As Part 2 of your research paper preparation, you will submit a 2-3 page book review of one of the books that deals with the history of migration or music in your chosen city. You should check your selection with the instructor before beginning, to make sure you have made an appropriate choice. The review should be modeled after the kind of academic review that would appear in a history journal or review publication. Your review should demonstrate your understanding of the main ideas and arguments of the author and your critical perspective on the presentation and validity of the arguments. Your review also should make an argument of its own, that supports a thesis statement with analysis and evidence. As it is a review, your thesis should relate to your opinion of the book, its argument and contributions.
Academic reviews vary from author to author, but most contain:
An introduction to the main points that will be made in the review
A summary of the main argument of the book – i.e. what is the author’s main thesis or contribution
Contribution of this argument – what does the book tell us that is new or different?
Criticism of this argument – is it persuasive? What are its weaknesses?
Evaluation of the source material – did the author use enough primary and secondary sources to support their ideas?
Concluding remarks that summarize the review
A book review is not a book report – you should be careful not to simply summarize the content of the book, chapter by chapter. Instead, think about the main idea you learned from each chapter and how those ideas fit together in the book. Once you can summarize the argument of the book, think about whether you found it persuasive. If you did, can you explain why? If not, what information or part of the argument was missing or unconvincing?
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