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From ancient and medieval philosophers such as Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today -- Mao Zedong, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and more -- "The Politics Book" clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought. From ancient and medieval philosophers such as Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today -- Mao Zedong, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and more -- "The Politics Book" clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought. With easy-to-follow graphics, succinct quotations, and accessible text, "The Politics Book" is an essential reference for students and anyone wondering how politics works.


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From ancient and medieval philosophers such as Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today -- Mao Zedong, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and more -- "The Politics Book" clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought. From ancient and medieval philosophers such as Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today -- Mao Zedong, Malcolm X, Che Guevara, and more -- "The Politics Book" clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought. With easy-to-follow graphics, succinct quotations, and accessible text, "The Politics Book" is an essential reference for students and anyone wondering how politics works.

30 review for The Politics Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    I've had this book for about 3 years, since I bought it in the states with several other books that I have yet to read. It turns out all I needed in order to get through it was an international pandemic. So this book is split into several chronological sections. It isn't the type of book that you read cover to cover but I read all of the Revolutionary Thoughts, Rise of the Masses, Clash of Ideologies, and Postwar Politics. I basically skipped over Ancient Political Thought, Medieval Politics and I've had this book for about 3 years, since I bought it in the states with several other books that I have yet to read. It turns out all I needed in order to get through it was an international pandemic. So this book is split into several chronological sections. It isn't the type of book that you read cover to cover but I read all of the Revolutionary Thoughts, Rise of the Masses, Clash of Ideologies, and Postwar Politics. I basically skipped over Ancient Political Thought, Medieval Politics and Rationality and Enlightenment because those aren't my fields of interest. Some people think that in the time of the internet, books like this lose their ability to be useful. I can't agree with this because this book was incredibly well written and organized. My favorite part was that there was a part explaining the context of each idea. There was just enough biographical information in order to feel like I know what's going on and then, the bulk of the text was about the idea itself. It was written clearly and was definitely accessible. This is very different from Wikipedia, where the bulk is usually biographical and the main ideas are skimmed over. This book explains and expands on the ideas really well. There was a logical list of claims for most of the ideas expressed. It was so clarifying and just interesting. The graphic design here was fantastic. It takes up just the right amount of attention and really manages to express the ideas while still being aesthetically pleasing and clear. The graphic designer who did this should be really proud of themselves. I also appreciated how international this was. Sure, European and American thinkers were still the majority but I loved learning about South American and Asian theorists. It's so sad how little we learn about all of the fascinating things that happened everywhere (online learning means I have access to tons of lectures and I spent way too much time watching a lecture from a course about Korea, as if I don't have my own lectures to watch). All in all, I'm sure I'll come back to this book because ultimately, if I want to know what John Rawls said in a cohesive and simply way, this book will be able to tell me better than a lot of the internet sources. I'm really happy I have a physical copy of this and recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the thoughts that shape our world. What I'm Taking With Me - This book feels like it was written by someone who understands the needs of students and I really hope I'll remember to use it. - There is so much left for me to learn about everything and that's really exciting! - Gosh, I miss politics lectures way too much.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I do not really like to read about politics, but I do love to read books that are published by DK! I have always said and, with this book, it continues -- you cannot go wrong with DK! They make even the most difficult and / or dry subjects easy to read and understand. I think it's all in how they lay it out. And, having said this, the layout for this book is chronological. It is broken down into time periods. At the beginning of each section is a timeline and brief essay describing the political I do not really like to read about politics, but I do love to read books that are published by DK! I have always said and, with this book, it continues -- you cannot go wrong with DK! They make even the most difficult and / or dry subjects easy to read and understand. I think it's all in how they lay it out. And, having said this, the layout for this book is chronological. It is broken down into time periods. At the beginning of each section is a timeline and brief essay describing the political theory for that period. Within each time period are the political thoughts of the period. Each of these starts with the "thought" as a statement, along with the person who coined the thought and his / her birth and death dates. On the page, there is also a gray box called "In Context". In this area, the reader is told the political ideology, political focus, events / ideas that took place BEFORE the thought came to be and then events / ideas that took place AFTER the thought existed. There is a brief essay (2-4 pages) describing the thought, along with illustrations, photographs and whatever else is needed to illustrate the point. There are quotes from the ideologist and at the end of the essay, a brief biography of this person. Also, there is a "See Also" for other "related" ideologists and the pages they and their thought can be found on. At the end of the book, there is a "Directory" of ideologists that are not covered elsewhere in the book, a glossary of terms and an index. The earliest political thought is "If your desire is for good, the people will be good" by Confucious 551-479 BCE Some other interesting things that I learned: "The Art of War is of vital importance to the state" by Sun Tzu 544-496 BCE -- Two ideas -- War punishes those who threaten or harm the state .... just as criminals within the state are punished ... to ensure a stable and prosperous state. The other idea is Planning, waging, and avoiding war determines foreign policy ... and military strategies provide a framework for domestic political organization ... to ensure a stable and prosperous state. "When legislative and executive powers are united in the same body there can be no liberty" by Montesquieu 1689-1755 -- The Ideology is Constitutional Politics and the Focus is Separation of Powers. "Independent Entrepreneurs make good citizens" by Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 The Ideology is Liberalism and the Focus is Entrepreneurial Citizens "All men are created equal" by