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I am John Swales, now officially retired as a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I was also Director of the English Language Institute for many years. I have written quite a lot of books, the first being "Writing Scientific English" in 1971 and the last "Incidents in an Educational Life" in 2009. Although retired, I keep professionally active and go to my office in the university several times a week. I am currently working on two new small advanced EAP textbooks with my regular co-author, Christine Feak. I still travel quite often to give talks and workshops about my main fields such as genre analysis and English academic discourse; for example, in 2009, I went to Brazil, China and Argentina on such ventures. My main hobbies are bird-watching and butterfly-watching; indeed, along with three others, I am currently working on a second edition of "The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan." My main publishers are the University of Michigan Press and Cambridge University Press.
This new book by John Swales and Christine Feak is a strong follow-on from their Academic Writing for Graduate Students (U of Michigan Press). Swales has a long and distinguished career as a researcher into English for Academic Purposes, and this book is the first I know of that focuses on the highest level of EAP: writing up/writing about academic research in ways appropriate to get it published in scholarly journals. Occupying its niche market alone, it is a sure-fire winner. While the book covers the genre areas I would expect, I also found it surprising that it includes the treatment of a few areas of grammar. Indeed, even university professors can use some grammatical brush-up, but it is difficult to do some of this without giving full coverage. And while Swales and Feak are among the best-qualified to know what the key problem areas of grammar in scholarly writing are, the book seems not to give them the space to cover enough areas, or even to cover these few areas sufficiently. The book's other problem is unavoidable: scholarly research articles are LONG texts, and the authors are unable to include many examples. Consequently they have to make the same texts do service as examples for a number of topics: this works as well as could be expected, but leaves me somewhat dissatisfied. Despite these problems, this is a book that many academics, whether non-native or native speakers of English, will want to buy for its valuable insights into how "English in today's research world" works, and how a new scholar can break into the academic marketplace. It is well-written, interesting and surprisingly varied. It's probably a good gift for any new PhD beginning a university career.
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This is a useful companion for writing academic papers. I recommend is for anyone who is entering graduate school or considering graduate study. Swales and Feak give advice we need from professors but often fail to receive.
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