Comments on Book Summaries

I’ll be handing back the book summaries today. Many of them are actually inadequate as summaries — too short, too confused or too much of your thoughts and not enough of the book’s content. If I’ve included “Try Again” or “revise and hand in again” in the comments on your summary, then I will be expecting to see a more complete — or clearer, or more focused, etc. — summary handed in with your statements of the book’s thesis.

In order to make it easier, I’ve moved the Thesis statement due date back to Monday the 19th, giving you most of an extra week. The Thesis statement should be just that, by the way: a sentence or short paragraph clearly stating what the author’s purpose is in writing the book, what they hope to prove by the evidence and argument they provide. Sometimes that thesis will be explicitly laid out by the author in a form you can quote; sometimes (especially with autobiographical writings or seemingly straightforward surveys of major events) it is more work for you to figure it out.

Finally, a note on form: I don’t insist that you all use the Chicago Manual of Style footnote method for history papers, but if you quote something, then I expect to see a citation including a page number. It can be in parentheses, footnote or endnote, but a quotation without a specific source, including a page number, is a grave error.