Select non-fiction books (NOT novels) on the time period covered by this course. Choose books which interest you and notify Dr. Lee of your selection. Keep in mind that these are BOOK REVIEWS-not book reports. Reviews stress analysis and criticism. Reports heavily summarize a book. Criticize. Don’t summarize. A good review includes several elements which are woven together in smoothly-flowing paragraphs to form a double-spaced typed paper of about 4-5 pages. There is NO “works cited” page or bibliography for a book review. Your book review should include the following parts:
• On top of page one, type the book’s citation. For example,
Jones, Maxwell P. My Life In The Counterculture. San Francisco: Free Press,
Inc.,1995. (NOTE: line two of the citation is indented five spaces).
• Clearly state the book’s thesis or main idea. You may use a quotation to illustrate the thesis. When quoting, smoothly introduce the quote (less than three lines of quoted material), cite the page NUMBER, and follow with your analysis.
• Is the thesis proved to your satisfaction? Be specific.
• Select one of the book’s strengths and analyze it.
• Select one of the book’s weaknesses and criticize it.
• Give an example of the author’s writing style. Quote a sample of how he/she uses language to present his/her information and analyze the example. For instance, “The creek flowed red with the blood of America’s youth.” (69) Notice that ONLY PAGE NUMBERS are necessary.
• Examine the author’s sources. Is the bibliography impressive, fair, balanced? Are there footnotes/endnotes?
• Conduct research on the author’s background and qualifications. Dr. Lee will make suggestions for this research.
• Search for TWO other reviews of your book. Quote from them and assess whether or not they agree with your analysis. When quoting from other reviews, cite them like this: “This book vanishes into a haze of 1960s nostalgia” (American Historical Review, May 1995, 301).
• Would you recommend this book to your classmates? Why? Why not?
• Conclude with your name.
As you will notice, there is NO “works cited” page. This book review is a critique of non-fiction historical literature; it is NOT a research paper. Sprinkle quotations throughout your review and follow with analysis. Begin your review with the book’s citation and end with your name. Everything else can be re-arranged. Since you are the reviewer, be creative and original. You are the critic and have complete freedom to analyze the book in your own style. Read and re-read these instructions. They will be discussed in class. If you need book suggestions or assistance, contact Dr. Lee.
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