Recommendations for Intro. to Political Theory Text
By Anonymous, May 20, 2009 in Pedagogy and Teaching

I would love recommendations for a good textbook to supplement primary readings in an Introduction to Political Theory course I'll be teaching this fall. I'm looking for a text that will provide students with historical and theoretical background for individual thinkers, starting in Antiquity and leading up to the Modern Era. The idea is that while most of the time we'll spend focusing on the original sources—Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hobbes, etc.—I won't feel obligated to cover every detail, and students will see the big picture of how each philosopher fits into the broader context. Thanks for your suggestions!

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John von Heyking on May 20, 2009 at 5:51 am

I would definitely recommend Political philosophy : the search for humanity and order / John H. Hallowell, Jene M. Porter.

Also very good is: An invitation to political thought / Kenneth Deutsch, Joseph Fornieri

Gerson Moreno-Riano on May 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

Here are the ones I would recommend:

Arguing about political philosophy (ed., Matt Zwolinkski, Routledge)

Political Philosophy: The essential texts (ed. Cahn, Oxford UP)

Todd Myers on May 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

Hi Gerson,

I have been using Ken Deutsch and Joseph Fornieri's text and I find it to be well done. I have been developing powerpoints for the class that you can access at

I thought about using Strauss/Cropsey. One of my students put it nicely when I showed him this alternative. He stated that I and the sixty year old retiree would be the only people in the class if I used this intellectually more challenging book.

Todd Myers on May 26, 2009 at 10:59 am

Another benefit of Deutsch/Fornieri is that it contains original text excerpts that are directly related to the readings.

Thaddeus Kozinski on Jun 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm

You might try Minerva's Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought, by by Jeffrey Abramson.