Critical Book Review – Writing Prompt and Guidelines
Task: In a well-organized, thesis-driven paper of 4-6 pages, students will:
● briefly summarize the central argument of the book
● discuss the methods and/or sources used by the author
● explain how the book relates to other shared readings from the course
● engage critically with the book’s strengths and weaknesses
● How does this book contribute to your understanding of American the American
Revolution? Would you recommend the book?
● All papers should have an introduction and conclusion that clearly state the paper’s
central argument. NOTE: a critical book review is NOT a “book report”—the majority of
the paper should focus on a critical engagement with the author’s argument, methods,
sources, and contributions to the scholarship on American history. SEE THE CRITICAL
BOOK REVIEW HANDOUT FOR TIPS.
● Papers should have a single-spaced heading that includes the student’s name, course
number, and date, followed by the paper title. A separate title page is not necessary. All
pages should be numbered.
● Standard formatting rules apply – 12 pt. font, Times New Roman or other standard font,
1” margins, double-spaced.
● All sources MUST be cited with Chicago Style footnotes (see Chicago Style Citation
handout on Blackboard)
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