Critical Book Reviews

For your Critical Book Review you may choose any NON-FICTION book that fits the time frame of the course and is of reasonable length and scholarship. I suggest that you skim through the textbook to see what topics are of particular interest to you to get ideas for a book you would like to review. You might want to look at the books listed History 1302 Book Analysis List and the History Department's Bibliography. You cans also search for books by campus at the Library's History 1302 Reading List.  You are not limited to these selections. If you have a question about any of the books or have a particular interest that is not adequately addressed in the text, please consult with me. Whatever book you choose, you must bring it to me for approval on or before MARCH 23 for M-W classes and MARCH 24  for T-Th classes. Reviews of books that were not approved WILL NOT BE GRADED. Book Reviews are due no later than APRIL 18  for M-W classes and APRIL 19 for T-Th classes. A letter grade will be deducted for each class day that the review is turned in late. You will also need to send a copy to SafeAssign via Blackboard named "your name." A letter grade will be deducted for each class day that the review is turned in late. Your review should be typed, double spaced and not less than 1000 words nor more than 1250 words. In your review you should:

1. If possible, and pertinent, include a brief biographical account of the author. What is his/her background and professional training? How might this affect the author/s viewpoint? When was the book written? How might this affect the author's treatment of the subject?  I suggest that you first consult Biography in Context and the Gale Literary Databases which can be online found in the ACC Electronic Databases. You might also look at these print sources: American Women Historians and The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing. For help in identifying factors from the time the book book was written, try the database American History Online. Use the "Timelines" link on the opening page. If you still need help, consult a librarian

2. Briefly summarize the author's main arguments. Do not describe point by point what the author said. You are to identify and EVALUATE the author's thesis (theses). Why did the author write the book? What does he/she want to prove? Is he/she convincing? Why or why not? How does the author organize and convey the material? You will need to quote relevant passages from the book to show how the author substantiates or fails to substantiate his/her thesis. Make sure to PROVIDE PAGE NUMBERS WHEN YOU QUOTE. Does the author agree or disagree with your text or what has been said in class?  What changes would make this a better work? What types of sources were used? Is this book readable and well-written? What is your overall reaction to the book and the subject covered? Make sure to SUPPORT YOUR ARGUMENTS.

3. Proofread your review to eliminate errors of spelling, grammar, construction, typing, etc... This WILL affect your grade. Make sure that your review has a coherent theme and is sensibly organized. Consider visiting the free tutors in the Learning Labs or using the free online tutors at Smarthinking (in the Tools menu on Blackboard). Make sure that you GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. Use quotation marks and give page numbers to identify quotes and the ideas of others.

4. You may wish to see what other scholars have written about the book you are reviewing. I suggest that you first consult the following online databases that can be found through the ACC library website: Academic Search Premier, Masterfile Premier, and JSTORYou might want to consult the Library's Research Guides for help selecting books and writing your review and the ACC History Department for further assistance in searching for book reviews.

5. Make sure to include a BIBLIOGRAPHY that uses a correct form and lists all the sources you have used. Online help for citing sources can be found for both Turabian or MLA styles. Help understanding plagiarism can be found at the ACC Library website and Recognize that SafeAssign is not the final arbitrator of plagiarized material.

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