“AP Government” typically refers to the U.S. government. If you are an AP Government class student, you will need to start preparing for your test on the very day that you start the class. The following is a list for summer reading. The books are from different categories, but they will all help to prepare you for the AP Government exam.
CliffsNotes AP U.S. Government and Politics by Paul Soifer
Although this is a review book, reading this many months before you actually have to take the test will help you anyway. You will be able to get an overview of what the author considers some of the most important events and people in U.S. history. That way, when you start reading more in-depth accounts of those events and those people, you will be able to have a basic understanding even before you start reading.
Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution, 1776-1995 by David Kyvig
This book will help you understand how the U.S. Constitution has been used and “created” throughout U.S. history. This is a different way of learning about the U.S. Constitution because Kyvig encourages the reader to look for the facts themselves. That way, the reader is engaged in understanding and interpreting the Constitution. A great read because the AP Government exam may ask a few questions about the Constitution.
Projections of Power: Framing News, Public Opinion, and U.S. Foreign Policy by Robert Entman
This book is useful for understanding the role of media in the U.S. government. Entman provides some explanations for why and how certain policies were enacted, and why some presidents said what they said. You’ll also find a helpful index and a comprehensive list of resources and references.
Restless Giant by James Patterson
Those who enjoy reading a more “narrative”-style text will enjoy this book. “Restless Giant” is an account of the last 40 or so years. Although this is not primarily about the U.S. Government and how it works, “Restless Giant” will still be useful for putting one’s information into context. After all, if you are learning about why and how certain policies were enacted, then you also need to know about the context of those policies and who enacted them.
The U.S. government and the Vietnam war executive and legislative roles and relationships by William Gibbons
Gibbons describes what happened “behind the scenes” before, during, and after the Vietnam war. Because the AP Government exam will ask questions about why some policies are enacted, this book will help readers understand and write about the politics behind the Vietnam war.