Every year, dozens of books get published in the political genre, but only a handful survive the test of time. Nevertheless, these books are a great source of information, especially for young minds studying political science.
Today, we’ve come up with a list of seven interesting books that every political science student should read. These books include everything from political expositions and ethical societies and insights to economic studies of individual governments.
If you want to study politics at university, get a jump-start on these books! To put together a good application, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your interest in politics, so being able to discuss these titles in your statement might help you stand out! Furthermore, they will certainly be essential reading for any politics-related undergraduate subject.
1. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)
“The Prince” represents Machiavelli, an Italian politician who lived in Florence. He represents a significant departure from previous trends in Western political thought because it is based on actual past experiences rather than abstract ethical and political principles. By examining the true consequences of men’s past actions, the book has articulated human nature and power structures for what they truly are. It controversially contends murder and betrayal are acceptable if they lead to attaining and maintaining power. The Prince was highly unpopular with the Catholic Church and was dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici, the Florentine ruler, to retain power.
2. John Locke, Second Treatise of Government (1689)
As a direct response to the political circumstances in England, Locke published “Second Treatise of Government”. He defines political authority ethically, stating the state must enact and execute laws for the public benefit. Locke contends that, while all persons are equal in what he refers to as a “state of nature,” they must give up their “natural” liberties when they enter society to be safeguarded by common rules. Locke believes the state has authority over the people only when they want to accept the power. He says sovereignty stands firmly in the hands of the people.
3. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)
Tocqueville was a sociologist and political thinker from France. After becoming familiar with the US judicial system, he wrote “Democracy in America”. He separated the book into two volumes, but both focus on the architecture of the US government and the institutions that contribute to the country’s freedom. For Tocqueville, equality is the most important political and social notion. In addition, he considered the US the ultimate embodiment of an equal democracy. The author admires American individualism but is alarmed about the hazards that its extreme form, known as atomism, may pose. Tocqueville contends that a social hierarchy is required for a fruitful interaction with the state.
4. Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
The Road to Serfdom is a classic contribution to political philosophy, cultural and intellectual history, and economics. This book has inspired and outraged readers for almost a half-century. In 1944, Eleanor Roosevelt supported Stalin’s efforts and Albert Einstein receded the socialist programme. As a result, “The Road to Serfdom” was regarded as heretical for its keen advice against the dangers of governmental control. According to Hayek, the collectivist ideology of strengthening government via economic control ultimately led to Nazism and Fascism.
5. Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012)
In “The Righteous Mind”, social psychologist Jonathan explores the origins and areas of mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition, the near-instant views we all have for others. These intuitions feel like self-evident facts, and we are righteously persuaded that those who disagree are incorrect. Further, the book demonstrates how these intuitions differ across cultures. Finally, Haidt draws a map of the mortal realm by combining his scientific data with anthropologists, historians, and psychologists.
6. Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail (2012)
“Why Nations Fail” was co-written by Acemoglu and Robinson. The two writers describe the major contrasts between successful and unsuccessful nations. They believe nations flourish when their political and economic systems are inclusive. The authors emphasise the connections between political and economic success. To them, democracy is essential for economic success, but this limits their political perspective because it is difficult to sell to governments with various forms of governance.
7. Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House (2018)
During President Barack Obama’s administration, Rhodes (b. 1977) served as Deputy Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Public speaking. He delivered the President his daily briefing for over ten years. As a result, the author had unparalleled access, providing significant political insight and journalistic skills to this project. Furthermore, before entering politics, Rhodes was a budding author. Moreover, this book is extremely educational and historically useful, but it is also meticulously created from a narrative and dramatic standpoint. Furthermore, the book is as entertaining to read as it is informative.
The books mentioned above are classics that can help students catch up on political science and politics in general. Reading books benefits students the most, and everyone should read no matter what their career background.
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