Book Summary

Learning Goal: I’m working on a history report and need a sample draft to help me learn.


Write a 750-1000-word book review of Charles Mann’s 1493.

A book review analyzes and communicates important features of a book for potential readers, as opposed to a book report which is focused on summarizing its contents. A strong book review will identify and analyze the main argument of the book, its use of sources, and its research methodology. The reviewer will ultimately make their own argument about how or why the book is valuable to a particular audience.

Due Date: Friday October 7, 11:59pm EST on Canvas


  1. Read the article “Writing a Book Review” on the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) site: to an external site.
  2. Write a thorough outline of your review. Use the template below to outline before you begin writing.
  3. Write a 750-1000 word book review based on your outline.
  4. Title the review: “Book Review: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
    Created. Mann, Charles C. 2011. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.”
  5. The final draft is due on Canvas by Friday October 7, 11:59pm EDT.

Sample Outline

A book review provides summary and analysis of a text based on the perspective of the reviewer. Here is a sample outline you should use when preparing the background for your essay:

  1. Introduction: How is this book useful for an undergraduate history student?
  2. Summary: How does the author organize their narrative? Go chapter by chapter or section by section.
  3. Methodology: How does the author use sources to answer their research question?
  4. Main argument of the book: What is the author’s main argument or thesis?
  5. Critique of the book’s main argument: Is the argument convincing and meaningful?
  6. Critique of methodology: Are the sources, research methods, and presentation appropriate?
  7. Conclusion: Restate your introduction in light of the evidence in paragraphs 2-6.

Requirements: 750-1000 words

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