Critical Review

Critical Review Essay
Critical Review Essay of the book you selected to read during our Great Depression unit, America is in the Heart.
The purpose of the critical book review is to share information about a historical source. It is “critical” not in the sense that it simply points out the flaws in the work (though it does do this). It is “critical” in that it is a thoughtful discussion of the work, its benefits, shortcomings, and its significance. In short, a critical book review is one that employs “critical thinking.”
Your book review should incorporate the three parts outlined below – but it should weave them together rather than discuss them separately. A book review is an essay; it should be structured like one, with an introduction (including thesis statement), body and conclusion. Your essay should also include full bibliographic references and citations to support your key points in Chicago Style format.
Below are some guidelines to assist you in organizing your essay. To receive full consideration please make sure to address some or all of the following points outlined in bullets A-O.
The first purpose is primarily descriptive, and includes the following information:
– Write a clear thesis Statement with 2-3 supporting points (A Thesis includes a topic +
Argument + 2-3 supporting points)
– Discuss the great depression in General

  1. Briefly state the unique challenges for Americans in general and minorities specifically at this time? How did geography impact ones opportunities and hardships during the depression era?
  2. What factors pushed him out of his home country or pulled him to

America? What unique challenges did Filipino immigrants face at this time?
The second is evaluative and interpretive. It includes the following information:
THIS SECTION IS A NOT A CHAPTER BY CHAPTER SUMMARY. INSTEAD IT’S A concise profile of the book including:

  1. The author’s purpose: Why did the author write the book? What did he hope to demonstrate? What are the author’s key questions, observations or conclusions?
  2. Assess the author’s credibility: How believable is their story? Does the author offer reliable evidence for their views and experiences?
  3. Does the author respond to reoccurring themes in American history? Does he omit or mishandle key themes and issues?
  4. Choose one specific reoccurring theme from our class discussion to explain in more detail. Describe the theme and how it has occurred and reoccured throughout American history, making sure to note who, what, when and where the theme has occurred. How did Carlos or Gordon find interesting ways to deal with the problems related to this theme?
  5. What ideas about American freedom do Carlos and Gordon aspire to, hope for, advance, or criticize in their life stories?
  6. How did the author negotiate exclusion and belonging in America?
  7. What do you see as the book’s strengths and weaknesses give specific examples?

The third function of the essay is to examine the book’s relevance to the appropriate historical period or theme. It includes the following information:

  1. What is the author’s view of the historical period/theme? Do you Agree or disagree with this view after reading it?
  2. What new things do their life stories reveal to us about the Great Depression, and the concept of American freedom?
  3. How does the book contribute to our understanding of the Great Depression? What does he add to existing scholarship?
  4. In what ways is this work useful/not useful for thinking about American Freedom, race and ethnicity, progressivism, immigration/migration, labor issues and other topics pertaining to 20th century American History?
  5. Conclude with a short summary of your main ideas

Include full bibliographic references and citations in Chicago Style format. Please use
footnotes only – NO ENDNOTES ***You can use other materials we read or viewed
during weeks 1-4 to locate supporting points for your thesis.
Things to Remember As you Write
Avoid summarizing the book, this is not a book summary project. As you think about the main points that you want to make about the author’s life story consider what would be the most effective order in which to present them. You should also think about how you will support your points, as you do in any other essay with quotes from the reading itself. Look for specific examples and shorter effective quotes that can help illustrate your ideas, or think about how to summarize larger sections of text to support your argument. You need to substantiate and illustrate any claims that you make. You can also use any of the other texts and articles, class notes, or discussions we have engaged throughout the course to help substantiate your ideas and enhance your overall essay. Also avoid using outdated, outmoded or offensive language even if it is used in the works themselves, unless you are using a direct quote from the text.
Formatting Requirements Check Box
Title —Top, center, page 1; should include a creative title of your choice
Your Name — Center; below title with one space in between
Text — Begins right below the name on page 1, with two spaces in between
Text — Begins right below the name on page 1, with two spaces in between
Overall Document Spacing — Double spaced, typed
Margins — one (1) inch from the edge of the page on the: top, left, right, and bottom.
Page numbers — Bottom right
Font Style — Times New Roman 12pt or Arial 11pt only
Length — 3 pages max.
Footnotes — Use proper formatting for Chicago Style footnotes, any unnecessarily lengthy footnotes will be counted against you.
Bibliography — on a separate page. [Not counted in the length]