Thomas Jefferson 1742-1826 The Ideology is Nationalism and the Focus is Universal Rights I know this next one's going to go over big: "The people have a right to keep and bear arms" by James Madison 1751-1836 The Ideology is Federalism and the Focus is Armed Citizenry. Some interesting things that happened WAY AFTER this thought was brought into play: In 1968, after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, federal restrictions on gun-owning ownership were introduced AND in 2008, the Supreme Court decides that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual's right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. "The most respectable women are the most oppressed" by Mary Wollstonecraft 1759-1797. The Ideology is Feminism and the Focus is Women's Emancipation -- In 1893, in New Zealand, women are given the vote -- one of the first countries to do so. "Socialism is anew system of serfdom" by Alex de Tocqueville 1805-1859 The Ideology is Liberalism and the Focus is Classless Society -- Socialism ignores the highest human virtues. Socialism undermines private property. Socialism stifles the individual. "No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent" Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 -- In 1860, Lincoln's election as the 16th president provokes the secession of Southern states in defense of their right to maintain slavery. In 1865, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy, the US Civil War ends in victory for the Union. In 1964 (almost 100 years later), the US Civil Rights Act bans job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin. "That government is best which governs not at all" by Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 -- Progress comes from the ingenuity of the people not from government. Governments can be useful, but they often bring about harm and injustice. The best thing governments can do is to let people flourish. "Communism is the riddle of history solved" by Karl Marx 1818-1883. The Ideology is Communism and the Focus is Alienation of Labor "It is necessary to dare in order to succeed" by Peter Kropotkin 1842-1921. The Ideology is Anarcho-Communism and the Focus is Political Action -- BEFORE this thought came to be, the world saw the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in St. Petersburg in 1881. Most recently (2011), the Occupy Movement protests against economic inequality by occupying Wall Street during the global economic crisis. "Either women are to be killed, or women are to have the vote" by Emmeline Pankhurst 1858-1928 The Ideology is Feminism and the Focus is Civil Disobedience -- In 2005, women are granted the right to vote and stand for parliament in Kuwait. That's a long time since New Zealand -- see Mary Wollstonecraft "It is ridiculous to deny the existence of a Jewish Nation" by Theodor Herzl 1860-1904 The Ideology is Zionism and the Focus is A Jewish State. In 1948, the state of Israel is established. Modern states promise universal, equal rights for all ... yet anti-Semitism continues to exist, and is endemic in society. Since anti-Semitism cannot be ended and assimilation cannot work ... the only alternative is the establishment of a Jewish state. "Nonviolence is the first article of my faith" by Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948 The Ideology is Anti-colonial nationalism and the Focus is Non-violent Resistance. Events that occurred AFTER this thought occurred in 1963 in his "I have a dream" speech in Washington, D.C., civil rights leader Martin Luther King outlines his vision of black and white people living together in peace AND, in 2011, peaceful protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square lead to the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek. "Politics begins where the masses are" by Vladimir Lenin 1870-1924 The Ideology is Communism and the Focus is Mass Revolution "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last" by Winston Churchill 1874-1965 -- An appeaser believes he is not powerful enough to defeat a tyrant. Therefore he makes concessions in order to avoid going to war. His concessions make him weaker. His concessions make the tyrant stronger. "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war." -- Winston Churchill "The wealthy farmers must be deprived of the sources of their existence" by Joseph Stalin 1878-1953 The Ideology is State Socialism and the Focus is Collectivization "We are 400 million people asking for liberty" by Marcus Garvey 1887-1940 "I am the equal of any white man; I want you to feel the same way." -- Marcus Garvey "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" by Mao Zedong 1893-1976 "Politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed." Mao Zedong "The chief evil is unlimited government" by Friedrich Hayek 1899-1992 The Ideology is Neoliberalism and the Focus is Free-market Economics -- When demand for a product is greater than supply ... its price goes up. Consumers may find it hard to find the goods, and will have to pay a higher price. More goods are made to capitalize on profits. OR When supply of a product is greater than demand ... its price goes down. Consumers can easily find the goods, and may be able to buy them at discounted prices. Suppliers make less product. "A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have." -- Gerald Ford "The Objective of the Islamic Jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system" by Abul Ala Maududi 1903-1979 The Ideology is Islamic Fundamentalism and the Focus is Jihad. In 1988, Osama bin Laden formed al-Quaeda, calling for a global jihad and the imposition of Sharia law across the world. The basic premise (according to this book) is Islam is not just a religion, it is a revolutionary program of life. Muslims must carry out its revolutionary program. Jihad is the revolutionary struggle that the Islamic party uses to achieve its goal. Islam's purpose is an Islamic state, and the destruction of states that oppose this. "Islam does not intend to confine its rule to a single state or a handful of countries. The aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution." -- Abul Ala Maududi -- I don't know about you, but the idea of this concept terrifies me! "There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men" by Ayn Rand 1905-1982 "We are not anti-white, we are against white supremacy" by Nelson Mandela 1918- Apartheid is an unjust form of racial segregation. We must protest against injustice and inequality. It is a fight by all South Africans for change. "The ballot or the bullet" by Malcolm X 1925-1965 The Ideology is Civil Rights and Equality and the Focus is Self-Determination "Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves" by Che Guevara 1928-1967 The Ideology is Revolutionary Socialism and the Focus is Guerrilla Warfare "Everybody has to make sure that the rich folks are happy" by Noam Chomsky 1928- The Ideology is Libertarian Socialism and the Focus is Power and Control. Dominant institutions in society, such as the media and banks, are controlled by a wealthy minority. The minority runs the institutions in a way that favors its interests. Any attempts at reform lead to a drying up of investment, which ruins the economy. To keep the economy healthy, everyone, even the poor, must support a system that is run in the interests of the rich. "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance" by Martin Luther King 1929-1968 The Ideology is Social Justice and the Focus is Civil Disobedience. "Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him." -- Martin Luther King This whole book was very educational. I plowed right through it and I learned a lot!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tanima

