Hi Hitler! How the Nazi Past is Bei ng Normalized in Contemporary Culture by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld

A book review assignment expects you to offer a critical evaluation of a piece of writing with
respect to both structure and content. A review should contain three main elements. It should provide a
brief summary of the book and the author’s main argument(s). So, the review should answer the basic
question: what is this book about? You do not want to linger here, as the point is not to provide so much
detail that the reader of your review does not need to read the book. You want enough detail to provide
the gist of the book. Like in the perhaps more familiar movie review, you want to tell the reader what the
movie is about without spoiling the experience of seeing it. A book review should also comment on how
well the author made their argument. Was their argument organized in a clear, logical way? Was the
author’s argument easy to follow and reinforced throughout the piece? Was it well written and easy to
understand? You should provide evidence from the book for your answers to these questions; examples of
good or bad writing – depending on your conclusions. Again, a comparison to a movie review is helpful
here (“good plot, but the filming and editing were so poor it made the plot harder to understand. For
example, in the scene where…”). The third element in a book review is your evaluation of the book’s
content and argument. You’ve discussed what the author argued, you discussed how well they made that
argument; now you must engage with the argument itself. In an academic book review, this element is
probably the most important. For our specific purposes, consider what the author’s arguments say about
ideas of the past and how those ideas alter over time. What does the author say about how our relationship
with the past is informed by our present? Finally, this is your review. Say whether you were or were not
convinced by the author’s argument and why. Ultimately: did you like the book? Why or why not?
Although a book review is different from an “essay” in which you do your own research, it should
follow roughly the same pattern. You are making an argument, insofar as you are going to make assertions
about this book one way or the other. Those should be stated, briefly, near the beginning of your review
and elaborated with evidence in the body of the work – just like in an essay. In this way, a book review is
similar to an essay even though you are asked to perform a slightly different task.