Some 150,000 copies of this book have been sold around the world, making Alan Ball's Modern Politics and Government one of the most widely used introductory texts available. Clearly written and straightforward, it demands no prior knowledge and is equally suitable for political science students and those taking a politics course as part of another social science degree. Starting from the definition of politics and the history of its study, it proceeds to introduce a variety of approaches and substantive aspects of political life, drawing examples from a wide range of states and political systems. The author discusses such basic concepts as power, authority, legitimacy, and political culture. He analyzes the characteristics underlying the different systems, including the post-communist systems that have emerged in the former USSR and Eastern Europe since 1989. The book looks at the major elements of the political process, judiciaries, and the political role of the military. The final part has been rewritten to analyze fully the nature of political change in the light of new approaches in political science and the collapse of communism.