PURPOSE OF A BOOK REVIEW
The most consistent error of students in writing book reviews is that they write book reports. While to some degree you must report what the book says in order for YOUR ARGUMENT to make sense, your assignment is to think critically about why the book is or is not successful. The purpose of this assignment is to have you thinking critically about successful historical arguments. This will serve you in your activities as a historian. The Book Review of Parson’s book is due Oct 14.
BOOK REVIEW REQUIREMENTS
Part 1: Introduction
An introductory paragraph must have introductory remarks and a clearly stated thesis.
The thesis must answer the question of why this book is or is not a useful tool for a historian. For example, the thesis might look something like this:
In the book…( be specific) the author (be specific) fails/succeeds in proving her/his thesis… (be specific). This failure/success is due to …(be specific).
Keep in mind the requirements of a good history book: argument, evidence, logic, sources, etc.
Part 2: Content Report
Summarize the content (and, if appropriate, the organization) of the book. This is the “report” part of the review.
Part 3: Analysis of the book
This section should analyze specific examples from the book to prove the thesis of your review, not the thesis of the book
Questions to consider when analyzing a book include (but are not limited to): Does the author prove her/his thesis? Does the author use and cite specific examples and good sources? Is the author’s analysis logical and persuasive? Is the author’s writing clear and comprehensible?
Part 4: Peer Evaluation
This section will require you to conduct research to discover what other historians have said, positively or not, about your author, and more specifically, the book in question. This aspect is important, for it is vital that you understand not only your own opinion of the book, but the opinions of other professional historians.
Part 5: Conclusion
Do you recommend this book to other historians? If so, why; if not, why not?
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