    "Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." The Politics Book was a great starting guide to the history and creation of modern political thought. The two central themes of political history seem to be the balance between liberty and authority, if I may oversimplify things. But because this balance is so fragile and complex, most of the time “men sail on a boundless and bottomless sea.” The organization of this book made for a straightforward read. It is separated into "Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." The Politics Book was a great starting guide to the history and creation of modern political thought. The two central themes of political history seem to be the balance between liberty and authority, if I may oversimplify things. But because this balance is so fragile and complex, most of the time “men sail on a boundless and bottomless sea.” The organization of this book made for a straightforward read. It is separated into 7 sections: (1) ancient political thoughts, (2) medieval politics, (3) rationality & enlightenment, (4) revolutionary thoughts, (5) rise of the masses, (6) clash of ideologies, and (7) postwar politics. I think we can all agree that politics is already complicated enough without us having to decipher how these thinkers connected to the bigger themes of their times! Also, by the end of the book you’re left wondering if there are any people you might have missed. The authors got this right as well! They have a whole directory of other prominent thinkers that didn’t make it to the main pages of their book. They also provide extra resources for further reading. I do not want to analyze the ideas of all the philosophers because there are truly some profound people and I suggest you look into it yourself. But, here are three ideas that truly stuck with me: 1. I would consider myself an environmentalist and I care about making the earth more sustainable and eco-friendly. It’s a cause close to my heart. So when Arne Naess showed up and basically told the world that humans are a part of the “complex, interdependent system” of Earth and not simply “consumers of natural goods,” it spoke to me. This is a very obvious statement, that because we are also a part of the ecosystem we have set out to destroy, we “should develop compassion for nonhumans.” Sadly we still have a lot of work to do in this area. 2. John Rawls’ the concept of ‘modernity’ includes the multicultural ideal that “it is possible to live under common rules without necessarily sharing a common moral code.” He elaborated that this could be accomplished given all people “share a moral commitment to the structure of society.” I would go one step further and add that all people should also share a functioning of the laws and principles of that society, regardless of their own moral codes. But I think his concept of multiculturalism is significant in a growing modern world where various ethnicities and cultures are integrating together to share one flag, one constitution, and one land. 3. I was close to finishing this book when I came across Noam Chomsky’s daunting theory. Chomsky states that in most countries, “a wealthy minority controls the key social and political institutions.” He says that control of such things as “mass media and the financial system” ensures that the modern functioning society “favors a powerful elite.” Because the top of society basically controls all propaganda and finances, dissent is impossible because these powerful positions mutually benefit the rest of society in a way that secures the functionality of the economy. Although this thought scares me, you have to wonder if it actually has to be this way anyway, given the growing population and otherwise chaos that would ensue. 4. And a little food for thought from Paulo Freire: "[T]he act of oppression dehumanizes both parties and that, once liberated, there is a danger of individuals repeating the injustice they have experienced." Such an obvious statement, but history has not taught this well enough for us it seems! Politics is fascinating and it opens your eyes to many aspects of our functioning world; this book is a great starting point. But most of all, politics illustrates that "[w]hat matters is not to know the world but to change it."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manik Sukoco

