How can the answer be improved? Recognize that a review is a personal statement, accept your obligation to make it an informed personal statement, and you will be well launched on the enterprise.
Finally, a word about tone. Nothing is more infuriating to read than a casual and airy dismissal of a book by a sophomore whose best effort at writing has been a 15page term paper. Writing a book review is one of the fundamental skills that every historian must learn.
An undergraduate students book review should accomplish two main goals: Lay out an authors argument, and; Most importantly, critique the historical argument. It is important to remember that a book review is not a book report. For History. Your professor may ask you to write a book review, probably of a scholarly historical monograph. Here are some questions you might ask of the book. Among the best are the review essays (not the capsule reviews) published in the American Historical Review and Reviews in American History.
If you are affiliated with a university, you can read back issues of both journals at JSTOR and more recent issues of Reviews in American Historyat Project Muse. Most articles follow a similar structure: (1) an introduction that sets the scene and a brief review of the relevant literature; (2) thesis statement or main focus of the articlei.
e.what it is trying to prove; (3) the argument and supporting information and The critical book review in history is unique to the discipline and a skill that is expected to be mastered by history students after their first year.
Understanding what a critical book review in history is supposed to consist of is the first step in writing one.