A Rumor of War

A Template for Writing Book Reviews
A Template for Writing Book Reviews by Richard C. Smoot, Ph.D.
Book reviews for this class are to be one page only, single-spaced, using the Times New Roman font style, and a 12-point font size. You shall use proper and formal grammar and spelling throughout your review. You shall have one-inch margins, indented paragraphs, and shall observe the basic rules of standard formal American English.

Your information, i.e., your name, the course information, the term, and my name, should all appear on ONE LINE at the top of the page. Separate each entry by a tab or two.

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John Smith      HIS 109-19Z1            Summer I 2019          Professor Smoot

Paragraph 1 should include the author’s full name (as given in the book), the full title of the book in italics, and the year of publication. You should say something about the author’s credentials or expertise in writing such a book. For example, is the author a historian, or a journalist, or a political scientist, or some other disciplinary attachment. Here you should also tell your reader what the objective is of the author, the thesis of his/her work.
Once you have given the full author name and title, afterwards you may use the author’s last name only (not his/her first name only!) and a shortened version of the title. For example, the book Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood may afterwards be cited as simply Sitting Bull, but always in italics when referring to the book. If only referring to the character Sitting Bull, his name is *not* in italics. For further reference refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Rumor_of_War for more information.

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Approximately 65-70% of the review should be a discussion of the book’s content. You should summarize the book, give specific examples of what you are discussing, and lace the discussion with analysis of the book. Analytical fodder might include another similar book, a movie or television program/series, a play, or even your own experience. For example, if you were writing about Philip Caputo’s book, A Rumor of War:

U. S. Marine Caputo’s memoir of his Vietnam experience is as fascinating as it is sometimes gruesome, similar to the memoir of another Marine Corps veteran of World War II, E. B. Sledge, in his book With the Old Breed. Both men seem forthright in their presentations, not sparing the gentler sensibilities of some readers; rather, both give you the gritty details of the dirty business known as war.

Your final paragraph should summarize the whole of your presentation, i.e., you should give the reader your thoughts and evaluation of the book, and the author. Does the author achieve his/her objective? Is the book a complete success, a partial success, successful in some places and not so much in others? Give examples. Would you recommend this book to others? Why, or why not? Make sure to not simply say you like or dislike something. Give specific reasons for your assessment. I want to see your rationale.
More detailed information on writing book reviews may be found in the course syllabus, and also under Instructions for Writing Book Review found on our course Blackboard site.

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