Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write and Think about History, Second Edition
July 2012, ©2012, Wiley-Blackwell
- Includes expert advice on writing about history, conducting good research, and learning how to think analytically
- Includes a new chapter addressing common situations that represent steps in the transition from a rough first draft to a final version
- Covers important topics such as framing questions, developing a strong introduction and topic sentences, choosing good evidence, and the crucial role of revision
- Includes an annotated case study that takes the reader through one student’s process of writing an essay, illustrating how strategies in the text can be successfully implemented
- New edition features updates to cultural references, a newly written preface, and reorganized table of contents
Preface to the Second Edition xii
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. Th e Sources of History 21
4. Good Answers Begin with Good Questions 30
5. Search Engines, Research Ingenuity 37
6. How to Read a Book without Ever Getting to Chapter One 47
Part II Writing About History 61
7. Analysis: Th e Intersection of Reading and Writing 63
8. Making a Case: An Argument in Three Parts 72
9. Defi ning Introductions 80
10. Strong Bodies (I): Th e Work of Topic Sentences 92
11. Strong Bodies (II): Exposition and Evidence 101
12. Strong Bodies (III): Counterargument and Counterevidence 112
13. Surprising Conclusions 120
14. Scaling the Summit: Crystallizing Your Argument 127
15. Writing is Rewriting: Th e Art of Revision 132
16. Putting It All Together: Th e Research Essay (A Case Study) 140
Conclusion: The Love of History 160
A Writing an Essay: Ten Easy Steps in Review 164
B Essay Varieties: DBQs, Reviews, and Comparison Assignments 166
C Let’s Give a Hand: Bibliographies and Footnotes 173
D Credit Scams: Th e Dangers of Plagiarism 184
E Web of Lies? Weighing the Internet 189
F A Glossary of Key Terms 193
G More Reading About Writing 198
Praise for the first edition:
“There's a level of sophistication in Essaying the Past that is disguised by its utterly clear and engaging style. Jim Cullen tells students just what they need to know to write about the past.”
– Mari Jo Buhle, Brown University
“The ultimate insider’s guide to historical writing, the new gold standard in the field.”
– Kerry Walk, Otis College of Art and Design
Praise for the second edition:
“Newly revised and better than ever, Essaying the Past remains the single most useful resource for history students and instructors in high school and college.”
– Burke Miller, Northern Kentucky University
“Jim Cullen presents a compelling case for the historical essay as a tool of learning and plots the course for success with a rare combination of clarity, sophistication, humor, and easy candor.”
– James E. Wadsworth, Stonehill College
“A clear, concise and engaging guide to the practice of history. Jim Cullen excels in walking students through all the steps of researching and writing a persuasive paper.”
– Carter Jones Meyer, Ramapo College of New Jersey
“In this first-rate book, Jim Cullen delivers a concise and accessible guide to the critical work that historians do: reading, writing, and thinking about history. Students will find it informative and a pleasure to read.”
– Elizabeth Smith-Pryor, Kent State University
“With lucidity, verve, and empathy, Cullen lays the writing process bare, including fumbles, setbacks, and paths not taken. In analyzing the writing of history, he also shows why it matters.”
– Roberta Pergher, The University of Kansas
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