Political History Book Review

Approved Book List Thomas Kidd, Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots, 2011. John Pafford, The Forgotten Conservative: Rediscovering Grover Cleveland, 2013. Andrew Hogue, Stumping God: Reagan, Carter, and the Invention of a Political Faith, 2012. BOOK REVIEW INSTRUCTIONS The student will review 1 scholarly book of his/her choice from the Book Review Approved Book List. Failure to use a book from this list will result in an automatic 50% grade reduction. All books will be available in e-format through the Jerry Falwell Library. The Book Review must contain 700–800 words and must focus on the author’s argument in support of his or her thesis. Use parenthetical citations when citing material from the book. Here are some additional tips and suggestions. 1. Above all, what is the author’s thesis? What is he or she trying to prove? In other words, what is holding the book together? 2. Identify the key arguments used to support the thesis. The student cannot describe all of them in minute detail, but he/she must provide an overview of all of them. 3. Always thoroughly read the introduction and conclusion. Often, the author will describe the thesis in the introduction and emphasize how it was proven in the conclusion. Determine what the author considers to be the key chapters offering support for the thesis. Thoroughly read those as well if time allows. There is an “art” to skimming chapters that the student must develop. 4. Do not get bogged down in the minutia of details. Facts matter, especially when the student relies upon evidence from books and articles to support his/her own research agenda. In other words, the student will use historians’ arguments and the distinct facts and evidence to support the thesis statements of his/her own research papers in future classes. But, those facts and minor details are not part of a Book Review. Focus on the larger themes. 5. Be sure to tell the story or stories that make the book a work of history. Retelling good stories we learn from other historians is an important part of what we do. Format Top: Bibliographic citation in current Turabian format. Be certain to use title case, not all caps, and italicize the title.

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