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on 10 October 2008
Up front I should note that I am a layman reader in this subject matter, I have no background or education in Politics. I purchased this book as a result of a long held frustration with my inability to accurately describe my belief system. Having now read this I now feel fully kitted up to accurately and concisely describe my own ideology, and those of people around me. Furthermore, it has a level of insight which has allowed me to begin to understand the thought process / motivation of those around me who believe differently to myself. I cannot recommend the contents enough. In terms of presentation, the book is broken down by ideology, working in roughly chronological order (from the early ideologies such as Liberalism, through to the modern beliefs such as Feminism and Ecologism). Throughout the book Heywood offers simple explanations of all specialist terms used, and when discussing key political and social concepts, compares and contrasts the views held in the larger ideological groups. For a first time reader, this book offers everything you need to take that first step into the ideological side of politics.
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on 6 March 2012
I bought this book as a student of A2 politics expecting little out of the ordinary. So from an student standpoint, I can only offer the best of reviews for this book. The information within is organised in a clear and easily accessible manner. Complex philophical concepts are tackled through the use of unambigious and concise language, a multitude of engaging, real-world examples and explicit comparisons with similar or contrasting concepts. The book introduces all the concepts at the exacly the right time, always contextualising them to enrich and deepen understanding. All together, if you are studying idealogies, you will be hard pressed to find a better book.

But this book did quite a lot more than that for me in particular. To say this book was an eye opener would be an understatement. Coming from a very religious background, it formalised theological beliefs I have grown up with and placed them in the context of modern moral and philosphical debate. In explicitely decomposing the philosophical reasoning behind conservative moral and religious doctrines, and through the discussions of alternative or opposing beliefs, I became able to think outside the religious beliefs I grew up with and analyse them critically for what they are. Thus, this book is also an excellent starting point for anyone looking for a more open mind.
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on 7 January 2010
Very good book and met my expectations. The ideologies are well explained. However, the 2nd edition which I saw before buying mine (4th edition) explained some concepts better. eg. the concept of right, centre and left wings and pragmatism are better explained in 2nd edition.
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on 28 January 2013
This book was easy to understand and made politics more easy to digest and understand. Would definitely recommend this book to beginners new to politics.
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on 29 December 2012
Fantastic for anyone who is going to uni or any person wishing to self educate one's self on politics and gain a broader knowledge of the Ideologies which exist in the political scene. (no bias)
Great book, can on boost your knowledge.
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on 9 December 2013
This was the first Heywood book I purchased, and it's probably the best politics book I own, simply because of its essential status. Even for people who aren't on a politics course but simply have a strong interest in politics, this is essential because it allows the individual to develop their level of political thought.

Heywood details every chapter in an easy to understand yet professional manner, preventing any possibility of it being branded a "for dummies" book.

A must have.
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VINE VOICEon 9 May 2009
Andrew Heywood has written a book for beginners in political studies and, as such, displays all the strengths and weakness associated with his target audience. Its strength is that identifies specific political modes of thought liberalism, conservatism, socialism, marxism, nationalism, anarchism, fascism, feminism and ecologism and explains their perspectives on a variety of ideas such as human nature, the state and so forth, in ideological terms. In addition he makes a broad sweep of a range of ideas which have circulated primarily since the eighteenth century.

Its weakness is that ideology, inasmuch as ideology exists, is rarely stated in simple, compact ideas. Like so many political concepts ideology was born in the midst of the French Revolution and developed through European philosophy as the intellectual justification of the exercise or seizure of power. In practice it is little more than a rationalisation of the former. Socialism, for example, became so meaningless as a word during the twentieth century that it was used to describe Attlee's Britain and Stalin's Russia in the same breath, despite the propagandists of the latter having described the former as social fascists in the pre-war period.

Similarly, Heywood makes the widespread mistake (which is repeated on Wikipedia) of regarding Nazism as a subgroup of Fascism. Fascism was a peculiarly Italian form of government whose nearest political expression was the corporate state of Franco's Spain and more recently in South America. Nazism was a racial ideology which shared authoritarian features with Fascistic regimes but the identification of Fascism and Nazism as being the same movement is down to Soviet propaganda in the build up to the Second World War not to any objective identification. Nowadays it is a meaningless term of abuse which describes any exercise of power.

Fringe movements such as feminism, the belief that pro-women choices ( all women short lists, for example) are relevant to politics created the myths of patriarchy at the expense of the reality of sexual differentiation and understanding. In politics, as in life, it's not what you know but who you know that matters. In the end feminism splintered with Carmen Paglia attacking the idea of women as victims while Kate Millett appeared to advocate erotic relationships between adults and children.

The current fashionable ideology appears to be ecologism, saving the world from the impact of globalisation. There is little to suggest that it is any more than the ideological expression of the politically powerless seeking to gain political advantage. in between the truth is inevitably lost and the bill is picked up by later generations.

However, for all its strengths and weaknesses Heywood's book serves as a very useful place to start - if not end - the study of political ideologies. My review is of the third edition which does have a good bibliography and index.
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on 20 June 2016
Was given this by my A-level teacher, and I found it most useful for my A2 Edexcel Government and Politics examination! This really provides me with sufficient examples and analysis for the long essay questions. As Heywood states himself in one of his seminars, there are no chance for new essay questions to be created. For instance, in nationalism, there are only truly THREE essay questions: forward/backward looking, peace/conflict, or single doctrine or not.

The book consists of all of the essay points and essay topics, and if you have the mark schemes of the essays with you, you will find that Heywood's book elaborates all of the points on the mark scheme. One exemplar essay by a student was given full marks, and he/she clearly route learnt one of his passages. Not suggesting you to do so though.

NON-EXAM READERS;
It is interesting in itself to learn about ideologies, and this book makes it simple and easy as everything inside is clear and pretty straight-forwards. However, this book is in a way designed for A-level students, as it does go far enough. The Oxford Political Ideologies book, though a lot more expensive, is more complex and in-depth, and worth buying if you're studying politics in UNIVERSITY.
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on 4 February 2017
I came to this book as a new teacher of political ideologies. I cannot express strongly enough how much I wish my current school had not chosen this particular text. Not only is it very limited for an A level text book, but it contains inaccuracies. For example, in the section on feminism, on p.244, the wrong photo is used for Mary Wollstonecraft. The photo used is Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft's daughter. I do wonder if such an error would have ever happened if the historical figures were male. If you are looking for a book for your students, or to enrich your teaching, I would not recommend this text book.
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on 26 April 2016
The book is very small for the price and is too broad to be of any use. The problem with these books is that for the price they are not good enough
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