Assignment

Write a book review (3-4 pages, double-spaced, 12-pt. font, Times New Roman) on “New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth century Manhattan” by Jill Lepore.

This should be a critical commentary not a summary of the plot. The purpose of a review is to make an argument. This is an opportunity for you to have a conversation with the author and give your
opinion on their work. An “argument” does not mean you have to disagree with the author’s conclusions. You may agree or disagree (or both) with the author’s style, structure, viewpoint, or use of
sources — but you need to explain why you agree or disagree (or both) with them and use specific examples from the book to bolster your argument.

As for the structure of the book review, the writing center at UNC-Chapel Hill recommends that a reviewer first give “a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the
topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose. Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content. This involves your reactions to the work under
review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand. Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a
review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.” I expect to see all three of these aspects in your paper.

Be sure to use specific examples from the book, and feel free to use Susan Klepp’s review as a guidepost. I would also recommend reading other book reviews (NY Times, etc) to see how they are
formatted.

We will be discussing this book in class so papers must be submitted to me before class starts. Any papers that are submitted afterwards will be deducted in points.


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