Purpose of this assignment

The Book Review assignment gives all students an opportunity to study a particular period in American history in more depth.  The book that you choose for this assignment should also help you with the research required to complete the “Gamifying History” Project.  

You may choose any historical period that we cover in this course (pre-Colombian America to 1876).  You must choose a historical monograph (a specialized work that concentrates on a particular period, event, person, or idea); no young adult literature, novels, or other fictional works are acceptable.  The book must be at least 200 pages long. If you have any questions, please check with me before proceeding.

Your book review MUST demonstrate that you have read the book in its entirety—you will have to describe the contents of the book in detail. You must also assess the book—what does it do well, what does it do poorly, are the sources used effectively by the author. You must also reflect on how the book’s contents will help you complete the project. There is a book review sample on D2L that you can consult to see how another student successfully completed this assignment.


  1. If you turned in your Topic and Research Agenda, I will review and approve your book choice. Once your book choice is approved, please get a copy of the book and begin reading.
  2. You will need to read carefully. You will need to set aside enough time to take notes (for the book review and for your project). 
  3. You are now ready to begin gathering the information necessary for writing your book review.  The first thing you need to do is determine what the general thesis statement is for the book.  In other words, what is the author’s perspective in writing this book?  What is the author trying to say about the time period or event?  Most authors will lay out their overall thesis statement in the book’s introduction. (This information will be part of the introduction of your book review.)
  4. Each chapter will contain its own thesis statement (it will be related to and will advance the general thesis statement of the book).  You must find each chapter’s thesis statement and include it in your book review (you must do it for each chapter).  You must also decide what information from each chapter to include in your book review.  (This information will make up a good portion of the main body of your book review.)
  5. Finally, you must evaluate the book.  You must answer all of the following questions in your conclusion:  What kind of sources does this book use (primary sources and/or secondary sources)?  Are the sources used effectively?  Why or why not? How did this book increase your knowledge of the particular time or event that it discusses?  What does the book do well? What does it do poorly?  Would you recommend this book to someone trying to learn about this subject? Why or why not? (This information will be part of the conclusion of your book review.)
  6. What did you learn from this book that will help you complete your project? Be as specific as you can be—you should have enough information to begin setting up your name when you are done with your research.
  7. You are now ready to begin writing your book review.  You must follow the instructions on format found in the Writing Guidelines linked on D2L. Additionally, pay close attention to the sample book review that is available on D2L.

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