This book seeks to teach - or remind - us about how our democratic system works.
It does so with simple text broken up into easily digestible chunks and little boxed-off asides. (Did you know that the first Congressional caucus wasn't formed until 1959?)
The book has chapters on the Constitution, the three branches of the federal government, local government, political parties, interest groups, the media, and more.
Ragone - VP and assistant director of the communications and media strategy group at Ketchum - takes us on whirlwind tours of his topics. In his chapter on media, he goes from newspapers during the American Revolution to the internet - in three pages. But that doesn't mean the book is superficial. For example, he goes on to an interesting discussion of the subjective process for media outlets to decide what news is important.
This book will appeal to young students (it's that simply written), adults forgetting their civics classes, and public affairs pros needing a reminder of how the mechanics of our system work.
Title The Everything American Government Book
Author Nick Ragone
Publisher Adams Media (July 2004), 305 pages
Reviewed by Thom Weidlich