Comparstive Book Report firstbook
just go to readings and there is the book
second book the one we pick for the proposal
this is a comparative book report, the second book has a lot of things for before 1945, please dont focus too much on that, just focus more in the things after 1945 EUH 3282 Dr. Sven Kube
Assignment 3: Comparative Book Report
Historical studies present reconstructions of the past. Shaped by multiple factors (for instance: gaps in
the published literature, the persona of the scholar, and discourses at the time the research is
conducted), books vary in content (subjects, settings, periods etc.) and form (approaches,
methodologies, sources etc.). Attaining an overview of knowledge about the past by connecting
monographs in meaningful ways, therefore, is a frequent exercise in the field of History. After critically
engaging one individual book, for your final written assignment in this course you will practice
comparing and contrasting historical accounts provided by at least two monographs. In accordance
with your interests in European History since 1945, and if possible by building on the work you have
done in this course so far, you will produce a Comparative Book Report. Outlined below are the steps
you need to take to complete this task.
1) Choose Books and Submit the Proposal
Making informed (and thus smart) choices on books to compare and contrast will greatly alleviate work
on the actual report. For the assignment, you need to use two to three thematically related
monographs. The first of those can be the work you engaged for your Critical Book Review (if your
assignment turned out well). Each of the works in your selection must meet the following criteria:
It has to be a monograph: a stand-alone book publication on one particular subject (usually)
written by one author
It has to be written in English and contain at least 200 pages of chapter text
It has to be an academic publication, ideally produced by a “university press” publisher
It has to investigate a historical subject to explain change over time
Your choices should resonate with your individual interests in European politics, economy, society,
culture, and ideology / religion since 1945. Ideally (depending on how well your review went), your
choice for the review you recently wrote can be your starting point (below: “first work”).
If you are not sure whether your choices qualify (or seem like good picks), send a Canvas Messages
beforehand to inquire. Please note the guaranteed response times as per the syllabus.
Some Examples for Approaches to Selecting Related Works
if your first work analyzed a subject from a very specific angle, your other work(s) could apply a
distinctly different perspective on that same subject (example: a political versus a cultural
history of an “economic miracle” in 1950s Western Europe)
if your first work analyzed a subject in a specific country, your other work(s) could investigate a
related subject in the same setting (example: the influx of jazz to the Soviet Union versus the
influx of rock „n‟ roll to the Soviet Union)
if your first work analyzed a subject in a specific country or time period, your other work(s)
could investigate the same subject in a different setting or period (example: immigration to
France versus immigration to Great Britain, or immigration to France during the Cold War
versus immigration to France since 1990)
if your first work portrayed a figure of significance, your other work(s) could investigate a related
figure of comparable standing from the same period (example: Margaret Thatcher as the face
of British conservatism versus Helmut Kohl as the representative of 1980s West German
You must ensure that all works you choose are instantly available to you (from the library, in physical
or online format, or from a commercial outlet). It is your responsibility to ensure unrestricted access to
the works you choose.
You need to submit your proposal through Canvas by Sunday, November 07, 11:59pm. Your
submission must contain the following:
Bibliographic entries identifying Author Name, Title, Place of Publication, Name of Publisher,
and Year of Publication in proper Chicago Style (Notes and Bibliography) format for the two to
three books your report will engage
Proposal Text of at least 300 words explaining how your choices connect (subject, place, time)
and what specific aspects you plan to compare and contrast in your report (it helps to know
what the books actually say)
The rubric for the Comparative Book Report assignment will allot fifteen percent of points to this
2) Write the Essay
Write an informed and argumentative essay of between 1,500 and 2,500 words that connects the
monographs from different angles. Refrain from retelling the respective narratives and focus on
comparing and contrasting the historical analyses that the works under scrutiny provide. Here are
some aspects that you may want to address:
Questions for Inspiration (you do not need to work through all of those, but consider them as you read and write)
In what ways do the books‟ historical narratives connect (subject, place, time, actors,
In what ways do the books‟ approaches (authors‟ perspectives/biases, methodologies, main
sources) shape similar or different reconstructions and arguments?
What general patterns in the histories told correspond to each other or contradict each other?
Do the books by and large complement or challenge each other? What are the reasons?
What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the volumes in comparison? Why?
How do the books in conjunction benefit an understanding of the past that is greater than
simply two accounts combined (in other words: Is the insight gained from reading them in
conjunction greater than the sum of the respective parts)? How so?
What gaps remain or open up between the historical accounts under scrutiny?
Make sure your essay begins with an introductory paragraph, continues with thematic body
paragraphs, and ends with a brief conclusion. Your introduction needs to state in the form of a thesis
statement what major points your report raises. Each body paragraph needs to address a specific part,
theme, or aspect of your comparison. The conclusion needs to contain a closing statement that
provides some thoughtful reflection.
Make precise references to the texts throughout your essay and avoid obvious (and thus meaningless)
comparisons (“This book focuses on jazz and the other one on rock „n‟ roll, which is a different kind of
music that arrived much later, and that is what sets the works apart.”). Engage the texts in an analytical
fashion instead of passing journalistic value judgments (“The first volume presents an entertaining story
while the other‟s excitement levels remain depressingly low.”). Do not use personal / first-person
speech and abstain from writing informal English (“Gotta be honest here: If you‟ve read the first one,
you‟ll find that the second one isn‟t quite up to scratch.”)
Format your paper in accordance with the standards of the Chicago Manual of Style (Notes and
Bibliography). Identify all cited content with the aid of proper footnotes and include a full list of works
Consider working with the Department of History‟s writing tutors in the process of completing the
assignment. Remember to schedule appointments ahead of time. Review the rubric on Canvas.
3) Submit your Comparative Book Report
Please and by all means heed what the syllabus states with regard to academic honesty (particularly
plagiarism) as well as verifiability and lateness of submissions. Your assignment must be saved and
submitted in .docx or .pdf format. Alternate file types (such as .pages etc.) as well as files containing
characters, formatting, and scripts that render them unreadable to Canvas are not allowed.
Submissions need to constitute responses to the actual task to receive any credit and be considered
on time. The submission deadline is Sunday, November 21, at 11:59pm.
This assignment accounts for thirty percent of your course grade.
Mucha suerte / Good luck / Viel Glück !