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Every American is impacted by public policy issues, yet most of us do not fully understand them. What are public policies, and why are they necessary? What types of public policies are there, and which have been most controversial? Building on the success of the popular first edition, the author uses an historical approach to answer these and many other fundamental questions, often through the lens of different strands of policy theory. He illuminates the intricate interactions of the dynamic social and political forces that result in the creation, maintenance, and reform of public policy. In an accessible and engaging writing style, Wilson effectively examines and contrasts different positions on controversial issues, provides a wide range of examples, and fills in important details. Landmark legal cases and their policy ramifications are clearly explained, and a list of websites at the close of each chapter points readers to the most up-to-date sources of information on current public policy issues.