Parent Category: 18th Century History Articles
Category: Homework Help
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

If you don’t want the marker of your historical book review to throw your review into the dustbin of history, you basically need two skills: the ability to recreate the argument of the author in your own words and the capability of doing a critical analysis of that argument.

Distinguish the Difference Between a Book Review and Book Report
If you are still learning how to write a book review, you need to understand that a book review and a book report are two different things. In a report, you will get away with just laying out the contents of the book. However, when it comes to reviewing a historical book, you’ll need to go further and critique the argument that the book is making. To do this, you’ll need to decide if the author supports their argument using sufficient and convincing evidence.

Now that you have an idea of where you need to start, it’s time to look at the specifics of how you go about doing this.

Practical Steps of Writing Historical Book Reviews
Even though writing a review of a historical book may look difficult in the beginning, like everything else in life, if you follow a few steps you will soon discover that it’s actually much easier.

Know the Author
It’s important that before you read the particular work that you will be reviewing, you gather some information about the author and their other works. Nowadays, a Google search can help you get information about papers and conferences that the author has addressed. This will help you understand where the author is coming from when you eventually critique their book.

While you are reading, ensure to take notes. However, the note-taking should be systematic if you want them to assist you when you write the review later. The following ideas should guide you as you take the notes.

Genre and Approach
As you read, you need to stop and ask yourself what the focus of the author is on. Some authors focus on issues of gender, law, culture, politics, sexuality and other topics dealing with social issues. Understanding the kind of history the author has written makes it easier to distinguish the historical argument the writer is attempting to make.

Argument and Subject
Provide a summary of such elements as the period, the main events of that period, the geography, and the people that the book is about. Look for reasons why the author believes that the days they have selected are essential.

It is important for you to identify what the thesis of the author is. Thesis relates to the central argument that the writer is making in the book and supporting. Even though it can be challenging to distinguish the main argument made by the author, this is an essential part of the historical book review. Once you have an idea of what the question is and how the author answers it, state it in the review as a summary.

Related to the argument is the evidence that the author uses to support it. Authors use different types of evidence even though they are not always effective. If you discover this in the history book you are reviewing, indicate it. If any arguments are not supported properly, indicate this in your critique of the book. Use evidence in your critiques so that your readers will know what you are referring to. 

The Structure of the Book
How readers will understand your historical book review will depend on the way it is structured. Look at this in your review and state whether the books are structured around a chronology of events, people, ideas or subjects. Look at whether the author keeps to the argument or they detract from it.

Argument As a Whole
It is vital to finally make a verdict whether the writer's argument as a whole is convincing. Decide on who you think the book would be most suitable for. Tell the reader whether this a book you would recommend and if you will, why?

Even though there is no specific format on how to structure the book review a few things are standard: introduce the writer, the period, and topic of the book and the genre. Summarize the main argument and its sub-arguments. Include the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Your conclusion should state whether this is a book you would recommend and state your reasons why.