Book Review – Patricia B. Ebrey – Cambridge – Illustrated History of China Essay

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Book required for this assignment: Patricia B. Ebrey – Cambridge – Illustrated History of China (Cambridge UP 1996)

Include full bibliographical information for the book (author, title, place of publication, publisher, date, number of pages) either right below the title (if you have one) or instead of a title

In a review you should address such issues as approach to the material, scope of the book, and relative strengths and weaknesses. In order to prove your thesis about strengths and shortcomings in the book you are reviewing, it would be useful to provide several concrete examples of how certain topics are addressed, or whether they are addressed at all. Use the main textbook as a guide to what’s important. You might also want to consider what the selection of material reveals about the preferences and biases of the author(s). Do NOT write in first person! (instead of saying “I think that…” ; say “it would appear to the reader that…”)

1. Scope
– Contents of the book: chronological and geographical limits
– Type of history: political, social, international relations etc.
– Type of presentation: chronological, thematic, national
– Title: accurate or misleading

2. Presentation
– organization of material
– objectivity of account, reflections of authors’ bias
– author’s control of the material
– author’s knowledge of historiography on select subjects
– use of maps and illustrations

3. Special topics
Choose two or three special topics and briefly analyze their treatment.

4. Conclusion
Assess the relative value of the book to its intended audience (scholars, general public, or students). Pay special attention to the question of usefulness of older publications.

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