    Good and easy to understand pictures: On nearly every article there is a picture/drawing of some sort. The pictures help make the articles easier to read and understand. Covers philosophers from pretty much all time periods: The articles date as far back as Confucius and Sun Tzu and go as far as the 20th century. Covers philosophers from multiple political ideologies: There are articles about Conservatism, Communism, Liberalism, Realism, etc. On most articles, there is a background of the philos Good and easy to understand pictures: On nearly every article there is a picture/drawing of some sort. The pictures help make the articles easier to read and understand. Covers philosophers from pretty much all time periods: The articles date as far back as Confucius and Sun Tzu and go as far as the 20th century. Covers philosophers from multiple political ideologies: There are articles about Conservatism, Communism, Liberalism, Realism, etc. On most articles, there is a background of the philosopher, which is always interesting and fun to read. You can easily pick this book up and read an article or two in five minutes without being totally lost or have to think deeply. Most articles were pretty objectively written. There were a few bad ones in particular, but most of them didn't distort the philosophers ideas or say something like: "This view is unacceptable." Some articles are very short and lack detail, sometimes covering only a page. Some philosophers with very complex and confusing (at first) viewpoints, often have short articles that don't fully explain the ideas very well or with a lot of depth. A particularly bad article on James Madison, the constitution, and modern gun control that is very poorly written, subjective, and has very, very little and insufficient reasoning and evidence to support the author's viewpoint.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ana Ruiz

    FINALLY, a way to learn history from a political point of view that's: 1) Fun 2) Easy to understand 3) As objective as humanly possible 4) AMAZING! What more can you ask, right? Maybe a little bit more on Simone de Beauvoir, but I have a crush on that woman, so I think not even 100 pages would've been enough. (She's got four pages. Four pages! Marx got six. Not fair.) FINALLY, a way to learn history from a political point of view that's: 1) Fun 2) Easy to understand 3) As objective as humanly possible 4) AMAZING! What more can you ask, right? Maybe a little bit more on Simone de Beauvoir, but I have a crush on that woman, so I think not even 100 pages would've been enough. (She's got four pages. Four pages! Marx got six. Not fair.)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Am Y

    The title is a little misleading. This was not so much about politics per se, but rather the ideologies and philosophies, and key thinkers of each era. Information is clearly presented and many infographics and illustrations are used, but I couldn't help but feel the organisation was a little haphazard at times. The title is a little misleading. This was not so much about politics per se, but rather the ideologies and philosophies, and key thinkers of each era. Information is clearly presented and many infographics and illustrations are used, but I couldn't help but feel the organisation was a little haphazard at times.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Another excellent entry in the DK "Big Ideas" series. I finally read this recently, due to COVID-time. I read it slowly, in 1-3 Philosopher chunks, we'll say. I took copious notes, and I am turning it into a self-taught Politics course, whereby I re-record and analyze the notes in the hopes of coming to a new personal political synthesis. What an incredibly valuable personal development tool that should improve how I act and think from here on out! I took Politics 101 in University, but that cours Another excellent entry in the DK "Big Ideas" series. I finally read this recently, due to COVID-time. I read it slowly, in 1-3 Philosopher chunks, we'll say. I took copious notes, and I am turning it into a self-taught Politics course, whereby I re-record and analyze the notes in the hopes of coming to a new personal political synthesis. What an incredibly valuable personal development tool that should improve how I act and think from here on out! I took Politics 101 in University, but that course was mostly about Plato and Aristotle, and I was less mature. This book covers the, or some of the, main ideas from many political thinkers and actors throughout history, and throughout Western and Eastern (as well as Northern and Southern) traditions. There are some you've probably heard of, and some you probably haven't. Fascinating, enlightening -- well done. Quibbles would be the odd typo, a few entries could have been written a bit better, and the end of the book is a bit weaker. Perhaps the latter reflects such things as: it's already been thought or done by then, more contemporary thinkers have tended to focus on more specific or esoteric subjects, and so on. Perhaps it also shows a need for a bit more reach and inclusion on the editors' part. An oddly-titled 'Directory' is included, which is a directory of political thinkers and actors the editors left out of the main text, with a small blurb on each. Some of these folks are fascinating (to me) in their own right and should be studied further! 4.8 Stars

