Essaying the Past: How to Read, Write, and Think about History / Edition 2

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The second edition of Essaying the Past features a variety of updates and enhancements to further its standing as an indispensible resource to all aspects of researching and writing historical essays.

  • 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
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A tour de force — an ideal text for virtually any history course that is the least bit writing-intensive. Written with verve, insight, and a keen sense of humor, it will delight students and professors alike.”
Charles L. Ponce de Leon, California State University at Long Beach

“The ultimate insider’s guide to historical writing, the new gold standard in the field.”
Kerry Walk, Director of the Princeton Writing Program, Princeton University

“A captivating, stimulating, meaningful, and insightful tool for history students (who are not always prepared to succeed in academia) and their professors (who are demanding because they want their students to succeed).”
James Ross-Nazzal, Houston Community College

“A lively and entertaining book on how to think and write about history. Cullen’s book provides an indispensable guide for students and teachers alike.”
Gregory L. Schneider, Emporia State University

“Jim Cullen is the teacher we all wish we’d had. His examples range from Thucydides to Avril Lavigne, and he even offers advice on how to read blurbs.”
Steven Biel, Executive Director of the Humanities Center and Senior Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University, author of American Gothic: A Life of America’s Most Famous Painting

“Underscores the essential elements in essay writing and crafting the history research paper. Cullen's book offers explanations and examples that are useful in critical analysis for students learning how to write like historians.”
James Barrera, South Texas College

“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

“Clear, engaging, and eminently practical, Cullen's guide to writing (and thinking) history moves to the head of the class as the best such book we have. It is truly a gift to all those who teach or learn history.”
E. Anthony Rotundo, Phillips Academy Andover

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444351408
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 330,888
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Cullen teaches history at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City. Cullen, a former Preceptor in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard University, is the author of several books, including The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation (2003) and the forthcoming, provisionally titled Sensing the Past: Hollywood Actors as Historians.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

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

Index 200

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    Writeing contest


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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