Higher Education

American Government: Brief Version, 11th Edition

  • James Q. Wilson University of California
  • John J. DiIulio, Jr. University of Pennsylvania
  • Meena Bose Hofstra University
  • ISBN-10: 1133594379  |  ISBN-13: 9781133594376
  • 464 Pages
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $131.50
  • Newer Edition Available
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This popular brief edition text for the one-semester or one-quarter American Government course maintains the framework of the Wilson, DiIulio, and Bose comprehensive text, emphasizing the historical development of the American political system, who governs, and to what ends. AMERICAN GOVERNMENT: BRIEF VERSION, Eleventh Edition offers new coverage of such key and emerging issues as the 2012 campaigns and elections; leadership of President Obama and the 112th Congress; the economic downturn and ensuing policies; healthcare reform; foreign relations with North Korea and Iran; the war in Afghanistan; and more. The text also emphasizes critical-thinking skills throughout and includes many tools to help students maximize their study efforts and results, including new Learning Objectives in every chapter.

Additional Product Information

Features and Benefits

  • This concise, affordable text covers the essential concepts of American government and is known for its outstanding scholarship, strong historical coverage, and focus on institutions and policy.
  • Students learn to think critically and synthesize the material through the text's chapter-opening "Enduring Questions Learning Objectives" which are reviewed at the end of each chapter, and conversational narrative that expands on the classic issues of democracy.
  • "How We Compare" features show how other nations around the world structure their governments and policies in relation to the U.S. and ask students to think about the results of these differences.
  • "What Would You Do?" boxes in each chapter further enhance the critical-thinking emphasis of the book, challenging students to explore their opinions on controversial topics and generating classroom discussion and debate.
  • Key facts and concepts are pulled out in each chapter to guide students, while marginal definitions serve as helpful references while reading.
  • "Landmark Cases" highlight the most important court cases and provide brief overviews of their decisions.
  • Numerous colorful figures, tables, and photographs engage students and bring concepts to life, while end-of-chapter "Online Resources" and "Suggested Readings" point students toward further application and enrichment.

Table of Contents

1. What Should We Know About American Government?
2. The Constitution.
3. Civil Liberties.
4. Civil Rights.
5. Federalism.
6. Public Opinion and the Media.
7. Political Parties and Interest Groups.
8. Campaigns and Elections.
9. Congress.
10. The Presidency.
11. The Bureaucracy.
12. The Judiciary.
13. Making Domestic Policy.
14. Making Foreign and Military Policy.
15. How American Government Has Changed.
Appendix: The Declaration of Independence.
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States.
Appendix: The Federalist No. 10.
Appendix: The Federalist No. 51.

What's New

  • Updates throughout the text reflect the latest scholarship and current events, including the 2012 campaigns and elections; the health care act; foreign relations issues including North Korea, Iran, the war in Afghanistan, and the U.S. role in democratic revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa; and the emergence of a serious debate about the budget and entitlements.
  • New Learning Objectives open each chapter and correlate with the chapters' outlines, helping students measure their comprehension and prepare for the exam.
  • New Learning Objectives open each chapter and correlate with the chapters' outlines, helping students measure their comprehension and prepare for the exam.
  • A revised and more in-depth look at interest groups gives students a better understanding of the role they play in the U.S. government.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"This is a superb book. It covers a tremendous amount of material briefly and clearly without sacrificing complexity or compromising scholarly standards. Moreover, it's balanced; the author has no axe to grind, no partisan agenda he's seeking to further."

— Kenneth L. Grasso, Texas State University

"Wilson has always had the gift of lucidity. . . I like the idea of 'Enduring Questions', as today's students seem to need the bottom line."

— Frederick L. Shiels, Mercy College

"Clarity is the greatest strength of this book. Political nomenclature is explained in a manner that helps students relate the content to their every day lives."

— Bill Wood, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville

"I like the historically grounded character of the text's treatment."

— Thomas Schneider, University of Saint Francis


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

PowerLecture DVD with ExamView®, JoinIn™ Student Response System, Brief  (ISBN-10: 1133594743 | ISBN-13: 9781133594741)

CourseMate with American Government NewsWatch Instant Access, Brief  (ISBN-10: 1133596703 | ISBN-13: 9781133596707)

Cengage Learning's CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Maximize your course success with the integrated eBook and chapter-specific learning tools that include flashcards, quizzes, videos, and more in your CourseMate. Key Features: Interactive eBook, Engagement Tracker, Learning Objectives, Tutorial Quizzes, Glossary and Flashcards, and Web Links and References.

List Price = $122.00  | CengageBrain Price = $122.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $122.00

Student Supplements

LMS Integrated for CourseMate™, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285747895 | ISBN-13: 9781285747897)

List Price = $122.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $122.00

CourseMate with American Government NewsWatch Instant Access, Brief  (ISBN-10: 1133596703 | ISBN-13: 9781133596707)

Cengage Learning's CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Access an integrated eBook, learning tools including flashcards, quizzes, and more, all designed specifically to work with AMERICAN GOVERNMENT, 11th Edition.

List Price = $122.00  | CengageBrain Price = $122.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $122.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

James Q. Wilson

James Q. Wilson most recently taught at Boston College and Pepperdine University. He was Professor Emeritus of Management and Public Administration at UCLA and was previously Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. He wrote more than a dozen books on the subjects of public policy, bureaucracy, and political philosophy. He was president of the American Political Science Association (APSA), and he is the only political scientist to win three of the four lifetime achievement awards presented by the APSA. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 2003. Professor Wilson passed away in March of 2012 after battling cancer. His work helped shape the field of political science in the United States. His many years of service to this textbook remain evident on every page and will continue for many editions to come.

John J. DiIulio, Jr.

John J. DiIulio, Jr. is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania and has won each of Penn's most prestigious teaching awards. He was previously Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He received his PhD in Political Science from Harvard University. He has been a senior fellow and directed research programs at several leading think tanks including the Brookings Institution and has won awards from the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the American Political Science Association, and other bodies. He has advised presidential candidates in both parties, served on bipartisan government reform commissions, and worked as a senior staff member in the White House.

Meena Bose

Meena Bose is executive dean for public policy and public service programs in the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs at Hofstra University. She also is director of Hofstra’s Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from Princeton University. Dr. Bose teaches courses on the American presidency, presidential leadership and policy making, and American politics. She is the author or editor of several volumes in presidency studies and American politics. She taught for six years at the United States Military Academy at West Point.