Reading and Reviewing History Monographs: Guide for Students

Seriously evaluating a scholastic history text-one of those dry, dirty tomes filled with high ideas and magnificently crafted pros-can be an overwhelming possibility. History texts should be viewed through various lenses and be mined in a different way than, say, books or other non-fiction works. See Monografias Prontas.  A history essay might or may not have an overarching story or chronological structure; the author’s choice of structure for the work frequently reveals rather a lot about both the book’s topic and its source base. While reading every word of every chapter is an admirable objective, the majority of students just do not have the time to check out a 4 hundred-page book from cover to cover. To get the most out of a history text, focus on several crucial parts and scan the remainder for context.

First, if the monograph has a foreword or an intro, read it to get a sense of the author’s inspirations for picking this particular topic, sources, and structure over others. It’s really typical for an author to begin a task with a specific objective or topic in mind only to see it morph into something totally unforeseen. Authors will often mention their thesis here, the main point around which the entire text is developed. If the foreword is by a different author, this can suggest how other scholars see the book or have had the ability to utilize it prior to its printing.

Second, ensure to check out a minimum of the first and last sentence of each paragraph to figure out whether the details it includes deserves reading in detail. If the author has chapter titles, these are a fairly good guide to each chapter’s bottom line and can work as a quick referral when choosing which ones need the most attention.

Finally, if the work has an afterword or an epilogue, read this to gauge previous responses to the book’s previous versions and how these impacted more recent printings. Chapters may have been rearranged or left out; specific lines of thought might have been tinkered with based upon evaluations of previous printings.

When composing the evaluation, develop a fundamental skeleton of fundamental components around which to frame the analysis.

· Begin with a short intro of the work itself and its author. The book might be a radical departure of method or topic for an author; keep this in mind when reading the remainder of the text, to see if the author appears uncomfortable-awkward phrasing and structuring are in some cases a hint that an author isn’t yet sure-footed with new material.

· Look at the structure and circulation of the book as a whole; do the chapters fit well together, flowing from one to the next, or are the transitions uncomfortable and stilted? Is the language quickly available even to non-experts in the field, or is it more densely jam-packed and jargon-filled, intended rather at the author’s own peers?

· Examine what works well about the text itself; use examples from the book itself as assistance (consist of at least page numbers for any direct quotes used).

· Examine what doesn’t work well about the text; why does not it work? Once again, utilize examples from the book itself as support.

· Look at the sources the author chose to use when investigating. Are those sources mostly primary-documents and other works generated by contemporaries during the time periods covered by the text-or secondary-analyses by third parties at a later date? Does the author explain why one type was favored over the other? Authors occasionally omit whole classes of sources that may mess the essay with too many extraneous details or that they think would prevent their analysis in some method.

· Does the author use great deals of direct quotations from the selected sources, or are sources used more to supply a foundation for the analysis, with quotations confined to the book’s foot- or end notes? In some cases the presence of great deals of direct quotations and very largely jam-packed notes suggest that a book is a newly released doctoral argumentation or that the author feels it required to establish authority with the selected subject matter.

· Does the author obstacle included sources for prospective biases and consider how the context in which each was produced might affect its material and viewpoint, or are sources just taken at face value? Are any consisted of sources potentially problematic in this regard?

· Conclude by analyzing how the book resembles and varies from other works in the same subject. Consider what the author was trying to add to extant scholarship on the subject by writing the book. Was the attempt successful or not?

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