American Governance Benefits Beginning Students and the Civic-Minded Reader

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“…the coverage and treatment of American Governance appears to be among the most extensive to date, and the concepts presented will not grow quickly outdated.”  – CHOICE

Searching for a “highly factual and researched” resource for beginning students? American Governance  provides a clear and authoritative depictions of ideas that are core to the U.S. system of governance. Presented alphabetically, the 700 original, peer-reviewed entries written by content specialists also includes approximately 300 images and primary source documents. American Governance assists learners in developing  America’s  system of governance understanding.

This review is published in the August 2016 issue of CHOICE

The concept of governance is a holistic examination of the way organizations, markets, and governments regulate people based on the choices individuals make, and the decisions made as a collective society.  Editor Schechter (Russell Sage College) has previously edited over 20 political science titles, and he has brought together more than 400 contributors to shape this well-organized, five-volume reference set.  Unlike the SAGE two-volume Encyclopedia of Governance (CH, Jul’07, 44-6002), which focused on the concept of governance across many countries, this new work provides an in-depth focus on the system of American governance through an interdisciplinary lens.  Its more than 700 unique, peer-reviewed entries intersect with subject areas of economics, history, law, political science, psychology, and sociology, which helps extend the value of the encyclopedia to a wider audience.

While the entries are arranged alphabetically, the topics fall into one of four content domains: Intellectual Foundations; Constitutional and Legal Framework; Citizenship, Participants, and Civil Society; and Government and Public Policy.  Definition-based entries contain an average of 250 words, while important concepts, events, legal cases, and field pieces are substantially longer, sometimes upwards of 7,000 words.  A sampling of some 20 entries revealed minimal author bias and opinions; the entries are highly factual and researched, as a corresponding bibliography supported each entry.  Looking up cross-references to other entries in the subject index proved that it is accurate.  The encyclopedia contains other helpful resources, including 300 black-and-white images presented throughout the entries, primary source documents, a list of annotated websites, and a legal case index.  This multi-volume print production, or the publisher’s eBook version, will benefit beginning students and others making good use of academic library collections, as the coverage and treatment of American Governance appears to be among the most extensive to date, and the concepts presented will not grow quickly outdated.
–B. K. West, State University of New York at Geneseo

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