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Nation of Devils by Stein Ringen Even in the modern day and age people still have a lot of questions about what makes a successful government, how the government gained the right to rule, what real power do they have,  how that power works, and how do governments earn their citizens trust, well luckily Stein Ringen book called Nation of Devils goes over all of that.  It takes the time to neatly break down all the elements of how a government works, and its responsibilities.  The book Nation of Devils is filled with factual important information on the way government works and its power, however, it left little room for discussion, used and overly cynical tone, and gave the ever so bothersome allusion of a bias.  Through the book, Stein Ringen takes an analytical look at the effectiveness of government focusing mainly on the United States and the UK while also taking the occasional look at other governments like South Korea, which was mainly used to show the contrast in the usage of power.  One key point that is brought up in most of this book’s entirety is that the efficiency of the government has a direct correlation with power, legitimacy, and strong leadership.  The importance of a government being as efficient and effective as possible is emphasized through the whole book underlining the fact that if a government was lacking in these areas would not be able to complete the government’s two main duties of giving commands and singles.  Getting citizens to obey and enforcing declarations was the topic of the next chunk of the book.  It is made clear that the best way to get citizens to Obey is to earn their loyalty and trust, otherwise the government is very likely to collapse.   He takes the final section of the book to describe what changes he thinks needs to be made in order for the US and UK governments to become more efficient governments according to his pre-discussed criteria. By just looking at the cover and flipping through the table of contents you can already tell Nation of Devils is a book for the few not for the many. It unnecessarily and mostly unintentionally created a very small cadence base for itself. The author successfully was able to cover everything that he set out to in his Preface in a non-confusing and easy to understand way. This is not the type of book that you can just sit down and read, but rather it is the type of book that makes you think. The average person would probably find this book interesting but due to the way it is presented. In a book about political theories you have to tread lightly otherwise people won’t take the time to listen and learn all you can teach them because you ruffle their feathers the wrong way. By using harsh wording it seemed as though he was attacking the reader. He even went as far as to say that the United States is a completely dysfunctional democracy. It was small things like these that took away from the overall narrative and, discredit him by making him look like a radical. If his goal was to persuade people into his line of thinking it is plain to see that the author falls short of achieving this goal by chasing off people with conflicting views through his book. Just the title of the book would scare off potential readers. In the end, it doesn’t matter how right he is in his thinking because no one is going to take the time to listen.     One of the smaller imperfections of this book was that it read more like a transcript of a lecture that was meant to be taught to a group of students rather than a book. The biggest factor that played in this was the fact that at the end of the chapters there is a review section not only of that chapter but everything he has discussed in the entirety of the book. This is common for teachers to do at the end of a lecture to help the students retain the information more efficiently, but in a book, it just seemed to interrupt the overall narrative. He constantly refers to books, speeches, and other publications throughout the entirety of the book. This is not necessarily a bad thing and even adds to the book at some points, like when he spoke about Michael Barber’s book Instruction to Deliver. However, this was overused at some points and made it seem like he was trying to teach us these other texts rather than presenting us with his own original thoughts. These are most likely habits that he picked up being a professor at Oxford, but if these elements were left out the book would have been more of a coherent reading experience. There is also a recurring bias tone appearing throughout the book.  The first thing I noticed was the majority of criticism that was directed towards any single person was directed at either Tony Blair or the Obama administration.  On page 106 he shows a shocking and out of place glorification of his home country that he lived in stating that it had a far more efficient government in comparison to the UK.  What he stated could be the truth but the fact that he states that he is from there makes him seem discreditable.  It is said that presentation is everything, well the presentation is precisely where this book falls flat.  From an existing bias tone to unnecessarily harsh language throughout the book there are many reasons that people could find to stop reading this book altogether out of sheer frustration.  If only a few small changes would have been made this book could have reached a much wider audience, and spread its message of change to a greater degree of success. Hopefully, people took the time to look past that and give the book a real chance because the information that resides within its pages is truly worth wild.  When talking about complect topics like the success or failure of a government it may be hard for some people to grasp. Well, Stein Ringen solution to that was that through the chapters of this book he helps to explain meaning key governmental terms to help the reader better understand where he is coming from. By taking this concept and using them to his advantage he was able to better back up what he was saying and appear slightly more credible.   He spent a great deal of time talking about the British government during this book do to the fact that it was one of his two main governments he focused on. Within the government, he seemed to focus his time on both the new Labour movement and the British parliamentary system.  New Labour in brought up over eight separate times rather excessively from the beginning of the book till the second to last chapter.  The first time he brought it up was to help explain how governments rule by showing the readers the undisputed success under Tony Blair and then it’s spectacular fall after being taken over by  Mr. Brown. The second time New Labour was spoken of again was when he was criticizing them for the inability to make policy. In all most of the things that he had to say about new Labour weren’t all that friendly, and he even went as far a to say it was simply an idea that had nothing to back it up.  When talking about their parliamentary system it was mostly brought up at the end of the book when he pointed out its flaws and suggested a series of reforms.  Most of the changes that he mentioned were a bit drastic but realistic and most likely exactly what needs to happen. As stated before the concept of power was brought up constantly and in many different ways through this book.  For instants how power is obtained, how it was used, and most importantly what gave certain people the authority to hold it.  Legitimacy was the clear answer to showing that having power doesn’t matter without the existence of proper legitimacy.  He preceded to talked a lot about how legitimacy gives leaders their necessary authority and that the more authority a government or leader has the more efficient it would be, and the more loyal and obedient the citizen would act.  It is because of these facts that he stressed the absolute importance of legitimacy.     Steins Ringen’s book is by no means what’s so ever an easy read but, having said that everyone should be encouraged to read this book and really think about what it is saying.  If a reader were to take the time to look past its flaws and really see what it is about they would most definitely leave knowing a little something more about democratic governments then the knowledge they came in with.  To summarize things up this was without a doubt an ambitious book with a lot of potential that regrettably it didn’t quite active all that it could have.

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