I have been reading an interesting new title, Preserving Democracy by Elgin Hushbeck. Elgin takes on a big task, walking the reader through the Constitutional framework of our republic and where we have gone so far astray.
(By way of disclosure, I received Preserving Democracy as a review copy free of charge from Energion Publications and am under no obligation except to provide a review of the book.)
All in all this was a pretty good book. I think Elgin understands the fundamental problems we face and that if we were governed in the way the founding fathers intended, we wouldn't have a lot of the problems that we find ourselves in. His key idea of a man wandering in the desert is interesting, the idea that once you feel like you have gone to far down a path, it is often too late. That captures quite nicely where America is and he substantiates that idea throughout the book, covering topics from a constitutional framework. Elgin clearly has an excellent grasp of economic thought and that is something sorely lacking from many of the talking heads who drive political discourse on the Left and Right in this country. Not understanding how economics works has left this country poorer, both metaphorically and literally. Chapter 2, Taxes and the Welfare State, was one of the best treatments of how taxes work and the impact raising or lowering them has on an economy.
Some downside. Elgin cover a TON of material. In some places it seems like he is trying to cover too much, too quickly. My copy was a pre-review copy, so there were lots of grammatical issues that I assume will be cleaned up but some of the writing was clunky or choppy in some places. IN places the book leaps from concept to concept at a helter-skelter pace which can make you feel like you missed something, but I suppose that is to be expected in a survey of this kind.
Preserving Democracy is an excellent survey of the American political system and what has gone wrong. It is not a book that gives you a thorough in-depth view of any particular study and I wouldn't say I came across anything new, but it still was an engaging read and is a book I would recommend for people who are less familiar with the bigger political issues of the day. For someone already very engaged in the various subjects covered, this book might be a bit rudimentary but given the election of Barack Obama and the general state of the country, I don't think there are very many people who are terribly engaged in the process. This is a solid survey book for people getting interested in politics, I can see this being of great value to recent high school graduates or students in college. Often I run across adults with strongly held opinions who don't know why they hold those opinions. This book will give people the foundation they need to be able to form their own opinions and we certainly could use more educated, informed and thoughtful voters in this country!