History

The object of writing a book review on Barbara Tuchman’s novel The Guns of August, of 1,250-1,500 words, Citations on Bibliography were formatted according to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, on a historical text is to point out the conclusions that the author presents in the novel, and to assess the validity of the conclusions.

Writing a book review as an assignment in a history course has at least four important objectives:

· Effective writing;

· A substantive knowledge about a particular historical topic;

· An understanding of the nature and use of historical research; and

· An ability to think critically about the work of others.

Organization of a Book Review

When quoting from or referring to a particular section of the novel you are reviewing, give the page number in a formal citation.  If you draw upon other resources, be sure you cite according to the proper format.

You are not held to any specific order in presenting your review.  However, you will find that it is helpful to check that you have discussed the following in some logical sequence:

· Statement of the purpose and general content of the novel.

· Discussion in detail of the author’s main conclusions and an assessment of their validity, including a comment on sources and a comparison with other authors.

· Overall assessment of the value of the novel to historical literature and of the merits and shortcomings of the work as you see them.

The following outline is only a suggestion:

I. Introduction

A. Purpose of the novel.

B. Author’s Qualifications and Viewpoint.

II. Critical Summary

A. Thesis of the Novel.

B. Summary of contents, indicating how the thesis is developed (Use examples.  While this will generally be the longest part of the review, you should make sure that your review does not become a mere summary without analysis)

III. Style and Presentation

A. Organization of the Novel.

B. Writing Style (word choice, paragraph structure, readability, and length)

IV. Conclusion

A. Historical contribution of the novel (How does the novel fit into the prevailing interpretation of the subject?  Does it break new ground?  Does it answer a troublesome question?  Does it revise older interpretations?  Does it merely clarify and simplify the standard point of view?)

B. Overall worth of the novel (Would you recommend the novel?  For what type of audience would it be best suited?  Did the author accomplish his/her purpose?)

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