In an election year that has defied expectations, scuttled predictions, and demonstrated that "politics as usual" is often anything but, a distinctive new textbook publishes that helps students make sense of our politics and government. This engaging new book's unique approach emphasizes and explores causal questions in American politics. It gives student critical thinking tools-tools pulled directly from a social scientist's playbook-to start answering those questions, see past today's headlines, and understand why things really happen in our political world. In a clear, straightforward style brimming with rich, real world examples, this exciting new text not only covers the fundamentals of American government and politics in a highly accessible, engaging fashion, it arms readers with the tools to separate political fact from fiction. Using this book, readers will develop the skills to see through the simplistic sound bites and partisan assertions they're subjected to by the pundits and politicians. Students reading this text will be fitted with armor against the partisan bickering and hyperbolic media coverage that causes so many of them to become cynical about politics. They will come away from the text not only excited by political questions, but with the means to explore possible answers as more thoughtful, critical, and empowered citizens.William G. Howell is the author of 'Understanding American Politics and Government', published 2008 under ISBN 9780321169655 and ISBN 0321169654.