Jeff Fleischer is a Chicago-based author, journalist and editor. He is the author of the non-fiction books Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X (2015), and The Latest Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X (2015), and The Latest Craze: A Brief History of Mass Hysterias (2011). His work has appeared in dozens of publications including Mother Jones, The Sydney Morning Herald, Chicago Magazine, The New Republic, Mental_Floss, National Geographic Traveler, and the Chicago Tribune.
"Neither the American electoral nor political process is simple. And if you think so, you've likely got it wrong. Fortunately, self-described political nerd Fleischer is here to clarify things. In a particularly winning voice, abetted by numerous intriguing anecdotes and trivia, Fleischer commences at the beginning, with an origin story (Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Bill of Rights), before moving on to mechanics. He issues an implicit challenge with his introduction--'If there's one thing we know for sure about American government, it's that a lot of Americans don't know much about it'--and then goes on to make sure readers buck that trend. His discussion of the electoral college is a fine example of his compressive clarity: the college is a compromise measure to rein in populous states while avoiding the pitfalls of giving too much power to Congress and state legislatures. It has its drawbacks, but it is not as egregious as push polling ('one of the sleaziest of political dirty tricks') or hindering voter registration. Fleischer works plenty of civics and history into this study of the revelatory power of politics--'Strom Thurmond and George Wallace demonstrated that racists were a large voting bloc'--so his closing suggestions on how readers can get involved and be heard are perfectly placed. Fleischer's primer tenders a wealth of insight in a generous and welcoming manner."--starred, Kirkus Reviews--Journal
"This timely handbook offers a thorough, accessible overview of American elections and voting in six chapters that explore the history and workings of the government, the voting process, political parties, becoming informed about relevant political issues, how elections works, and political engagement. Fleischer avoids hot-button topics, instead looking at the traditional definitions of the Republican and Democratic parties and the practical side of how elections unfold, including discussions of the electoral college, the contested 2000 election, presidential debates, and the role of public opinion polls ('When evaluating poll data, it's always important to look at how the question was worded'). Fleischer's well-contextualized, nonpartisan approach results in a valuable resource for readers looking to understand and become involved in a complicated system while avoiding spin."--Publishers Weekly--Journal