Guide to writing history essays



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2. Books
Basic format
2.1 Books are the most common sources used by history students in their essays. The basic format for listing a book in your bibliography, whether by an author or an editor (including documentary collections), is as follows:

author’s last name, author’s first name. title of book. place of publication: publisher, date of publication.


Books by a single author or editor
2.2 Most books will have a single author or editor. Here are some examples of entries for books by single authors and editors, in alphabetical order as they would appear in a bibliography and with two entries from one of the authors.
Applebaum, Anne. Gulag: A History. New York: Anchor Books, 2003.
Remak, Joachim, ed. The Nazi Years: A Documentary History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.
Steiner, Zara. Britain and the Origins of the First World War. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1977.
________. The Lights that Failed: European International History, 1919-1933. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Books by more than one author or editor
2.3 When a book has more than one author or editor, you should list all the authors or editors in the same order that their names appear on the book’s title page. However, note that the first author or editor’s name should be given as ‘last name, first name’, while all subsequent authors or editors should be given as ‘first name last name’.
Appleby, Joyce, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob. Telling the Truth About History. New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1994.
Boyce, Robert and Joseph A. Maiolo, eds. The Origins of World War Two: The Debate Continues. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Murray, Williamson and Allan R. Millett. A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Books in later editions, as volumes in a series, or translated
2.4 Books should be listed in your bibliography with as complete information as possible, including the edition (other than the first edition), the volume number (if it is part of a series), or the name of the translator.
Here are some examples of how these would be listed:
Kershaw, Ian. The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation. 3rd edn. London: Edward Arnold, 1993.
Kolb, Eberhard. The Weimar Republic. trans. by P.S. Falla. London and New York: Routledge, 1988.
Woodward, Sir Llewellyn. British Foreign Policy in the Second World War. Vol. III. London: HMSO, 1971.
Zeldin, Theodore. France, 1848-1945. Vol. I: Ambition, Love and Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.
________. France, 1848-1945. Vol. II: Intellect, Taste and Anxiety. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975.
Further examples
2.5 Finally, here are some examples of entries for books which contain a combination of the above items. You will notice that, despite the addition of extra items of information, they all still follow the same basic format
Bernard, Philippe and Henri Dubief. The Decline of the Third Republic, 1914-1938. paperback edn. trans. Anthony Forster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Palmer, R.R. and Joel Colton. A History of the Modern World since 1815. 6th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.
Documentary collections
2.6 Documentary collections can be extremely useful sources for history students, as they provide access to primary sources on a topic. While you may have given specific references in your footnotes to documents from within the edited collection, in your bibliography you usually would only give the details of the book itself.
Noakes, J. and G. Pridham, eds. Nazism, 1919-1945: A Documentary Reader. Vol. 3: Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1988).

Woodward, E.L. and R. Butler, eds. Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939, Second Series, vol. II: 1931. London: HMSO, 1947.




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