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad

    My favourite course in Uni was the history of law, how peeps and nations transformed from sword fighting to settle differences to rational thinking people who use words to settle differences, most of the time. I’ve been wanting to read more about the subject but I dilly dallied. And recently I came upon this awesome book and found it sort of dealt with the subject, and after a bit of skimming the first pages, I ended up unable to put it down. It summarises all the major ideologies and beliefs of My favourite course in Uni was the history of law, how peeps and nations transformed from sword fighting to settle differences to rational thinking people who use words to settle differences, most of the time. I’ve been wanting to read more about the subject but I dilly dallied. And recently I came upon this awesome book and found it sort of dealt with the subject, and after a bit of skimming the first pages, I ended up unable to put it down. It summarises all the major ideologies and beliefs of all the major political philosophers and law makers throughout time, with a short bio on each person and a simple explanation of their ideas and the social and economic conditions of their time that had an impact on their way of thinking. From Sun Tzu to Socrates and Plato, to the advent of Christianity and Islam, to Medieval times, enlightenment times, World Wars, Cold War, Civil rights, to present day political thought. Big ideas simply explained. Awesome, short, extremely informative and, surprisingly, extremely entertaining read as well. It also has infographics that simplify each idea, and a simple organisations to keep track of the evolution that occurred to Political and legal ideas with the passing of time. Very cool.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    As the other books in the Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Politics Book is an excellent overview over its topic. It shows one where politics started, what the core ideas of politics were and under which circumstances and influences they developed. Even if it is by no means exhausting, it did leave me with a greater sense of understanding what political views there are in the world and what roots they have. It's a great read I reccommend to anyone interested in politics or who just wants t As the other books in the Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Politics Book is an excellent overview over its topic. It shows one where politics started, what the core ideas of politics were and under which circumstances and influences they developed. Even if it is by no means exhausting, it did leave me with a greater sense of understanding what political views there are in the world and what roots they have. It's a great read I reccommend to anyone interested in politics or who just wants to absorbs some more trivia knowledge about our world.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I absolutely love this book. I bought it on a whim while perusing the current events section in Barnes and Noble. As a polisci major, I am always looking for a good reference on the big names in political science, and this certainly does the job. The format is intriguing, there are info-graphics and quick overviews of notable information. But not to worry, there is in depth information as well. I mean, not enough to make you am expert but enough for a cocktail party conversation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ženija Minka

    A couple of small objections isn't enough to lessen my overall love for this book. I learned about so many political thinkers I had never even heard of before, and, more importantly, this book encouraged me to rethink my personal stance on politics and my overall worldview. Any book that encourages me to think is very dear to me. I'm now very tempted to read some of the other books in the series. A couple of small objections isn't enough to lessen my overall love for this book. I learned about so many political thinkers I had never even heard of before, and, more importantly, this book encouraged me to rethink my personal stance on politics and my overall worldview. Any book that encourages me to think is very dear to me. I'm now very tempted to read some of the other books in the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ziqin Ng

    First half of the book was a lot better than the second half. Or maybe I was just tired because I read nearly the whole thing in a single sitting at BPPL because it was one day overdue and I had to return it today. I need to stop doing this to myself.

