Critical Book Review
Overview: The purpose of this assignment is to develop your critical evaluation skills and to practice applying theoretical and substantive knowledge to the understanding of works of others. In this assignment, you are also required to provide an evaluation of Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist and reflection on how your perspectives have changed or reaffirmed as a result of reading this book.
Your book review should be no more than four (4) pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman, font 12 excluding your cover page and bibliography. Your papers must follow the APA format (a brief guidance on APA formatting is provided on Canvas). All papers must be submitted on Canvas by 11:59 pm on the due date in WORD format (no .pages or pdfs). The grading rubric is on the next page.
Writing a Critical Book Review
A book review is a critical evaluation in the form of a commentary on the works produced by others. It is not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into a dialogue and discussion with the author and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement to the content, style, analysis etc and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question. Your book review should resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You should also incorporate other academic works (theoretical or research) to support your evaluation of the works.
Steps in writing your book review.
• Introduction: What is the thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world you know? What has the book accomplished? This means providing a concise summary of the content which includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose (about ½ page)
• Content: What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? What is the approach to the subject (topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive)? How does the author support his/her argument? What evidence does she use to prove her point? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? (about 1 page)
• Critical Evaluation: Your review should offer a critical assessment of the content. This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, was effective or persuasive, and did it enhance your understanding of the issues at hand. You should think about whether any of the author’s information (or conclusions) conflict with other literature you have read or previous assumptions you had of the subject? You should also detail the reasons why you support or disagree with the arguments made by the author. You should include theoretical or research evidence to support your assessment. You should cite at least 2 other academic sources (these can be any of the readings in the course or other external literature). (about 1.5 page)
• Personal Reflection & Conclusion: You should reflect on what personal assumptions or perspective you have evaluated in light of reading the book and doing the book review. Discuss how your perspectives have been reinforced, shifted, transformed or altered (up to a page)
You can structure your paper using the headings given above or you may choose to create your own headings. The page limits for each section are mere suggestions. You are free to make each section as long or short as you wish. The only condition is that the paper is no more than 4 pages (no exceptions will be granted). This assignment requires you to express your ideas concisely but comprehensively, you might need to work on a few drafts to get everything down to four pages.
Please copy and paste this rubric on a separate page after your References. Your appendix should follow this rubric.
Exceptional Very competent Adequate Pass Fail Mark
Introduction & Content Exceptional thesis and summary of the event, incorporating all the main ideas. Comprehensive and complete coverage of information. Strong justification of topic (8-10 pts) Good thesis and summary of the event.
Most important information covered; little irrelevant info. Good justification of topic (7-7.75pts) Adequate thesis, justification and summary but several elements omitted.
Much of the information irrelevant; coverage of some of major points (6-6.75 pts). Brief review of the material; many important ideas omitted or majority of information irrelevant. Vague thesis. Topic not adequately justified (5-5.75pts) No evidence of engagement with the material. Most of the relevant information absent. Deficient thesis and justification of topic (<5pts)
Comprehension Extensive knowledge and understanding of the issue and their importance. Well supported claims (8-10 pts) Good understanding of the issues and their importance. Claims enjoy good support (7-775 pts.. Good understanding of some issues. Arguments had fairly good support (6-6.75 pts) Very little understanding of the material with little examples. Little support for arguments (5-5.75 pts)
. No evidence of understanding of the subject matter. Unsupported arguments (<5pts)
(max. 10 pts) Literature sourced are highly relevant and greatly enhanced to the review, correctly cited: 8-10 pts Literature sourced relevant and added good value to the review; minor problems with citation: 7-7.5 pts Literature sources has some relevance and added some value to the review. Some problems with citation 6-6.75pts Literature soured has little relevance/value to the review article. Problems with citation: 5-5.75 pts Literature not sourced or has no relevance/value to the review article. Citation absent or incorrect: < 5pts.
Evaluation/Critical Analysis High degree of critical thinking and superior ability to critique and synthesize materials. Ingenious solutions offered (8-10) Some evidence of critical thinking weaved into main points with good criticism and/ synthesis. Good solutions (7-7.75) Limited engagement with main points, but some evidence of critical thinking. Adequate solutions (6-6.75) Weakness in analysis of ideas with little evidence of critical thinking. Rudimentary understanding of implications or solutions (5-5.75) Severe weaknesses in analysis and evaluation of the material. No solutions offered (<5)
Critical Reflection Thorough description of assumptions, perspective and connections with the conceptual contents clearly outlines. Excellent narrative of perspective transformation or maintenance (4-5). Good outline of assumptions and perspective reasonably well connected to the conceptual contents. Good evaluation of perspective transformation or maintenance (3.5-3.75). Adequate outline of assumptions, perspective and connections with the conceptual contents clearly outlines. Adequate narrative of perspective transformation or maintenance (3-3.25). Weak outline of assumptions, perspective and connections with the conceptual contents clearly outlines. Weak narrative of perspective transformation or maintenance (2.5-2.75). Severe weaknesses in outline of assumptions, perspective and connections with the conceptual contents clearly outlines. Severely weak narrative of perspective transformation or maintenance (<2.5).
Presentation, Style, Grammar and Organization. Rhetorical devices and tone used effectively; Excellent grammar; Organization follows logical and coherent step (4-5) Tone and rhetoric appropriate; Strong writing with good grammar. Good organization (3.5-3.75). Adequate use of rhetoric devices; occasional grammatical mistakes and basic format (3-3.25). Weak style; frequent grammatical and citation errors; poorly organized paper (2.5-2.75) Severe weaknesses in the style, citations, grammar and organization of ideas (<2.5)
*Paper will be weighted to 25% of your final grade in the course.