Each student will complete a scholarly review of a secondary book that covers a historical topic from American history before 1865. It is important that this book is not a primary or tertiary work. E.g. The Federalist Papers or Exploring American Histories will not work. Students may select their own book, but the book must be pre-cleared by me. The book must be a serious scholarly effort written by a professional historian (someone with an advanced degree in history).
A good way of knowing whether a book will qualify for this assignment is looking at who published it. A book published by Oxford University Press has a greater than 99.9% chance of being approved, whereas a book published by Frank’s Garage Press has less than a 1% chance of approval. Students must submit a list of proposed by books no later than 5:00 PM on February 5th.
The review will consist of the student providing a brief academic biography of the author (where did (s)he attain her/his degree, where does/did (s)he teach?), identify the argument the author is making (why did (s)he write it?), briefly summarize the content (what did (s)he actually say?), and assess the success of the author (based on the evidence, did (s)he succeed in proving her/his point?) The review should be 3 to 5 pages in length. The assignment is to be submitted both on Blackboard and in hard copy by April 2nd at the beginning in class. Late assignments will be penalized 10 points for each day it is late.