  13. 5 out of 5

    D

    Attractively designed but could benefit from meatier content. Making sense of the present requires an understanding of the variety of political ideas and theories conceived throughout history. These ideas serve as an explanation of the possibilities of the present. In Roman mythology, the Owl of Minerva was a symbol of wisdom. For Hegel, the Owl only “takes flight at twilight.” By this he means that understanding can only come retrospectively. It is very easy to see ourselves as the most progress Attractively designed but could benefit from meatier content. Making sense of the present requires an understanding of the variety of political ideas and theories conceived throughout history. These ideas serve as an explanation of the possibilities of the present. In Roman mythology, the Owl of Minerva was a symbol of wisdom. For Hegel, the Owl only “takes flight at twilight.” By this he means that understanding can only come retrospectively. It is very easy to see ourselves as the most progressive, enlightened and rational age ever -- after all, we believe in open economies, human rights and democracy. However, these ideas are not shared by all societies and people even today. Until philosophers are kings, cities will never have rest from their evils. - Plato Democracy passes into despotism - Plato For ancient Greeks, ‘living well’ was not a question of achieving material well being, honor or pleasure, but living according to fundamental virtues such as wisdom, piety and justice. The purpose of the state, according to Plato, was to promote these virtues so that its citizens could lead the good life. Plato maintained that rulers tend to rule in their own interests rather than for the good of the state and its people. This is due to a general ignorance of the virtues that constitute the good life, which, in turn, leads people to desire the wrong things, especially the transitory pleasures of honor and wealth. These prizes come with political power, and the problem is intensified in the political arena. The desire to rule for the wrong reasons leads to conflict among citizens. With everyone seeking increased power, this ultimately undermines the stability and unity of the state. Whoever emerges victorious from the power struggle deprives their opponents of the power to achieve their desires, which leads to injustice -- an evil that is exactly contrary to the cornerstone of Plato’s notion of the good life. In contrast, Plato argued, there is a class of people who understand the meaning of the good life: philosophers. They alone recognize the worth of virtues above the pleasures of honor and money, and they have devoted their lives to the pursuit of the good life. Because of this, they do not lust after fame and fortune, and so have no desire for political power -- paradoxically this is what qualifies them as ideal rulers. Democracy… is full of variety and disorder, dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. - Plato If justice be taken away, what are governments but great bands of robbers? - Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) Government prevents injustice, other than such as it commits itself - Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) When a nation has become the victim of a psychological defeat, then that marks the end of a nation. - Ibn Khaldun John Locke finds that people can act according to reason and with tolerance in the state of nature. Where there is no law, there is no freedom - John Locke The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles. - Montesquieu Independent entrepreneurs make good citizens - Benjamin Franklin You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the Earth belong to us all, and the Earth itself to nobody - Jean-Jacques Rousseau It will always be found, that when the rich protect the rights of the poor, the poor will protect the property of the rich - Thomas Paine Each nationality contains its center of happiness within itself - Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong - Jeremy Bentham The slave feels self-existence to be something external - Georg Hegel (1770-1831) War is the continuation of politik by other means - Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) The privileged man is a man depraved in intellect and heart - Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876) Bakunin argued that, when acting as society’s guardians, even learned, well informed people inevitably become corrupt. They abandon the pursuit of truth, seeking instead the protection of their own power. The masses, kept in ignorance, need their protection. Bakunin believed that accordingly, privilege kills the heart and mind. It is necessary to dare in order to succeed - Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) Gandhi’s ideology was an attempt to work out the rule of love in every area of life. He was married at the age of 13. Five years later, his father sent him to London to study law. He was called to the bar in 1891 and set up a law practice in South Africa, defending the civil rights of Indian migrants. In 1915, he returned to India, where he took a vow of poverty and founded an ashram. Mahatma = Great Soul War is a racket - Smedley D Butler (1881-1940) Sovereign is he who decides on the exception - Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) The political life of a country always includes exceptional circumstances. The judgments of the courts depend on historical precedents, so can only be applied in ‘normal’ situation. When an exceptional situation occurs, one person must be able to operate above the law, suspending it and taking all steps necessary to save the state. The only person capable of this is the sovereign. Schmitt’s criticism of liberalism was directly tied to his unique understanding of ‘the political’ as the constant possibility of struggle between both friends and enemies. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun - Mao Zedong (1893-1976) Every known and established fact can be denied - Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) The rewriting of contemporary history under the very eyes of those who witnessed it, through the denial or neglect of every known and established fact, leads not only to the creation of a more flattering reality to fit specific political needs, but also to the establishment of an entirely substitute reality that no longer has anything to do with factual truth. This, Arendt argues, is particularly dangerous -- the substitute reality that justified mass killings under the Nazi regime is a good example. What is at stake, Arendt says, is ‘common and factual reality itself.’ He is the Subject, he is the Absolute. She is the Other - Simone de Beauvoir De Beauvoir stressed the importance of the existence of real choices, and of choosing honestly. Only through collaboration between women and men can gender roles be redefined. Earth does not belong to humans - Arne Naess Only the weak-minded believe that politics is a place of collaboration - Gianfranco Miglio (1918-2001) During the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed tend to become the oppressors - Paulo Freire (1921-1997) The greatest humanistic and historical task of the oppressed is to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well - Paulo Freire Justice is the first virtue of social institutions. For John Rawls, for justice to exist, it has to be considered “air” according to 2 principles of equality. The first is that everyone has an equal claim to basic liberties. The second is that ‘social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and attached to positions and offices open to all.” The first principle -- the principle of liberty -- takes priority over the second principle -- the principle of difference. Inequality -- and the advantages based on this inequality -- could not lie at the basis of any principle or theory of justice. Rawls concludes that ‘the arbitrariness of the world must be corrected for by adjusting the circumstances of the initial contractual situation.’ Social institutions are key to making this correction. Everybody has to make sure that the rich folks are happy - Noam Chomsky (1928 - ) Power is increasingly concentrated in unaccountable institutions - Noam Chomsky No Islamic law says violate women’s rights. - Shirin Ebadi (1947 - ) Suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation (Robert Pape (1960-)

