House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization

Book needs to be from: Lyons, Jonathan.  House of Wisdom:  How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization.
9781596914599    2008 Bloomsbury USA
First, introduce the author and give some personal information.

Second, it needs to explain what the author’s thesis was and, in your opinion how well the author accomplished this purpose.  The thesis is an author’s argument or assertion about a particular subject, the author’s beliefs about something important, the book’s philosophical conclusion, or the proposition the author means to prove.

Third, it needs to provide an analysis of the work from a literary and analytical perspective.

Finally, you need to provide a reflective or personal analysis of the book: What did you learn, would you recommend it, did it make an impact on you in some way, it this an “important” book, etc.
To flesh out the three requirements above, here are some suggestions to consider when writing your review in no particular order : These are standard procedures for writing book reviews; they are suggestions, not formulae that must be used.  You should use some of these, but you are not required to use all of them!

1)Write a statement giving essential information about the book: title, author, first copyright date, type of book, general subject matter, special features (maps, color plates, etc.), price and ISBN.
a)State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Sometimes authors state their purpose in the preface or the first chapter. When they do not, you may arrive at an understanding of the book’s purpose by
i)Scanning the Table of Contents.  This can help you understand how the book is organized and will aid in determining the author’s main ideas and how they are developed – chronologically, topically, etc.
ii)Looking for other book reviews.  If you use these, be sure to reference them in footnotes.

2)Include some biographical information about the author.
a)What is his background?  Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?
b)What is his reputation, qualifications, influences, biographical, etc. – any information that is relevant to the book being reviewed and that would help to establish the author’s authority.
c)Can you discern any connections between the author’s philosophy, life experience and the reviewed book?
d)Who is the intended audience?

3)How is the book as read?  What is the author’s style?  Is it formal or informal?  Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity, originality, forcefulness, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity . Does it suit the intended audience?  Is it readable?  Enjoyable?

4)How did the book affect you?  Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned, or reinforced due to this book?  How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda?  What personal experiences you’ve had relate to the subject?

5)How well has the book achieved its goal?

6)Evaluate the book for interest, accuracy, objectivity, importance, thoroughness, and usefulness to its intended audience. Show whether the author’s main arguments are true. Respond to the author’s opinions. What do you agree or disagree with? And why?

7)Illustrate whether or not any conclusions drawn are derived logically from the evidence. Explore issues the book raises. What possibilities does the book suggest? What has the author omitted or what problems were left unsolved? What specific points are not convincing? Compare it with other books on similar subjects or other books by the same as well as different authors. Is it only a reworking of earlier books; a refutation of previous positions? Have newly uncovered sources justified a new approach by the author? Comment on parts of particular interest, and point out anything that seems to give the book literary merit. Relate the book to larger issues.

8)Check the back matter. Is the index accurate? Check any end notes or footnotes as you read from chapter to chapter. Do they provide important additional information? Do they clarify or extend points made in the body of the text?

9)Summarize (briefly), analyze, and comment on the book’s content. State your general conclusions. Pay particular attention to the author’s concluding chapter. Is the summary convincing? List the principal topics, and briefly summarize the author’s ideas about these topics, main points, and conclusions. Use specific references and quotations to support your statements. If your thesis has been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. It can include a final assessment or simply restate your thesis. Do not introduce new material at this point.

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