Tony Horwitz. Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War. New York: Picador Press, 2011.
Assignment: In a 4-5 page double-spaced book review, be sure to hit upon the following questions. You must include evidence and quotes from the book to support your arguments. Please use Chicago Style formatting for citations. Do not use “I think” or “In my opinion.”
1. What is Horwitz’s topic of study? Time period?
2. What is his thesis? State it without saying “His thesis is…” Think about praising the historian here. He “persuasively” argues that… He “deftly” shows how… Using great creativity and imagination, he revises the traditional narrative by showing how…
3. What sources did Horwitz use? Are the sources credible? Did Horwitz use one or two sources more than others? Is the source base balanced, compelling, varied, etc.?
4. Are there weaknesses in the book? Think about structure, the writing, sources, the overarching thesis, supporting arguments, the content itself. Is there too much or too little evidence? Did the historian leave out something or someone who should have been discussed?
5. How does the book contribute to the field of study, i.e. the history of the American Civil War? Does the historian merely add to what we already know? Does he take another scholar to task and challenge his or her argument? Does the historian provide new and original research thereby furthering our understanding of the topic?
6. Which audience will most find the study helpful, interesting, and significant? A general audience, the scholarly community, college undergraduates, high school students, etc.?