  14. 5 out of 5

    William Schram

    Politics is an ancient art dealing with human relations. The Politics Book summarizes the developments of politics over the centuries. It is chronological, starting at Confucius and other philosophers of antiquity. As I mentioned, the book is chronological. It includes aphorisms from great people and provides the background of why they stated these things. It covers the reaction to these ideas as well. Some of the philosophers and ideas were ones that I had not heard of before. The Politics Book Politics is an ancient art dealing with human relations. The Politics Book summarizes the developments of politics over the centuries. It is chronological, starting at Confucius and other philosophers of antiquity. As I mentioned, the book is chronological. It includes aphorisms from great people and provides the background of why they stated these things. It covers the reaction to these ideas as well. Some of the philosophers and ideas were ones that I had not heard of before. The Politics Book is excellent. It does miss some essential thinkers, but it includes those in a section in the back.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amena

    Very helpful and it is such a good introduction to anyone who wanna know more about political philosophy and theory, as well as political ideologies and important political figures... highly recommended!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Randell Green

    Not quite as exciting as the Philosophy book in this series, but enjoyed it and learned massive amounts of information.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole von Berg

    Good/interesting book, but it reads more like a text book. The Kindle version is glitchy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scout Collins

    4.5 stars Interesting book that incorporates a lot of ideas from different countries, cultures and politicians. I don't love the formatting of this series so far (it looks nice at a glance but when reading a 350-page book it gets tiring) but the format worked pretty well in this book; it was better than a boring, mainly-text textbook for sure. I enjoyed learning more about Gandhi, Malcom X, Simon Bolivar, Georg Hegel, Mary Wollstonecraft, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. The 4.5 stars Interesting book that incorporates a lot of ideas from different countries, cultures and politicians. I don't love the formatting of this series so far (it looks nice at a glance but when reading a 350-page book it gets tiring) but the format worked pretty well in this book; it was better than a boring, mainly-text textbook for sure. I enjoyed learning more about Gandhi, Malcom X, Simon Bolivar, Georg Hegel, Mary Wollstonecraft, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. The timeline pages were helpful. Overall I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in politics; whether you know a little or a lot it's still a good read and you might learn something new. If you're a REAL beginner to politics though, I wouldn't recommend this book- read an introduction to politics book instead!! Reading level for this book would be Grade 6/7 and up.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tiago Faleiro

    The book beggins with ancient political thought, from Plato to Sun Tzu, then moves on to the middle ages and finally enlightment. The latter leading to the political thought of the revolutions in the 18th and 19th century. It ends with the war of ideologies in the 20th century, and post-war politics, and the civil rights movement. I found the book well written. It has a good balance between more ancient political philosophy and more recent political ideologies (particuarly the tension of capital The book beggins with ancient political thought, from Plato to Sun Tzu, then moves on to the middle ages and finally enlightment. The latter leading to the political thought of the revolutions in the 18th and 19th century. It ends with the war of ideologies in the 20th century, and post-war politics, and the civil rights movement. I found the book well written. It has a good balance between more ancient political philosophy and more recent political ideologies (particuarly the tension of capitalism, fascism and socialism), although I was hoping for some more insight into the politics of the modern world. It made a good job of not only explaining the political thought of certain thinkers, but also putting them in the needed historical context. Would recommend as an introduction to the history of political thought, although one gains a better understanding of history itself.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Malcolmaffleck

