The objective of this exercise is to expand your knowledge of a particular historical period through additional reading in that era. It is also the purpose to provide you with a richer encounter with history than can be provided by a survey textbook. You may select a book which covers some aspect of the subject matter covered in this course. The recommended readings provided at the end of each chapter in your text is a good place to start. However, your instructor must approve the book in advance of your taking on the assignment. In this respect, your instructor will be happy to help you select a work that may interest you.
The book may cover an historical event, a prominent historical figure, and institution, or a historical period. Works of fiction generally are not suitable to the objective unless they are included in a study of a particular author or a genre of writing. In that case, several works and the author’s biography would be appropriate. In all cases, please feel free to consult with your instructor at any phase of this assignment.
Students will read and write a review of a text from one of the periods that we have covered to date (or by the time that this assignment is due). This leaves any text that was written from 1300 to 1650, open to you. The books can be in hard copy or online versions.
When you have selected a particular book, you should post the title of your book to the bulletin board discussion forum, to let others know which one you have selected. Students cannot chose the same text as someone else, due to the small class numbers, students should not have any difficulty selecting a unique text.
After the book has been approved, you will critically read the work, reading not only for information but also for how the book was written, the sources of the author’s information, biases, areas of neglect or emphasis, the author’s approach/point of view, etc. After the critical reading, you will write an analysis or review of the work using the guidelines below. Your grade will be determined by how well you complied with the guidelines.
1. 1200-1500 words in length (approximately four to five typed pages), double spaced.
2. Title Set. This is a cover sheet which is attached to the report but does not count as one of the body pages. It should contain the following: the author, title, publisher, publication date and the total number of pages. This is centered as the title of the report, followed by your name, course name, and date approximately ten spaces below the title.
3. A short summary, no more than a page, of the main points of the work.
4. A section discussing the author’s methodology. This can include the author’s perspective, use of sources, biases, etc. You may use brief quotes to illustrate a point. The quote should be worked into the sentence or paragraph, and it should be cited using parenthetical notation. You may need to consult with me on methodology.
5. A somewhat lengthy section containing your personal comments or reflection on the work, as well as what you learned from reading and writing the review: how does the work fit with our study of this period?
6. The review should be written without errors in spelling or grammar, and with few errors of syntax.
7. A correlation between what is being discussed in the work and other things that were going on in European history or during modern times.
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