Book Review of “A voyage long and strange” by Tony Horwitz
Historians take great efforts to analytically review books written by their colleagues. In doing so, they give others the opportunity to learn both whether the book under review is worth reading and what it adds to our understanding of the topic at hand. Your assignment is to write a review in this manner by providing a clear, cogent, and thoughtful review essay that carefully explores and analyzes the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
For an example of a good, professional review, check out any historical journal in the library or at www.h-net.org/reviews . I will also attach two sample reviews on under Course Files. Read them carefully to get a feel for what a good review looks like.
– Introduction (1 paragraph):
o The first paragraph of the review should provide context, setting, and the author’s argument/thesis. Every review should include “Horwitz argues __________”.
o At the end of the first paragraph, you must also provide your argument about the book. In other words, after clearly stating the book’s strengths and/or weaknesses, address whether or not the author’s contentions hold up.
– Body (4-6 paragraphs):
o The body of the review should illuminate the contours of the book’s argument and theme. You have plenty of freedom here, but remember: do not simply summarize what is said.
o Provide good evidence from the book to support your argument. This is what will make up the bulk of your essay. Remember that you’re not simply summarizing the book. You need to analyze and critique the evidence.
– Conclusion (1 paragraph):
o Your conclusion should be a clear and concise summation of the author’s contentions and your judgements. Do not simply repeat what you said in the introduction. Rather, rephrase in such a way that the reader comes away both impressed with and convinced of your analysis.
– Keep the following rules in mind:
o Do not simply summarize the book.
o Lack of careful and thoughtful analysis will result in a grade no better than a D.
o NO first person. (Basic Example: Instead of “I think the book was good,” just say “The book was good.”)
o When you quote a passage from the book (which you should do on occasion), cite that quote with parentheses and page number: e.g., “De Soto left a lot of pigs behind” (p. 48).
o NO late papers accepted.