Book Review 18 |

Book- Mexican Americans in Texas- A brief History 3rd Edition by Arnoldo De Leon

“Book reviews are to be 500 words in length, typed double-spaced with reasonable margins in proper academic style (no first person or contractions).  Any and all quotes must have a citation

(just the page number in parentheses for each book reviewed).  In place of a title for each review, a proper MLA bibliographic citation for each book you review should precede your essay (as in the book review section of any academic journal).  Remember that a book review is not a summary but an evaluation.  Find the author’s thesis, and assess his use of evidence to support his thesis.”

Additional information:

Both book reviews should begin with a proper Old MLA citation of the book’s publication information.  This is the template for that:

Author’s Last Name, Author’s First Name, Author’s Middle Name or Middle Initial. Title of

            Book [underlined or in italics]. Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication.

This does NOT mean that you copy the above words and put information next to them.  You substitute the proper information in the correct place as indicated.

The author’s thesis should be presented in the first paragraph, in your words.  We want to see your interpretation, not blind copying.  Then some general remarks about the book itself to finish the first paragraph—one good way to do this is to have three additional sentences in the first paragraph, each of which roughly matches the point of each of three body paragraphs to follow. Some topics to cover, in addition to the thesis or purpose of the book, are the scope (dates and/or areas), contents, organization, and readability.  What no one wants to see is a summary of the book, with your comments chapter by chapter.  Remember that you are doing the reader a big favor, telling them whether they want to read this book or not.  Write toward that goal.

The review should have about three body paragraphs after the first paragraph, each of which focuses on a main point you want to make.  First and foremost, you need to discuss the evidence presented by the author to support his or her thesis.  Your discussion can be positive or negative, but it needs to be fair and focused on what the author did.  It is alright to include observations on writing style, supporting material such as maps and illustrations, and your reactions to the points that are made. Examples are always welcome, but keep quotes to a minimum.  Again, we want your words.  Any quotes from the book you are reviewing should be followed by a page number in parentheses [(p. ##)].  Quotations from other sources are not really expected or required, but feel free to make references to the textbook if you wish. 

Finally, you need a brief conclusion in which you make your final declarations.  Good book or bad? Well written or not? Good supporting material or not? Who would you tell to read this book, or who would you tell not to read this book?

You will be judged on the quality of your writing as well as the content of your essay.  The review format is outlined above, but you should also have complete sentences with subjects and predicates (nouns and verbs) that agree in number. Reasonable margins are about an inch all around.  What is first person? We mean do not use “I” or “we.” Those are generally no-no’s for academics, until you get really famous.  And none of us are there yet (as far as I know).

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