Students will have to prepare a book review (7 pages double spaced or 2,000 words each) on this book: Ian McKay and Jamie Swift, The Vimy Trap, or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2016).

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*** Due date: February 26, 2020
Book reviews are due at beginning of class on the due date.
• For general instructions about how to write a review, see Appendix 1.
• Students must submit hard copies of their reviews to the instructor and upload an electronic copy to TurnItIn by the due date. You can find more information on how to submit your reviews to TurnItIn at the end of this syllabus (Appendix 2).
• Late papers will be penalized a letter grade per day beginning with the end of class on the due date.

1. General information/ Thesis and summary (3 to 3.5 pages)
Do not forget that the objective of a review is to help potential readers to decide if they want/ need to read the book or not. In this sense, a review is very different from a movie trailer (which tries to entice people to see the movie without including spoilers).

In this context, your summary should offer an overview of the argument(s) developed by the authors. It should discuss the main points covered in the book and its main conclusion. You summary should therefore mention these things:

• Authors, book title, publication year. In this case, it might be useful to introduce the publisher (this information should be mentioned at the beginning of your review).
• What do you know about the authors (GOOGLE is great!)?
• Is there something interesting about the book?
o When was the book published
o Why was the book written and published (what are the authors’ objectives)
o Did it contribute to a debate?
• Historical questions: What is the central question McKay and Swift try to answer in their book? Do they try to answer other sub-questions?
• What kind of history McKay and Swift intended to write: social history, political history, cultural history?
• What is their answer to their main question? In other words, what is their most important argument or thesis statement? You should be able to summarize the book in one sentence or in a small paragraph.
• How have they tried to demonstrate their main argument? You can summarize each chapter individually or summarize the book thematically (even if it means summarizing many chapters together).

3. Critique (3 pages to 3.5 pages)
In this section, you need to assess the strengths and/or the weaknesses of the monograph under review. You critique may be entirely positive, entirely negative or discuss positive and negative aspects. It is entirely up to you. Be assured that your grade will not depend on your opinion of the book as you have the right to like it or not. You are also free to agree with the authors or not. In fact, your grade will be based on the quality of your assessment. In order to get a good grade, you will need to address three issues in your critique. Here are some examples of issues you could discuss:

• What do you think about McKay and Swift’s’ question(s), thesis/ argument, approach?
• What do you think about their political objectives?
• What kind of sources is used by the authors? What are the strengths and the limitations of these sources? Are the sources used and the conclusions of the book compatible?
• Are McKay and Swift’ arguments convincing?
• Is the organisation of the book efficient?
• Is there something missing? What could the authors have added to make their argument more compelling?
• (…)

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