Table of Contents

Donald P. Lazere




The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric

By Donald Lazere

 March 2005  

This innovative and affordable textbook for first-year English and more advanced composition and critical thinking courses addresses the need for college students to develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills for self-defense in the contentious arena of American civic rhetoric. In a groundbreaking reconception of composition theory, it presents a comprehensive critical perspective on the discourse of American politics and media and practical methods for its analysis.

Exercises and readings cover opposing viewpoints in current controversies—such as the growing inequality of wealth in America and its impact on the finances of college students – as expressed in paired sets of readings from the political left and right.  Widely debated issues of whether objectivity is possible and whether there is a liberal or conservative bias in news and entertainment media, as well as in education itself, are foregrounded as topics for rhetorical analysis.

$42.95 (pb)
ISBN 1-59451-085-7  
For more information or exam copies call 303-245-9054, or email



“Lazere has given us a thoughtful, beautifully organized, and eminently user-friendly book that enables teachers to [give] their students a way in to some of the most important and contentious public controversies of our time.”

Gerald Graff, Professor of English and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Don Lazere has produced one of the most intelligent, relevant, and important books in composition studies in the last decade. Give this to every student, adult, and citizen who believes that learning, writing, and democracy mutually inform each other.”

Henry A. Giroux, Professor of Education, Pennsylvania State University

“What a smart book! Here is an intelligent rhetoric text that honestly faces the politics of our times. Writing teachers will benefit from the tools Lazere provides and students will benefit by becoming better writers and more informed readers of their society.”

Ira Shor, Professor of Education, CUNY Graduate Center

 “Lazere's [text] is heaven-sent, and will provide a crucial link in the chain of understanding how conflicts are structured and, most important, how they can be rationally addressed—a healthy antidote to the skepticism that has become so pervasive in academic life.”

Alan Hausman, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College



  • A chapter on elementary definitions of political terms and ideological positions builds on Lazere’s widely reprinted article “Teaching the Political Conflicts: A Rhetorical Schema” in College Composition and Communication

  •  Heuristics such as “A Semantic Calculator for Bias in Rhetoric” and “Ground Rules for Polemicists” help identify the viewpoints and evaluate the rhetorical strategies of the authors of readings in the book.

  •  Readings not only encompass classic humanistic authors but serve as a who’s who of current commentators on the American right and left.

  •  Up-to-date guides are provided for researching sources on the Internet and elsewhere, emphasizing sources on the left and right on current events and controversies.