    A really good introduction to many of the great political thinkers of the last few thousand years and although a slight bias towards Western thought, there was a good selection of thinkers from Japan, China, Latin America and African based thinkers. The book is well structured with clear explanations of the thinkers provided and - perhaps most importantly - the context of their theories. My only issue would be that I would like there to be a critique of each theory, not just the 'major' ones at A really good introduction to many of the great political thinkers of the last few thousand years and although a slight bias towards Western thought, there was a good selection of thinkers from Japan, China, Latin America and African based thinkers. The book is well structured with clear explanations of the thinkers provided and - perhaps most importantly - the context of their theories. My only issue would be that I would like there to be a critique of each theory, not just the 'major' ones at the end of each section.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    A good overview of political thoughts and history. A better introduction than a 101 political science course. While they went with the chronological order, i think a book of this type would have better organized by political thought or category. Also the people they choose to go more in depth with was sporadic. However, the fancy design and clear writing probably deserves four stars, but even this book bore me with political theory. So three stars.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dana Aldee

    I loved the concept “Big ideas explained simply” and the execution far exceeded my wildest expectations. At first, I thought I was already familiar with many of the political theorists represented in the book so, I smugly flipped through the pages. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was shocked and humbled by how little knowledge I truly had about Chinese, Islamic, African, and Indian politics. Recommend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Excellent resource book that I'd like to own. The format is very easy to follow, very visual, just like the other kid's books by this publisher. (This is NOT a children's book, however.) I understand that Dorling Kindersley Publishing has several other books available as references like this one with topics such as Philosophy, Religion, etc. They all sound great! Excellent resource book that I'd like to own. The format is very easy to follow, very visual, just like the other kid's books by this publisher. (This is NOT a children's book, however.) I understand that Dorling Kindersley Publishing has several other books available as references like this one with topics such as Philosophy, Religion, etc. They all sound great!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    This book was really great to read. It taught me a lot about the history of medicine and other important subjects that are crucial to the world. One thing that this book could improve on is the creativity. The interactivity level in this book is really low which make things seem very tedious for an easily- bored out reader.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karmina Santos

    It's so beautiful! *tears* I'm so glad I bought this last Sunday, I wish I knew about this a few years ago, I bet it would have been useful in my high school debate experience. Some of the concepts here were topics in the motions and if I had this earlier I might have had more matter. Nevertheless, I'm still glad I found this, this would be useful for future essays or discussions with my dad. :) It's so beautiful! *tears* I'm so glad I bought this last Sunday, I wish I knew about this a few years ago, I bet it would have been useful in my high school debate experience. Some of the concepts here were topics in the motions and if I had this earlier I might have had more matter. Nevertheless, I'm still glad I found this, this would be useful for future essays or discussions with my dad. :)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    You can always trust DK to publish nice book. The Politics Book is a nice summary of the many different views on politics through out the history, highlighting the most significant cases. DK remained neutral through out and was very informative for people for who are not knowledgable on politics yet as a beginner's guide. You can always trust DK to publish nice book. The Politics Book is a nice summary of the many different views on politics through out the history, highlighting the most significant cases. DK remained neutral through out and was very informative for people for who are not knowledgable on politics yet as a beginner's guide.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rick Sam

    Big Ideas, Big pictures are useful to understand what each thinkers are trying to achieve. This book gives a broad outline of Political Philosophy. I was surprised to see Mahatma Gandhi included in it. If you like to know brief history of political philosophy, I would recommend this for the start. --Gottfried

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sabhie

    Initially thought the book would be more like in a chapter book format, with each chapter going over each type of political theory. Instead, political theories were discussed in a historical timeline. This made it hard to follow. Regardless of that, political theories were explained in short and sweet chapters. Great read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luke Smith

    Starting with ancient thinkers like Confucius and moving right into the present day this is a great guide to political philosophy. I've read a few of the works it cited and they summed them up very well. It was incredibly illuminating to see the beginnings of key ideas we take for granted like "war is a racket" and "the ends justify the means". Great coffee table book Starting with ancient thinkers like Confucius and moving right into the present day this is a great guide to political philosophy. I've read a few of the works it cited and they summed them up very well. It was incredibly illuminating to see the beginnings of key ideas we take for granted like "war is a racket" and "the ends justify the means". Great coffee table book

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Rather well-organized, researched, and designed. Perhaps I’m biased because I’m impressed by anyone who makes a flow chart that illustrates some of the finer points of libertarian socialism, though. Major points for the directory section, which provides solid summaries of the life + work of folks like Mariátegui, Sédor Senghor, Lyotard, and Laclau.

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