback: 132 pages
- Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1st edition edition (7 Sept. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192853090
- ISBN-13: 978-0192853097
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.8 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,988,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Politics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 7 Sep 1995
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This is a fascinating book which sketches, in a very short space, one view of the nature of politics the reader is challenged, provoked and stimulated by Minogue's trenchant views. (Ian Davies, Talking Politics)
a dazzling but unpretentious display of great scholarship and humane reflection. (Neil O'Sullivan, University of Hull)
Professor Minogue's slim volume is an admirably light and sensible guide to political practitioners and students who want to learn more about the theoretical and historical context of today's controversies. (Sir Philip Goodhart)
Kenneth Minogue is a very lively stylist who does not distort difficult ideas. (Maurice Cranston)
Minogue is an admirable choice for showing us the nuts and bolts of the subject. (Nicholas Lezard, Guardian) --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
About the Author
About the Author: Kenneth Minogue is Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and author of a number of books, including Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author then turns to the practice of politics: how it is experienced, the difference between the State and society, the role of the individual, culture, and the economy. He investigates international relations and examines what we mean by "the national interest". He looks at the experience of engaging in politics - and the type of person it takes to be a politician. As you would expect, parties and doctrines are covered, including the conservative-liberal divide, and where socialism fits into that picture. Concepts like justice, freedom and democracy are also considered.
Finally, Minogue moves on from the practice to the science of politics, and the attempt to understand politics as a process or mechanism. The last chapter is a glance into the future: at growing internationalism, at the widening definition of politics, and how almost everything is now deemed 'political'. There have been hints at the author's political leanings throughout earlier chapters, but it is here that they really come to the fore.
History forms a dominant part of this book, as you might expect. The first third is a solid history of politics, but be warned: the author assumes familiarity with significant figures like Machiavelli and Marx, and takes it from there.Read more ›
However, I think that first year university students, who have little or no knowledge of politics might find the content of this book a bit tricky and confusingly complicated. It thus seems appropriate to rename it from "A Very Short Introduction" to "A Very Short Review".
The best aspect of the book is that Minogue understands that politics means different things at different moments and so he takes readers through Ancient Greece, Rome, and the formation of modern states. These summaries are understandably brief but they give a decent overview of the notion of politics held in the past. Where the book completely falls down is in its presentation of the present. For all of Minogue's warnings about people assuming that today's values are natural and eternal, his presentation of contemporary politics unthinkingly and uncritically endorses the current liberal-democratic, capitalist mainstream and dismisses any attempt to change prevailing arrangements as inherently dangerous. He presents the current order as entirely natural, uncritically endorsing individualism (without considering its historical contingency and negative effects), along with dubious concepts like the "national interest" and "public good".Read more ›
As a soon-to-be A-level student I found the following to be white noise, and it is reflective of the rest of the book.
"The modern body politic thus turns out to be not one but a number of bodies. If we add mind, as constructive of psychology, then in state, society, economy, and culture we have the conceptual ground-plan of the social sciences. Each occasion, as a concept, sustains a vast substructure of theory and classification. But our concern is rather with the fact that these self-conscious occasions set the scene for the dramas of modern political conflict. They provide a grid from which many powerful theories of politics can be constructed."
If you find that to be a coherent paragraph then I wonder why you are looking for a brief introduction.
Irrespective, this is in essence a 111 pages of Mr. Minogue's favourite history topics: Ancient Greece, Rome and the influence of Christianity on the west.
The title is deceiving, do not buy this product lest you are enthralled by Kenneth Minogue's historical insights.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely thin- very little relevance to todays British politics. Not worth £5. Would not recommend.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is truly a very short introduction but very independent for those who are new or in the field.
It's a relatively small book for easy commute.
While he gives an overview of a lot of different aspects of politics both concerning history and the actual underlying procedures, thoughts and processes, the author does a very... Read morePublished on 5 Jun. 2014 by Zero
This introductory text is quite Eurocentric and biased in some ways, for instance its dismissal of all non-European political traditions as "despotism". Read morePublished on 23 Aug. 2013 by Enigma
I'm a Politics student and found this book extremely interesting and really good for my studies.
As far as academic texts go it was quite easy to read, however some... Read more
I have read five different 'a very short introduction...' books; unfortunately, I rank this book last. Read morePublished on 6 Feb. 2012 by PJS
If you want an introduction, dont buy this book. It is concise but the terminology is far more complicated than it should be considering the word 'introduction' is in the title.Published on 5 April 2011 by Al Dude