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

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9780465014934: Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter

Fifty percent of Americans can name four characters from The Simpsons,” but only two out of five can name all three branches of the federal government. No more than one in seven can find Iraq on a map. Just how stupid are we? Pretty stupid.

In Just How Stupid Are We?, best-selling author Rick Shenkman takes aim at our great national piety: the wisdom of the American people. American democracy is as direct as it's ever been but voters are misusing, abusing, and abdicating their political power. At once a powerful indictment of voter apathy and political indifference, Just How Stupid Are We? also provides concrete proposals for reforming our institutions the government, the media, civic organizations, political parties to make them work better for the American people. But first, Shenkman argues, we must reform ourselves.

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About the Author:

Rick Shenkman is the editor and founder of the History News Network and Associate Professor of History at George Mason University. New York Times best-selling author of five history books, including Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of American History, he appears regularly as a commentator on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. Educated at Vassar and Harvard, Shenkman is an award-winning investigative reporter and the former managing editor of KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

http://howstupidblog.com

Review:

Rick Perlstein, author of "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of American Consensus"
"A smart, stylish, and witty wrestling match with the most difficult problem a democracy can face."

Michael Beschloss
"At a moment when Americans are choosing leaders, Rick Shenkman's brisk, provocative and vigorously argued book implores us to rethink our roles as citizens and improve our political environment. There could not be a better time for this important message."

Jon Wiener, Professor of History at University of California at Irvine and author of "Historians in Trouble"
"The bad news is that Americans are ignorant, shortsighted, and swayed by meaningless phrases; the good news is that things could get better--if we start speaking honestly about the problem. Rick Shenkman's book is a crucial starting point in that process."

Bernard A. Weisberger, author of "America Afire"
"With wit, passion and devastating evidence, Shenkman compels us, the praised and petted 'American people, ' to look in the mirror for an explanation of why our elections are travesties of informed, intelligent debate. Lively and crucial, the book reminds us, however we vote, that there's no such animal as 'democracy for dummies.'"

Ruth Rosen, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Davis
"Are manipulative politicians and an intimidated media the only reasons we've had to suffer through the Bush years? What about the American people? Why don't they stop, pay attention, and think for themselves? In his candid and hard-hitting history of American political culture, Shenkman offers a compelling and disturbing analysis of the American people and why we get the government we deserve."

"New York Observer"
"Slender, lively and highly accessible ....it tackles one of the weightiest problems troubling American public life"

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