What are most original and important characteristics?

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Book- “Conceiving Freedom: Women of Color, Gender and the Abolition of Slavery in Havana and Rio de Janeiro” – Camillia Cowling (2013)
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Secondary Source Defined- Secondary works are accounts written by people who were not themselves involved in the events or in the original expression of the ideas under study. Written after the events/ideas they describe, they are based upon primary sources and/or other secondary works. Thus, an early 20th-century historian could prepare a secondary study of the American Civil War through her reading of documents from that period, interviews with veterans, examination of weapons, and so on…
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Book Review- A book review is not a book report. A book review asks you to analyze the main themes in the book rather than simply providing a summary of the plot. Your response should engage the material in a critical way. Write a critical assessment of the book, evaluating the thesis, argument, and evidence and how well the author’s points are made.
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Mechanics- 3-5 page paper
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– Upper left corner: Name, Course & Section/Professor/Date
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– Begin with bibliographic information for your chosen book (Format example attached)
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– 1 inch margins
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– 12 point font, Times New Roman or similar font
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– Quotations
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– At least 2, no more than 5
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– No longer than 2 lines of text
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– Footnote in Turabian or Chicago style OR In-Text Citations (MLA or APA)
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Evaluation- This should be a commentary, not just a summary of the book — it is a review, not a report. Answer the following sections within the paper. Your paper need not be organized in this specific manner, but I will be looking for those ideas within your writing. Please do not give a list of answers to these questions. Write a persuasive review.
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– Summary of the book — 30% of review
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*Overview of the historiographical problem
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– What other writers have dealt with the problem?
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– What conclusions did they draw?
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– Is this book shifting the discussion?
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*Overview of the author’s career
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– Affiliations, biases, point of view
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– Other books
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– Does this book develop earlier thoughts?
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– Radical shift?
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– Was the work and author reliable?
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*Describe the aim and purpose
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Analyze the argument — 70% of review
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*Relate the author’s thesis
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– How does the argument prove the thesis to be true?
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– Is the argument convincing? Why or why not?
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*Strengths of Argument
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– Be specific and substantive
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– What are most original and important characteristics?
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– How does it build specifically, on earlier writings?
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– In what ways might it force scholars to rethink older ideas and traditional arguments?
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– Is the book well written? Easy to follow and read? If not, why?
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– Are the facts well presented? Do they conflict? Are they appropriate?
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*Weaknesses of Argument
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– Is it written against a particular school of thought, person, or book?
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– What are the holes in the argument?
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– Has anything been ignored or left out?
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*Evaluate the evidence
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– How well does the evidence support the argument?
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– Is counter-evidence noted? (That is, every secondary source is an interpretation, is this point well made?)
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*Reactions
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– What struck you as noteworthy?
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– Was the book effective and persuasive? (Did the thesis convince you?)
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– How did this book enhance your understanding of the topic?
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– Does the book contribute to your understanding of the subject? Is it worthwhile for students of history to read? Why or why not?

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