Every student in class is expected to write one paper. This is the paper topic assignment sheet for this course. This is your work. More than any exam, this will be a manifestation of yourself. It will be something you produce! So, put some heart and soul into it. Make it something of which you can be proud.
Minimum requirements: The paper must be typed. It should be six to ten pages in length. It must be written in size 11 and submitted at 1.5 spaces. Any attempt to stretch a paper by selecting other specifications will be duly noted and your grade shall be adjusted downward. A paper written at the last minute will reflect that fact. I will not be fooled. Do not use encyclopedia or textbooks as sources. Do not submit a paper written in a voice other than your own. You will be caught as others have been. They have regretted their unfortunate decision to plagiarize! Do not submit a late paper. Grades will similarly be negatively adjusted because of lateness. Excuses, even good ones, will be listened to, noted and your grade will still likely suffer. Please no Internet sources. Good luck. Put your heart into it. You shall not regret it!
I cannot accept a late paper. I must file final grades immediately. So, bring a hard copy of your paper to the final exam. I do not accept papers by email. If you think your printer might break or your zip drive might melt down or whatever else might happen, have your paper done early.
Please choose one of the following books:
· The Roads to Modernity : The British, French, and American Enlightenments by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
· The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
· How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods Jr
· Citizens : A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama.
· Napoleon: A Penguin Life by Paul Johnson.
· From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany by Richard Weikart.
· A Century of Genocide : Utopias of Race and Nation by Eric D. Weitz.
· Civilization and Its Enemies : The Next Stage of History by Lee Harris.
· The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror by Natan Sharansky.
· The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations? — by Tony Blankley.
· The Return of Anti-Semitism — by Gabriel Schoenfeld.
· Saddam’s Secrets by Georges Hormuz Sada.
· Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson, and Jesus are Battling to Dominate and Transform the World by Joel C. Rosenberg.
· The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany by Michael Beschloss.
· The Age of Reagan by Steven F. Hayward.
· A Different Drummer: My Thirty Years with Ronald Reagan by Michael K. Deaver.
· How America Got It Right : The U.S. March to Military and Political Supremacy by Bevin Alexander.
· The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission by William Kristol.
· Losing Bin Laden by Richard Miniter.
· The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America by Stephen F. Hayes.
· An Autumn of War : What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism by Victor Hanson.
· Bush at War by Bob Woodward.
· Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order by Robert Kagan.
· America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder by Bret Stephens (Nov. 18, 2014).
· Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace by Leon Panetta (Oct. 7, 2014).
· The World America Made – January 29, 2013 by Robert Kagan.
· Western Civilization and the Academy by Bradley C.S. Watson
· The Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky by Paul Johnson
First, read the book in its entirety. Next, give me a paper that tells me: What are the main arguments that the author makes? What ideas, issues and historical figures that we specifically discuss in our class does the author discuss? How does the author illuminate these issues, ideas and historical figures? In what way does this book contribute to your knowledge of the development of western civilization?
Finally, rate the book from 1-10. I work hard to give my students books that are not a drag to read. Your rating can help me to recommend good books and weed out losers. Did you enjoy the book? Was it well-written, lively, and enjoyable to read? Did you learn as much as you had hoped you might? Your rating will not effect the grade you receive. Put it on your title page in the upper right hand corner.
Tips on how to write a history paper at the college level:
1. Don’t write a high school paper. A high school paper summarizes the book for the bulk of the paper and then answers questions in the last page or so.
2. Write a college-level paper. A college-level history paper answers some burning question or questions in your mind about the book throughout the paper. The paper is about these answers you’ve come up with to these questions. Perhaps you’ve heard this called the thesis.
3. Use quotes. But do not use quotes just to use them. Use them to further your argument. Tell me why you are using the quote. Quote. And then ramble on for a while about the quote.
4. Use your quotes to do a close reading. What is that? It is what we frequently do in class. Look at your quote and dissect it. Squeeze it for information. Make it yield up every drop of juice it can. Only then should you move on.
5. Dare to fall in love with your book. I go out of my way to choose interesting, thought-provoking, controversial, well-written books. I am constantly reading book reviews in search of the most hotly-debated books in the history community – and sometimes even among the presidents of nations. Now, it’s your turn. Spend time with your book. Get to know your author and his or her thoughts. Enjoy the experience.
6. Buy your book early. That way, when the spirit moves you, you can begin to read.
7. If you can’t decide on a book, discuss it with me. Let’s figure out what you want in a book. Then, maybe I can help move you in the right direction.
8. Go to the library. See what other authors have to say about the same subject. Then, quote those other authors. Or quote authors we’ve read in class.
9. Make certain that you’ve read the entire book – and that that comes through in your paper.
10. Put the book into the context of the course. Discuss the ideas in the book that we also discuss in class. Make your paper a part of our colloquy.
11. Use the Writing Center. They are there to help you to improve your paper and your writing skills.