tinhat
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I want to do history and politics at uni, but I haven't read any political books. This is obviously problematic because I don't have much to say for myself in my personal statement in regards to politics. I know it doesn't really look very impressive to mention 'introduction' books and they're too expensive for me to afford anyway (my school library is also tiny and rubbish). Can anybody recommend any books that I will be able to understand, but will also look good on my PS?
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returnmigrant
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Be careful about mentioning any specific books by name - it can look a bit gauche, especially if you say something cringeworthy/naive/juvenile etc about a well known work, and you risk making it obvious you havnt understood it or are reading out of your depth.

Much safer is to say something like "I have become interested in Human Rights/Rousseau/the Inter-War period (or whatever), and have followed this up with some more in-depth reading, including Smith & Jones 'xxxx" etc. This tells the ADmissions Tutor your interest is bigger than what you are being fed as part of A levels and you are developing specific interests of your own within these subjects. But it doesnt risk making you look a prat.

Reading 'Introduction to ...' books is a great way to get your head around some of the differences between school level study and what the subject is about at Uni level. You dont need to mention these by name, just some of the ideas within them that you found intriguing/interesting. A good one for History is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Studying-His.../dp/1403987343 (not expensive and will be a useful reference book during a degree so worth buying), one for Politics could be http://www.amazon.co.uk/Politics-Int...ction+politics as a general introduction as it will introduce you to the main ideas in politics and stuff about political thought - both have suggestions for further reading etc. Btw, you could get these books on inter-library loan from your local public library - just ask.
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tinhat
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Be careful about mentioning any specific books by name - it can look a bit gauche, especially if you say something cringeworthy/naive/juvenile etc about a well known work, and you risk making it obvious you havnt understood it or are reading out of your depth.

Much safer is to say something like "I have become interested in Human Rights/Rousseau/the Inter-War period (or whatever), and have followed this up with some more in-depth reading, including Smith & Jones 'xxxx" etc. This tells the ADmissions Tutor your interest is bigger than what you are being fed as part of A levels and you are developing specific interests of your own within these subjects. But it doesnt risk making you look a prat.

Reading 'Introduction to ...' books is a great way to get your head around some of the differences between school level study and what the subject is about at Uni level. You dont need to mention these by name, just some of the ideas within them that you found intriguing/interesting. A good one for History is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Studying-His.../dp/1403987343 (not expensive and will be a useful reference book during a degree so worth buying), one for Politics could be http://www.amazon.co.uk/Politics-Int...ction+politics as a general introduction as it will introduce you to the main ideas in politics and stuff about political thought - both have suggestions for further reading etc. Btw, you could get these books on inter-library loan from your local public library - just ask.
Thanks for your advice, so it would be ok to just read the introduction book, and talk about particular theories that I found interesting? My fear was looking like I didn't know what I was talking about when mentioning specific books :L
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by tinhat)
so it would be ok to just read the introduction book, and talk about particular theories that I found interesting?
Yes, that would do fine. It doesnt need to be anything elaborate (you arent writing an essay), just a sentence or two on 'I'm interested in ....... because ......' would be enough.
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tinhat
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
Yes, that would do fine. It doesnt need to be anything elaborate (you arent writing an essay), just a sentence or two on 'I'm interested in ....... because ......' would be enough.
Ok thanks, I've ordered the book you recommended so hopefully it will help
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StretfordEnd
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I went to an open day at leads and the head of the POLIS department highly recommended 'On Politics' which is basically a comparative history and explanation of Politics 'from Herodotus to the present' . So far, I'm find it really engaging and considering you want joint honours in history it would be pretty useful for you too I suppose!
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ItsyaboiBadgehot
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Badgehot's 'The English Constitution' is a fantastic start, used in the creation of legislation as a 'Text of Authority' and is a back bone of the contemporary Political legislative system, easy to read, not too long, and a respected work of political theory. Seriously Suggest getting a copy from E-bay. (If the course offers American Politics, the American constitution is a genuinely fantastic grounding, and can be bought new, as part of the Penguin 'Little Black Books' collection for a quid.
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