Global Systems – REES; JONES (CSS)

REES, David J.; JONES, Michael G. Global Systems. Edmonton: Arnold Publishing Ltd. 1999. 486p. Resenha de: BOYD, Kenneth. Canadian Social Studies, v.37, n.1, 2002.

As an educator I believe that students need to better understand the world they live in. In order to do this they have to be able to critically examine the political and economic systems that have brought about 20th century societies. If you are looking for a textbook to help students do this, then Global Systems is the one. Right from the beginning, Rees and Jones set out to explain the book’s purposes and make it very easy for the reader to understand what things they want to bring out.

Global Systems examines four political and economic issues with which 20th century societies are confronted. Part I traces the development of contemporary political and economic systems in theory. It accomplishes this by examining the values, beliefs, ideologies and thoughts upon which they are based. Models are used to assist in the understanding of these interrelationships and simple charts visually show the relationships between ideas. Part II looks at 20th century political and economic systems using case studies. These apply the theory and models used for understanding political and economic systems to case studies of different real-world democratic and non-democratic systems. The eight case studies deal with Canada, the United States, Sweden, Japan, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and China. After reading any one of these case studies the reader will have a very good understanding of all the issues. Interestingly, when certain points are raised in one case study they are compared to similar points in Canada. Models are used again, relating ideologies to political systems and economic systems and then relating political and economic systems to political economies. Part III deals with the challenges of the 21st century. The authors look at some contemporary issues and ideas including the examination of concepts such as nationalism, globalization, technology and information, global disparities, population growth and aging along with environmental protection.

Throughout the textbook the reader will find supplemental information, in the form of model icons, charts and related curriculum content, in the margins. The titles are coded by size, type and colour. This enables the reader to easily identify how the content is organized. Teachers will be able to easily create topic outlines of chapter content simply by following the hierarchy of headings. Review pages at the end of each chapter include a chapter summary along with questions and activities to assist learning. There are four pages of summary material inside the front and back covers for quick reference.

The Appendix provides the reader with a variety of ideas for studying, making notes, critical thinking, analyzing sources, essay writing and preparing for and writing exams. Some graphic organizers are provided as sample formats for organizing and learning new material. This textbook even has a web site dedicated to parts of it; readers simply key in a code supplied with the textbook. Overall the textbook is well written and the layout is exceptional with full colour. I highly recommend Global Systems for use as a classroom textbook or for one’s own reference.

Kenneth Boyd – Rosetown Central High School. Rosetown, Saskatchewan.

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