If a well-informed populace is key to a functioning democracy, Professor Emeritus Michael Kryzanek is doing his part to clarify the arguments surrounding the biggest topics of the day, thanks in part to the publication of his new book, The 25 Issues that Shape American Politics: Debates, Differences, and Divisions.
Co-written with his daughter Dr. Ann K. Karreth, assistant professor of politics and international relations at Ursinus College, the book seeks to layout the facts on the key issues of the day.
“The political system, and the process of policymaking responds to these issues,” Dr. Kryzanek said. “We think it’s absolutely essential that the public know what the issues are and what the two sides are. We’re trying to cut through all the noise and provide readers with an opportunity to find out what are the issues that are critical and how can they can learn about each side.”
The former political science professor published a similar issues-related book in 2009, but with the many changes since then in the world and in American politics, he knew an entirely new book was in order, with new topics included and updates to other chapters. 25 Issues also delivers a more global perspective.
The new chapters address the middle class and the American dream, Russia, Middle East conflicts, terrorism and homeland security. They join perennial issues such as healthcare, immigration, race and the economy.
Each chapter begins with an issue focus box, which provides the necessary context for what follows. Data and info boxes are included, and at the end of each chapter are questions to facilitate critical thinking and discussion of the issue at hand, as well as sources for additional information. This means 25 Issues can be used in the classroom as a supplementary text, or enjoyed by general readers.
The timing of the book is not accidental, Dr. Kryzanek said.
“The country is more divided now than during the Civil War,” he said. “And they’re divided over these issues. This is a fair and balanced book. Both sides are discussed and I think there’s equal weight given to each side. In this era of fake news and alternative facts, this book is designed to give a factual account from both sides.”
He added that it was a joy to work with his daughter on the publication, allowing her bring to bear her expertise in globalization, international affairs and Africa.
“I’m very, very proud of the work she did,” Dr. Kryzanek said.
During their time working on the project, Professor Karreth gave birth to a daughter. The book is dedicated to the new arrival and to Dr. Kryzanek’s other three grandchildren. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media; video by TVS)
Dr. Kryzanek discusses the book in this video.