Critical Book Review The goal of the book review you will write for AP US History is to analyze
the author’s thesis, evidence, and writing style to determine the relative merit of the book and its place in historical scholarship. This is an elaborate way of saying that this review is NOT a book report – you should not provide a long summary of the book nor should you quote extensively from the book. Your goal is to identify the author, the thesis, the types of evidence and sources used, and then make a critical judgment on the effectiveness of the author in answering the questions set forth in the work.
4. Written in the third person, past tense – no “I believe the author was attempting to do this” – you should say “the author attempted to prove this but did not succeed.”
5. Cover Page:
Subject (AP US History)
Full bibliographic entry for your book – use MLA format
Format for Writing:
You are not required to write a specific number of paragraphs for each section listed below – use as many or as few as it takes to address the focus of the section.
First Section: provide background on the author, qualifications, and other books written. Provide a brief summary of the book including the main topics, the time periods involved, major people-places-events but remember this is NOT a book report!
Second Section: what is the author’s thesis – what is the author trying to prove? Why do you think the Author wrote about this subject and the specific people-places-events included in the book? How did the author try to prove the thesis? What evidence and types of resources did the author use? Examine the footnotes and any bibliography included in the book. Who was the audience the author hoped to reach? What type of writing style did the author use?
Third Section: time for your analysis – what was good about this book? Do you believe the author proved the thesis? Was the writing style effective? Was the evidence and arguments convincing? Also, what was bad about the book? Was the evidence NOT convincing? Was the thesis poorly constructed or unclear? Unproven? Did the author’s writing style or format distract you from the thesis?
Fourth Section: your overall assessment of the book and the author. Was the good better than the bad? Was the book a worthwhile read – did it contribute anything new to the study of history (as far as you know)? What other books have been written on this