Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter

Rick Shenkman, Author . Basic $25 (210p) ISBN 978-0-465-07771-7

Shenkman (Presidential Ambition ) makes the provocative argument that as American voters have gained political power in the last 50 years, they have become increasingly ignorant of politics and world affairs—and dangerously susceptible to manipulation. The book provides a litany of depressing statistics—most Americans cannot name their representatives in Congress, only 20% hold a passport, 30% cannot identify the Holocaust—as Shenkman inquires whether Americans are capable of voting in the nation's or even their own best interests. Although Shenkman clearly derives some pleasure in pointing out the stupidity and irrationality of the American public, his concern is genuine and heartfelt. In lucid, playful prose, he illustrates how politicians have repeatedly misled voters and analyzes the dumbing down of American politics via marketing, spin machines and misinformation. Shenkman initiates an important conversation in this book and makes welcome suggestions to reinvigorate civic responsibility and provide people with the knowledge and tools necessary to efficaciously participate in the political process. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
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