Adding a topic entry

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A topic entry serves to show how the various books work together to explore major questions in American history and to point out opportunities for additional reading.

Each topic should be broken down into manageable sections. Each section gets a second level subhead, e.g., == Subtopic ==

Each section should have the following components:

  1. A historiographical question or questions posed by the historians who have studied it.
  2. A mini-esssay based on summaries of the books now entered in the wiki, explaining how the authors of those books answered the question or questions. These summaries should link to the wiki pages on the individual books.
  3. A list of additional books not yet read.

Presently, the New Deal page best exemplifies this format.

Some tips:

  • The book summaries are largely summaries of the book entries. Feel free to cut and paste from those entries; using quotation marks and attribution is too burdensome. However, it makes sense to attribute criticism of the books to the critic.
  • Go beyond summaries of individual books to show how the books engage with each other. That is, rather than just writing that Historian A says one thing and Historian B another, explain whether they agree or disagree and, if the latter, the basis of their debate.
  • Don't be afraid to leave some sections blank or to pose questions to be resolved later. The historiographiki is a continuing enterprise, and blanks now may point the way to interesting discussions later.
  • Try to link to other topic entries and, especially, book entries whenever possible.
  • If someone reads a book on the "to be read" list, she should remove it from that list and add a summary of its argument to the mini-essay.

Occasionally, you may want to write on a relatively narrow topic at greater length than would be appropriate for a main topic page. In that case, you may set up a subtopic page. See, for example, Recognition of the Soviet Union and Backlash in the Urban Northeast. If you set up one of these pages, please keep the title as short as possible for ease in linking.

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