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Critical Book Review “All Things Fall Apart”

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HIST 3389-01: Africa Past & Present
Book Review Assignment

This assignment is worth 100 points (10% of your grade). You are tasked with writing a 750-word
(2-3 pages) book review of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (Any version of the book, but cite
Guidelines for Writing a Critical Book Review
A critical review is not simply a book report. Your essay should be organized with a
purpose in mind. What is it that you want to say about each book? You are expected to explicate
(i.e., read closely and analyze) the book’s contents, identify its main historical themes, and
comment on its relevance to the course subject matter.
If you decide to focus on one aspect or another of the book, you still need to say
something more general about the text before focusing in on your topic of interest. You should
always give specific examples from the author’s text to illustrate your points and then cite the
specific pages from which you are taking the example or quoting the author.
Key questions to which you should pay attention.

  1. What is the author’s thesis?
  2. What is/are the author’s main arguments/arguments?
  3. What issues are analyzed in the text?
  4. How does the author employ evidence to sustain their argument/arguments?
  5. Is the author’s presentation of the arguments and the evidence logical?
  6. How does the book contribute to the respective field’s literature and historiography?
    Approach & structure of your paper:
    • Format: Provide full bibliographical information at the top of your review essay, e.g.
    Author [first then last name], Book title [italicized] (City [where the book is published]:
    Publisher, Year of Publication), page numbers e.g. 242 pp.
    • Page citation: Whenever you quote directly or want to point to the place(s) in the text
    from which you are drawing your example(s), you should place the page references in
    parentheses, e.g. (10; 14-21).
    • Direct quotations: These should be kept at a minimum and always be placed in quotation
    marks [“…”]. If you are quoting a quotation from the text, use single quotation marks
    within double quotation marks. If you include a long quotation (more than 40 words), you
    should indent it separately and without quotation marks (but do not forget to include the
    page reference).
    • Mechanics: All written assignments must be prepared in Microsoft Word in 12-point
    font (Times New Roman), double-spaced format, and must be cited appropriately
    (whether you use direct quotes or paraphrase) using footnotes following the Chicago
    Manual of Style.
    • Papers must be well organized and grammatically correct. Generalizations must be
    balanced with specific details and evidence from the sources.
    • You may consult other book reviews to familiarize yourself with how other scholars have
    reviewed previous texts. However, I suggest that you do not look up other scholars’
    reviews of the book you have been assigned to analyze. Doing so might undercut your
    potential to produce original work.
    • Do not include a cover sheet
    • Pages must be numbered.
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