Book Review on Specters of Revolution by Alexander Avia
STEP 1: Read Specters of Revolution: Peasant Guerillas in the Cold War Mexican Countrysideby Alexander Avia. Take notes on the book as you read. You should take factual notes, but also notes for yourself that bring up how the author approaches the topic, and the arguments that he makes.
STEP 2: Write a scholarly book review on Specters of Revolution. The review must be between 700-900 words. Strictly adhere to this guideline. At the top of the review, you should have the reviewed work, including publication information and the cost. Use these prices: Cloth: $105 Paper: $29.95. When writing the books information, follow exactly the example from my book review (on Canvas). At the bottom of your paper, write your first and last name, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. These seemingly minor details are part of your grade. Many scholarly publications would simply throw out your review if you do not follow their guidelines. YOU MUST INCLUDE THE UNCG ACADEMIC INTEGRITY STATEMENT AT THE END OF THE PAPER AND TYPE YOUR NAME WITH THE DATE.
Your review should: –Analyze the central arguments made by the author. Address whether his arguments are convincing based on the evidence that he presents.-Offer any criticism or suggestions for how it could be improved. Be specific.Your review should address some (understandably not all) of the following:-Briefly explain who Genaro Vazquez and Lucio Cabaas were and how the author portrays them and the movements they led.-Address the authors conceptualization of rebel leaders as specters.-How does his work help us understand resistance to Mexicos one-party system under the PRI?-Connections (if not practically, at least ideologically or goal-based) with the Mexican Student Movement?-How does the author develop his themes?-Does the author offer ample evidence to support his arguments or themes?-Guerrilla leaders as viewing the PRI as betraying the ideas of the Mexican Revolution of the 1910s-Impact of the Cuban Revolution (that brought Castro to power) on popular movements in Mexico-How did the PRIs actions radicalize Cabaas and Vazquez into becoming guerrilla fighters?-How did the rebel movements demonstrate class conflict?-Broader context of Cold War being played out in Latin America?-Connections to today-Connections to past (Zapata, agrarian reform, etc.)
OTHER POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND:-For specific references to the book, simply put the page number in parentheses after the referenced material.-You can use direct quotes from the book, and obviously you would put those in quotation marks and then give the page number in parentheses. Make sure that direct quotes are important arguments or points made by the author. You should not directly quote simple factual information, such as when someone was born or the years of a presidency.-Be concise. Go through each sentence and see if you could have written it in a more direct manner. Avoid passive voice.-Carefully edit your work. You may want to take it to the Writing Center. Spelling and grammar are part of your grade. -Vary your verbs: For instance: Avia argues- Avia asserts Avia maintains Avia demonstrates -think about which word fits what you are saying. If the author is making a point that might be challenged by another scholar, argues would be appropriate. But argues would not be appropriate for an undisputed fact that is common knowledge-Avoid vague statements like I really liked this book, or this was not a good book. Avoid personal attacks on the author such as he does not seem to be a good historian-This is not a novel. You can say book or work, etc.-Remember that this is a scholarly work. The focus is to help the reader understand important historical developments. Historical works should be interesting, but their purpose is not pure entertainment as many novels are. Keep this in mind as you write the review.-At some point, you should make the topic, setting, time period clear. A reader should not be wondering-was this occurring in the 1960s/70s or 1920s?-Keep in mind that acronyms are based on Spanish and thus do not always fit the acronym letters when translated- give the English translation the first time, and then you can use acronyms. For example: PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party)-Alexander Avia, not Alexander Avina. In MS word, click on InsertSymbol find the -Give full name the first time you mention someone. Use last name only for subsequent references.One of the primary aspects of reviewing a scholarly history book is to place it in historiographical context. Historiography is essentially what other scholars have written about history. Since you probably have not read other books on 20th century Mexico, you will not be able to do this, but you should place it in historical context.
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