Analytical Essay Expectations and Book List for History 1301
Listed are the approved books for students to use for the analytical essay. Students can find most of these books in an ACC library or public library. If a student wants the instructor to review a book that is not on this list, they will need to email the instructor the author and title of the book and bring it by during office hours or before or after class for approval.
Three big items to look for in the book:
It is within the time period of the course
It has well-documented sources or bibliography page
It is a monograph and not a historical novel
Before you select your book make sure you understand the instructions from the syllabus. You will write an analytical essay of at least 900 words answering the following questions about the book:
1. Who is the author/s and what is their thesis (argument) and main points?
A thesis is a statement capable of proof. So, a statement that says, “(the author) argues Hamilton’s economic policies shifted the American economy towards a capitalist base,” is a thesis that can be proven. A statement that says, “This book is about Hamilton’s economic policies,” is not a thesis. Focus on impact and connections that the author analyzes. The introduction or preface along with the conclusion is where the author usually expresses their thesis. Also, make sure you introduce the author using their credentials.
2. What proof does the author use to support the thesis and how does it reinforce the thesis? Use two SPECIFIC examples.
Here you will analyze two specific examples of proof used by the author. So, this is a story or anecdote the author uses to prove their thesis. Think of it like a lawyer who has to prove their case in court. They have to tell the jury a story of their client’s innocence or the prosecutor has to prove the client’s guilt with a story of the crime. So tell two distinct examples of the proof used by the author.
3. What are two SPECIFIC examples of research source material used by the author and how does it strengthen the author’s thesis?
Here you will be analyzing the source material used by the author. The stories or anecdotes that you analyzed in question 2 had to come from some source (newspaper, journal, diary, government documents, another monograph, etc.). You select two used by the author, which can be found in the notes section, footnotes, or the bibliography. Pay particular attention to how the source strengthened the thesis.
4. Was the book written so that you could understand it? Give an example to support your answer.
Questions 4-7 are now really looking for your opinion of the book. For this question, you will need to analyze how you feel the book was written or organized and did it communicate to you successfully.
5. Is there a question or subtopic you wish the author had addressed or addressed in more detail? How would this question or subtopic help enhance the thesis?
Here you will need to think about key points that might have been left out of the book. How would they help the book? Do not say the author covered everything and there is nothing to add. This does not show good critical thinking skills and is not acceptable for this assignment.
6. Does this book and the textbook, The American Promise, have the same conclusion on the topic?
Here you need to compare the author’s interpretation in the book you have chosen to similar material in the textbook. Do the textbook and your author agree? Why or why not?
7. Would you recommend the book to another student or a teacher? Why or why not?
This question should wrap up your analysis with your personal recommendation.
In all, your essay should be at least 7 paragraphs addressing these 7 questions.
Can a student get feedback on their essay before turning it in? Yes, if a student would like feedback on their essay, they must turn in any rough draft 3 days prior to the essay deadline. The instructor will give the student feedback before the final essay deadline. Also, the student can use the Learning Lab for feedback.
Approved List of Books:
Carl Bridenbaugh. Cities in the Wilderness
Gary Nash. Red, White, and Black
John E. Pomfret. Founding the American Colonies
Wesley Craven. The Colonies in Transition
Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America, Vol. 1
Norman Gelb. Less Than Glory
Piers Mackesy. The War for America
Marshall Smelser. The Winning of Independence
Don Higginbotham. The War of American Independence
Joseph J. Ellis, American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding Republic
Peter Thomas. Tea Party to Independence
William Dwyer. The Day Is Ours
William Randall. Benedict Arnold
Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804
Charles Royster. A Revolutionary People at War
James Flexner. The Traitor & the Spy
William Fowler. Rebels Under Sail
Catherine Drinker Bowen. The Most Dangerous Man in America
Gordon S. Wood, Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
James Flexner. The Young Hamilton
James Flexner. Washington: The Indispensable Man
Thomas Slaughter. The Whiskey Rebellion
Phyllis Levin. Abigail Adams
Lynne Withey. Dearest Friend
Fawn Brodie. Thomas Jefferson
Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
Dumas Malone. Jefferson and His Time (Any Volume)
Alexander DeConde. This Affair of Louisiana
Michael Kitzer. Tripoli and the United States at War
Larry Tise. Proslavery
Merrill Peterson. The Great Triumvirate
Robert Remini. Henry Clay
Drew McCoy. The Last of the Fathers
George Dangerfield. The Awakening of American Nationalism
Marvin Meyers. The Jacksonian Persuasion
Edward Pessen. Jacksonian America
John Meacham, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
Irving Brandt. The Fourth President
George Dangerfield. The Era of Good Feelings
Samuel Flagg Bemis. John Quincy Adams & the Foundations of American Foreign Policy
Robert Remini. Andrew Jackson & The Course of American Freedom
____________. Andrew Jackson & The Course of American Democracy
John Belohlavik. Let the Eagle Soar
John Niven. Martin Van Buren
Richard McCaslin. Tainted Breeze
Robert Johannsen. To the Halls of the Montezumas
John Weems. To Conquer A Peace
Allan Nevins. Ordeal of the Union Vols. 1, 2, or 3
Robert Ilisevich. Galusha A. Grow
Craig Simpson. A Good Southerner: The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia
Kenneth Stampp. And the War Came
John Boles. Black Southerners 1619-1869
Eugene Genovese. Roll, Jordan, Roll
Peter H. Wood. Black Majority
Winthrop Jordan. The White Man ‘s Burden
Martin Duberman. The Anti-Slavery Vanguard
Robert Fogel & Stanley Engerman. Time on the Cross
Gerda Lerner. The Grimke Sisters
Richard Sewell. Ballots For Freedom
Hans Trefousse. The Radical Republicans
Robert Abzug. Passionate Liberator
Jean Baker. Mary Todd Lincoln
Carl Sandburg. Abraham Lincoln: One Volume Edition
Benjamin Thomas. Abraham Lincoln
David Potter. The Impending Crisis
William Davis. Jefferson Davis
Clement Eaton. Jefferson Davis
James M. McPherson. Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam
William Marvel. Burnside
Byron Farwell. Stonewall
Thomas Connelly. The Marble Man
James Robertson, Jr. General A. P. Hill
Emory Thomas. Bold Dragoon
Bruce Catton. The Coming Fury
__________. Terrible Swift Sword
__________. Never Call Retreat
__________. This Hallowed Ground
Allan Nevins. The War for the Union, Vols. 1, 2, 3, or 4
Gerald Linderman. Embattled Courage
Joseph Glatthar. Partners in Command
Paul Escott. After Secession
David Dewitt. The Impeachment & Trial of Andrew Johnson
W.E.B. DuBois. Black Reconstruction in America
Richard Abbott. The Republican Party & the South
C. Vann Woodward. Reunion and Reaction
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