Unlike most competing texts that are densely written and heavily theoretical, with little flavor of political life, this book is a readable, jargon-free introduction to real-life local politics for today's students. While it encompasses local government and politics in cities and towns across America, "Local Politics: A Practical Guide to Governing at the Grassroots" gives special attention to the politics of suburbia, where many students live, and encourages them to become engaged in their own communities. The book is also distinguished by its strong emphasis on nuts-and-bolts practical politics. It provides focused discussion of institutions, roles, and personalities as well as the dynamic environment of local politics (demographics, immigration, globalization, etc.) and major policy issues (budgets, land use, transportation, education, etc.). Other texts treat communities as abstractions and readers as passive observers. "Local Politics: A Practical Guide to Governing at the Grassroots" is designed to inspire civic engagement as well as understanding. It features "In Your Community" research projects for students in every chapter along with informative tables, clear charts, essential terms, and guides to useful websites.