||This text is a comprehensive introduction to contemporary American life. It examines the key institutions of American society, including state and local government, geography, education, law, media and culture. Emphasis is placed on the people of America, including "minorities" and issues of gender. It covers the whole range of topics taught at first year level, focused by a careful, progressive structure. This textbook discusses the nature of American social institutions, their evolution over time through an on-going social debate over public and private needs and rights, the relation of institutions to the diverse complexity of the United States' physical landscape and population groups, and the nation's place in the world. Establishing clearly the facts and diversity of modern American life within an historical context, this work offers an introduction to the complex identities of America.