This assignment requires you to critically review Robert Harms’ book on the voyage of the Diligent, a French slave ship. Your review should have two goals: first, to inform the reader about the content of the book, and second, to provide an evaluation that gives your judgment of the book’s quality.
Generally, your introduction should include an overview of the book that incorporates a condensed summary and a sense of your general judgment. Think of this as the equivalent of a thesis statement.
Do not spend more than one-third or so of the paper summarizing the book. The summary should consist of a discussion and highlights of the major arguments, features, trends, concepts, themes, ideas, and characteristics of the book. While you may use direct quotes from the book (make sure you always give the page number), such quotes should never be the bulk of the summary. Much of your grade will depend on how well you describe and explain the material in your own words. You might want to take the major organizing themes of the book and use them to organize your own discussion. This does not mean, however, that I want a chapter-by-chapter summary. Your goal is a unified essay.
So, what do I want, if not just a summary? Throughout your review, I want you to provide a critique of the book. A critique consists of thoughts, responses, and reactions. It is not necessarily negative. Nor do you need to know as much about the subject as the author (because you hardly ever will). The skills you need are an ability to follow an argument and test a hypothesis. Regardless of how negative or positive your critique is, you need to be able to justify and support your position.
Here are a number of questions that you can address as part of your critique. You need not answer them all, but questions one and two are essential to any book review, so those must be included. And these are not to be answered one after another. Don’t have one paragraph answer one, the next answer another, etc. The answers should be part of a carefully constructed essay, complete with strong topic sentences and transitions.
*Your reviews should be roughly three double spaced pages with one-inch margins. You will only be responsible for the parts of the book that I assigned. You do not need to cite outside sources. Don’t skip lines between paragraphs
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