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Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write, and Think about History, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-119-11190-0
216 pages
December 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write, and Think about History, 3rd Edition (1119111900) cover image

Description

Part research manual, part study guide, and part introduction to the study of history, Essaying the Past guides the reader through the nuts and bolts of producing good historical prose, offering key strategies and useful tips.

  • Includes expert advice on writing about history, conducting good research, and learning how to think analytically
  • Covers important topics such as framing questions, developing a strong introduction and topic sentences, choosing good evidence, and the crucial role of revision
  • An annotated case study takes the reader through one student’s process of writing an essay and illustrates how strategies discussed in the book can be successfully implemented
  • Six appendices cover the major issues facing students today, such as the dangers of plagiarism and the role of the internet
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition ix

Preface to the Third Edition xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction to the Student: Why Would You Look at a Book Like This? 1

Part I Thinking and Reading about History 5

1 History: It’s about Time 7

2 What’s the Story with History? 14

3 The Sources of History 20

4 Good Answers Begin with Good Questions 29

5 Search Engines, Research Ingenuity 35

6 How to Read a Book without Ever Getting to Chapter One 44

Part II Writing about History 57

7 Analysis: The Intersection of Reading and Writing 59

8 Making a Case: An Argument in Three Parts 67

9 Defining Introductions 74

10 Strong Bodies (I): The Work of Topic Sentences 86

11 Strong Bodies (II): Exposition and Evidence 94

12 Strong Bodies (III): Counterargument and Counterevidence 104

13 Surprising Conclusions 111

14 Scaling the Summit: Crystallizing Your Argument 118

15 Writing is Rewriting: The Art of Revision 123

16 Putting It All Together: The Research Essay (A Case Study) 130

Conclusion: The Love of History 149

Appendices

A Writing an Essay: Ten Easy Steps in Review 152

B Essay Varieties: DBQs, Reviews, and Comparison Assignments 154

C Let’s Give a Hand: Bibliographies and Footnotes 160

D Credit Scams: The Dangers of Plagiarism 170

E Web of Lies? Weighing the Internet 174

F A Glossary of Key Terms 177

G More Reading about Writing 182

Index 185

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Author Information

Jim Cullen teaches history at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York. He was previously a Preceptor in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard University. He is the author of nine books, among them Imperfect Presidents: Tales of Misadventure and Triumph (2007), The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation (2003) and Born in the U.S.A.: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition (1997).
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The Wiley Advantage


  • Includes expert advice on writing about history, conducting good research, and learning how to think analytically
  • Covers important topics such as framing questions, developing a strong introduction and topic sentences, choosing good evidence, and the crucial role of revision
  • An annotated case study takes the reader through one student’s process of writing an essay and illustrates how strategies discussed in the book can be successfully implemented
  • Six appendices cover the major issues facing students today, such as the dangers of plagiarism and the role of the internet
See More
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