AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY: THE ESSENTIALS 2011-2012 EDITION inspires students to join the exciting process of being active, informed citizens. Bardes, Shelley, and Schmidt provide an unbiased and concisely organized overview of this essential subject, updated with complete Election 2010 coverage and the latest on the economic downturn and recovery policy. The text's fundamental theme continues to be the importance of participating in active citizenship, emphasizing continual critical thinking about political issues, and encouraging students to become involved in the political process. With a keen understanding of the needs and interests of today's students, the authors incorporate abundant current examples, including increased coverage of the impact of the Internet and other media, to stimulate learning and excitement. The text is redesigned for even greater reader appeal.