Written Assignment #2: Comparative Book Review Essay
This assignment introduces another form of important academic reading: The Review Essay. Such essays typically evaluate two or more books that are related in some way or the other. Scholarly journals often publish review essays as a way of helping their readers gain deeper insights into a particular topic. We will use the Review Essay assignment as a means for building the body of your overall research essay. Here’s what I’d like you to do:
1. Visit the University of Southern California Library’s Guide on the Multiple Book Review Essay . (https://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/bookreview/multiple)
2. Read the guide carefully, and consider how the books that appear on your list support the thesis statement and argument you wrote for your annotated bibliography assignment.
3. Take a careful look at your bibliography. Determine which book will be a central focus for the thesis/argument that you wish to present. This will be the book upon which you will base the review.
4. As you did with the first review, read the book carefully. As you are reading the book, consider the ways in which the author’s key points support or counteract your own arguments, and how this book converses with the first book you reviewed . Organize your other sources, as well, on the basis of how they support or refute both the book’s argument as well as your own.
5. Prepare your review essay, following the guidelines from the USC Multiple Book Review Essay Guide . You also might find the advice that Mary Rampolla offers in A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, Chapter 3, on writing historiographic essays and book reviews.
o The essay should be approximately 1,500 to 2,000 words in length.
o The essay should include several of the sources from your research essay’s bibliography. You also might find additional sources as you’re working on the review essay that you might want to add to the overall bibliography.
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