Critical Book Review

Title the first part of your paper Summary. Summarize the book in two pages. A summary is a condensed version of a longer work – your ideas and interpretations do not belong in the summary. Analysis and evaluation will come later in the book review. The first step to writing a good summary is to read carefully the book that you are to summarize. Highlight key ideas, people, and events, and identify the author’s thesis. Make notes. After you have done this, you are ready to write your summary of the book.a. Early in the introductory paragraph, include the author’s name, the title of the book (italicized), and the date of publication. State the author’s thesis with a strong verb like “argues” or “maintains.” Underline the sentence containing the statement of the author’s thesis.b. The body paragraphs of your summary should include the author’s main points and necessary explanation in the order in which they appear in the book. You are summarizing a book, so do not provide a chapter-by-chapter summary; however, the chapter headings may be useful in helping you to identify the author’s main points.
Title the second part of your paper Analysis. In another four to five pages you will analyze and evaluate the book. In the summary, you identified the author’s thesis or controlling idea and his/her main points. Now you will proceed to analyze and evaluate what the author has said. Underline the sentence in the introductory paragraph of the analysis section in which you state your closed thesis in your evaluation of the book. Your thesis and your analysis must focus on the historical, not literary, aspects of the book.
You will find an information sheet on thesis statement development in Content>Writing Resources.
You should look at:Organization- How is the book structured – chronologically, thematically, or some combination of the two? How does the author support his/her thesis?
What are some significant assumptions of the author?Logic – In developing his/her thesis, how does the author use sources to support his/her assertions?Audience – For what audience did the author write the book? What techniques does the author use to engage the reader?Language – Word choice, tone, and complexity.b. You must read at least two reviews of the book. One must be in a scholarly journal; the other may be in a scholarly journal or a major newspaper. Include a discussion of the viewpoints of the reviewers in your analysis of the book in section d below along with your analysis of the book. If you do not know how to find reviews, a reference librarian can help you. You should check to ensure that you are able to find the two reviews after selecting your book to avoid a last-minute panic. Attach copies of the reviews to your book review.c. You must comment on the sources the author used, i.e., primary or secondary in your analysis in section d below. What are the sources—letters, government documents, memoirs, archeological, etc.? Do the sources support the thesis? Are they clearly identified?d. Finally, at least two-thirds of the analysis section will evaluate the historical arguments and ideas. What contributes to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the book? What is the author’s perspective? Why did the author write the book? Be sure that you draw conclusions from your analysis as you end your review.