How to write a history book review essay

History instructors have three good reasons for assigning reviews, whether of books, films, exhibits, tours, or other works.

how to write a history book review essay

First, a review requirement ensures that students will do how to write a history book review essay assigned reading, or whatever else is being reviewed. It is much harder to fake familiarity with w work when one is required to write about it. Second, reviews esxay logistically easy. Students assigned a what are secondary sources in essay writing paper will necessarily spend a lot of time hunting for a topic, finding sources, and wandering down dead ends.

In contrast, if an instructor assigns a review of required reading, the students begin with a topic and their sources, so they can spend their time reading, thinking, and writing.

Third, and by far most important, review essays provide practice in one of the most valuable skills offered by a liberal arts hhistory the skill of critical reading. When I assign a review, it is this skill that I hope to see displayed.

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The first step in a review is to describe the work and its topic. For example, if you were to review a biography of Charles Lindbergh, it would be histofy to give your reader some idea of who Charles Lindbergh was, and bbook someone might want to read a book about him, before you gallop off to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book itself. The trick is to provide the necessary summary in as short a space as possible.

The second task is bok describe the work itself. That is, rather than upsc essay writing tips in hindi the story of the Erie Canal, you are now telling a story about how Carol Sheriff wrote a history of the Erie Canal.

Who is her audience? What how to write a history book review essay does she use?

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What arguments yow she make? Is the book more analytical or narrative? Is it just words, or pictures how to write a history book review essay In short, what was the author trying to do?

For example, the U. Congress recently expressed concern that the National Park Service was doing a fine job of explaining military history to visitors to Civil War sites, but it was doing little to educate them about the root causes of the war, notably slavery.

how to write a history book review essay

In this case, the Congress journal review essay sample as exhibit reviewer and gow the case that the function of Park Service interpretation needed to be reconsidered. While you do not need to like the work you are reviewing, please how to write a history book review essay that criticism is more than complaint. Book authors have a limited number of pages, curators have a limited amount of exhibit space, and everyone is constrained by finite time, money, and sources.

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Before demanding that a historian take on an additional task, you might think about what portions of a book, exhibit, or film could have been eliminated to make room. Before complaining that the historian focused only on one group wrrite people, ask if other groups left the records the historian would need to tell their stories as well.

how to write a history book review essay

It may help to imagine that you are giving advice to a historian about to create a work similar to the one you are reviewing. What constructive lessons can you provide? If this sounds formulaic, it is. Sometimes formulas have their merits. Indeed, perhaps the best preparation for writing a review as a college assignment is to read other academic reviews.

Among the best are the review essays not the capsule reviews published in the American Historical Review and Reviews in American History.

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Regardless of your affiliation, you can read similar reviews, though less uniformly excellent ones, at H-Net Reviews. The important thing to remember is that a book, exhibit, or other scholarly work is a tool with a specific function.

how to write a history book review essay

To evaluate the tool, you must first understand the function. And having done that, you must explain it to your reader, answering the question, what is this book good for? And that is critical reading.]