Book reviews are critical assessments of a particular work. For this assignment you will evaluate one of the 4 monographs we’ve read for the class—The Naked Olympics, The Year 1000, Napoleon, or Maus I.
For the assignment you must do three things:
1. Rank the book on a scale of 1-10 for what it teaches a college history student about the past. Answer the question of whether you think this book should be assigned to future students. Be specific in your critiques and praise.
2. Describe how you personally connected to the book. What part of the narrative reminded you of, perhaps, your family’s history or a formative experience that you might have had. We all react differently to the things we read, so critically assess your own reaction.
3. Discuss the sources used by the author. Did they seem reliable? Can you think of a sources or type of source that would have brought something beneficial to the work that was not utilized? In answering this question, you’re assessing the methodology of the author.
– 2-3 pages, double spaced
– Must include specific (but usually short) quotations directly from the book
– Should be analytical, not narrative
– Must have citations of some recognizable form—endnotes or footnotes, Chicago, APA, or some other standardized format
– Should use first person voice for question 2; third person for the rest.
The best papers will be specific and insightful. Don’t resort to gushing praise or sweeping criticisms, unless of course you can provide evidence for such statements. Think like a scholar of history who is assessing how valuable and trustworthy this particular book is.
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