Book Review. A book review is a
critical analysis of the book. A book report is an explanation of the book.
Students in academia perform reviews, not reports.
This assignment is patterned after the
book reviews that historians draft for professional journals such as the
Journal of American History and the American Historical Review. One of the
goals is to introduce a new topic, a different interpretation, or to allow you
to examine more deeply a topic of your choice.
Another goal of this assignment is to
develop your critical thinking and analytical means because unlike a book
report that merely discusses the book in a linear narrative manner, a book
review is a critical examination of the author’s thesis, use of evidence, and
conclusion. It will be at least five double-spaced pages in length. Again, do
not do the minimum and expect a superior grade. Use the monograph you selected
on day one.
Grade: Your grade for this assignment
will be based on form and content to include grammar, spelling, analysis, and
critical thinking. It must conform to the minimum length requirements or else
you will receive a less-than-passing grade for this assignment. You will upload
your review as a Word (.doc, .docx or
.rtf) file. Any other format will result in you receiving a zero for this
I. Heading. At the top of the first
page only you need to place the proper citation. Please follow this model
Title of Book. By Author (Place of
Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication). Page numbers. Reviewed by Your
Name, Date of Review.
Homeward Bound: American Families in
the Cold War Era. By Elaine Tyler May (New York: Basic Books, 1988). vii + 284
pp. Reviewed by S. Ballard, May 6, 2009.
II. Body. The review itself is a critical
examination of the author’s theses,evidence, and analysis.
A. One (1) to Two (2) Paragraph Introduction
1. Tell the reader about the author
2. Why is the author interested in the
3. Why did the author write the book?
B. Two (2) to Four (4) Pages on the
1. What is/are the author’s
2. What evidence does the author use?
3. Is the author’s argument(s)
effective? Defend your answer.
C. Two (2) to Three (3) Paragraphs on
what worked or did not work for you
1. What was interesting?
2. What did not work for you? Defend
D. One (1) Paragraph Conclusion
1. Who would be interested in reading
2. What level (novice, secondary
school, undergrads, grad students, etc.) of expertise is this book written for?
3. End on a positive note.
A. Citations – please cite work by
placing a parenthetical page number before the punctuation. For example,
according to the author “this book is great” (4).
B. Bibliography – there is neither a
bibliography nor a “works cited” page on a formal book review.
C. Cover page – there is no cover page
on a formal book review. The heading of a book review takes the place of any
cover sheet. This assignment is worth 20% of your final grade.
Monograph (CHOOSE ONE):
“I Am a Man”: Chief Standing
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge by Joe
These are the choices for the book you
will read and analyze in your Critical Analysis Paper