Book Review

Write a review of a book selected from the list of potential readings for your assigned week. Your review should identify and summarize the important claims made by the author. You also must make an argument about how the work relates to other course materials or discussions. How does this book influence our understanding of public understandings of the past or public history as a practice?

You will find reading GMU Professor Schrag’s recommendation for writing reviews helpful, along with other resources for students he has on his site http://historyprofessor.org/. You also will want to read reviews of your book from publications such as the Public HistorianReviews in American History, and the Journal of American History available through the JSTOR database.

Learning Objectives for the Book Review

  • To engage with the study of public understandings of the past
  • To identify, summarize, and analyze a scholarly argument
  • To interpret the value of a scholarly work for the scholarly field or professional practice of public history
  • To effectively structure and organize a piece of formal academic writing
  • To cite sources in an accepted academic style
  • To produce clear and polished writing

Requirements

  • 500 words / 2 pages
  • 12 pt font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins (Times New Roman/Cambria/Garamond)
  • Citations and bibliography in Chicago style

Timeline

Week 8-10  – On the assigned week, you will provide a 5-10 minute oral presentation on your book to the class. The final draft of the Book Review will be due in class and in Dropbox on the same day.

Evaluation

The Book Review will be evaluated according to the rubric below. The final draft of the Book Review counts for 5% of the course grade.

Rubric for Book Review

A:  In an “A” paper, the student demonstrates that they

  • understand and can summarize the arguments being made by the author
  • have a compelling and convincing interpretation of the work under consideration
  • can inform the reader how this work influences our understanding of public history
  • can incorporate quotes, write paraphrases and summaries, and cite sources appropriately
  • can execute a polished, well-organized, and error-free piece of formal academic writing

B:  In a “B” paper, the student demonstrates that they

  • understand and can summarize most aspects of the arguments being made by author
  • have their own interpretation of the work under consideration
  • can convey to the reader how this work will inform our understanding of public history
  • can incorporate quotes, write paraphrases and summaries, and cite sources correctly
  • can execute an organized and error-free piece of formal academic writing

C:  In a “C” paper, the student demonstrates that they

  • can repeat and describe the arguments being made by the author
  • have attempted to offer their own interpretation of the work under consideration
  • have attempted to convey to the reader how this work influences our understanding of public history
  • have difficulty incorporating quotes, writing paraphrases and summaries, or citing sources correctly
  • have difficulty executing an organized and error-free piece of formal academic writing

D:  In a “D” paper, the student demonstrates that they

  • have difficulty identifying the arguments being made by author
  • have not attempted to offer their own interpretation of the work under consideration
  • are unclear or unsure of how this work influences our understanding of public history
  • have difficulty incorporating quotes, writing paraphrases and summaries, or citing sources correctly
  • have difficulty executing an organized and error-free piece of formal academic writing

F:  In an “F” paper, the student demonstrates that they

  • are unable to identify the arguments being made by author
  • have not attempted to offer their own interpretation of the work under consideration
  • have not considered how this work influences our understanding of public history
  • have difficulty incorporating quotes, writing paraphrases and summaries, or citing sources correctly
  • have difficulty executing an organized and error-free piece of formal academic writing

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