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British Politics: A Very Short Introduction 2/e (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 30 May 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (30 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199661103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199661107
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.8 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Review from previous edition a useful book (The Guardian (Review))

About the Author

Tony Wright was a Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase from 1997 to 2010. He is now Professorial Fellow in the Department of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he is working on the development of the new Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unfortunately I don't think this is an introduction to British Politics.

The author does keep coming back to the same point over and over again, which is that the legislature is impotent in the face of the administration. It's true and is an up pretentious fact bit there's more that we need to know.

I was expecting an explanation if only in outline of the British political process with some brief commentary on what works and what is ripe for reform. So I have read this book and am still none the wiser about how a bill becomes law. I don't really know in what circumstances committees are appointed. I don't know what happens when the whip is defied. I don't know what the Lords does etc.

The book assumed quite a lot of knowledge. Eg, there was very little explanation of what a whip was and how it interacted with the MPs.

I would skip this book if you're looking for an introduction to British Politics.
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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
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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By Sussman TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Sept. 2013
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? )
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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