Book Review: Eugene Genovese’s “Roll Jordan Roll”

A. Description of the Topic–Description of the exact historical
problem, question, time period the author covers. Here, the reviewer
also identifies the kind of history the book covers–whether it be
political, social, military, cultural, or biographical. Usually a few
sentences should suffice.
B. Description of an Argument(s)/theses–All books have one or two very
general arguments, and several smaller arguments. The reviewer needs
to identify, in his own words what exactly the author’s arguments are.
Almost always, the author is attempting to change, alter, or
completely overturn another interpretation. Be very careful about
miscasting, or misinterpreting the author’s argument.
D. Description of the Sources–Here, the reviewer critiques the
documentation. Does the author rely on an adequate number of primary
sources? The reviewer describes the kind of sources (diaries,
government records, financial records, etc.) and whether or not they
are sufficient to support the argument. Remember, historians think
that the more primary sources(for the most part) a book has, the
better its quality.
E. Critique or Praise–Identify if the argument(s)/theses described in
the book are convincing to you, the reviewer. Here, the reviewer
expresses any criticisms or problems with the book. But be very, very
careful here. All criticism should be worded professionally. For
example, avoid declarative sentences such as “this book simply is just
misguided and is written poorly.” Attempt to criticize the work using
phrases such as “the author fails to consider..” or “this claim is
troublesome..” Reviewers should always explain why they like or
dislike the book with specific evidence and rational, logical reading
of the book. Criticism for the sake of writing something negative is
pointless.
–Please consult the handout on formal writing for what the professor
expects from students’ prose in these reviews.
*Mechanical Requirements: All reviews should be typed, (at least
4 pages) double-spaced, with no bizarre fonts, with ONE inch
margins all around. No need to include a bibliography. If the
writer chooses to use a direct quote, just reference the page
number (33).
**STUDENTS ARE LIMITED TO ONE DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE BOOK.

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