Saturday, May 29, 2010

Encyclopedia Of American Political Parties And Elections

Covering all presidential elections through 2004 and newer topics such as Internet voting, this volume contains more than 450 alphabetically arranged entries written by qualified scholars and practitioners on subjects ranging from Absentee voting to the Zapple Doctrine(the FCC policy requiring equal airtime for political candidates). A series of entries examines voter turnout by age, economic status, education, gender, and race, and the analysis of low voter turnout in the U.S. is intriguing. Entries cover terms, not persons, but the index allows the reader to find information on key individuals. Length of entries ranges from around half of a page to four pages.Users are directed to further readings at the end of each article. The extensive bibliography includes scholarly journal articles, such as "Why the Dixiecrats Failed" (1953), Web sites, and numerous monographs spanning many years.The publisher's blurb says the title is for "grades 9 and up," but there is not much to grab a teen's attention or interest. For an older audience, it is filled with useful, thought-provoking information that can help put the American political experience in perspective. Garland's Political Parties & Elections in the United States: An Encyclopedia (1991) and Greenwood's Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns, and Elections (1999) are similar to this new publication, but each of the three has its own slant, and they complement each other rather than competing for space on the reference shelf. Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections is recommended for academic and public libraries. Libraries holding the earlier works mentioned above will want to consider retaining them if space allows, since they do include biographical entries.

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