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Everything's an Argument 3rd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312407162
ISBN-10: 0312407165
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's; 3rd edition (October 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312407165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312407162
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is designed to be an undergraduate-level textbook in persuasive writing. I read the book to see if I wanted to use it as a textbook for one of my classes. I think it's a very good textbook.

Part One introduces the types of arguments and various forums, as well as introducing the importance of context in persuasive writing -- it really matters who you are speaking to.

Part two covers the specific kinds of arguments in depth - arguments from the heart (humor and emotion), and those based on character, values, and facts.

Part Three is the meatiest portion of the book, addressing the structure of arguments, such as Toulmin analysis, arguments of definition, evaluation, cause, proposals, and humor.

Part Four deals with the style used in perfecting one's argument in written language, visual presentation, and spoken performances.

Part Five is shorter and discusses issues related to evidence, fallacious arguments (such as ad hominem attacks or slippery slope arguments), and intellectual property issues.

I like the clear writing style of the book and the informative explanation. The best part of the book, however, is the excerpts and examples. They are modern, relevant, engaging, and the students will enjoy reading and analyzing them. The chapter on Fallacies of Argument was also very strong, as well as the issues related to evidence.

Some things I did not like were the review questions at the end, some of which seemed ambiguous and overly time-consuming. Also, though the title is catchy, I do not accept that EVERYTHING is an argument -- the "Buckle-up" sign on the highway is just a sign.
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Format: Paperback
I have taught argumentative writing for 10 years, and this book is among those I have required at various times. Contrary to the "big deal" attitude some students take toward learning that all communication is argumentative, understanding the pervasive use and misuse of argument strategy is extremely important. Students need to learn, for example, that there is no logical connection between needing a break and eating at a particular fast-food restaurant. More importantly, they need to learn that there is no logical connection between a person's military history or his thoughts on whom other people should sleep with and his ability to lead a nation. The overwhelming use of poor argument in mass media has led to a culture of unsound reasoners and college students who cannot even identify the claims and reasons in their own arguments (not to mention that they, apparently, can't spell argument or Toulmin or avoid sentence fragments). This text attempts to address both the practical concerns that students face and the higher-order philosophy that was once the provence of postsecondary education. It covers both Aristolelean deductive argument and Toulminic inductive argument, yet it is concise and clearly written. While it does not cover everything, its conciseness and clarity free class time for discussions of the topics it does not cover, such as understanding the variety of discourse communities represented in the academy and how to adopt different argumentative strategies to establish ethos within those communities. It is extremely difficult to take students who cannot write a simple declarative English sentence and in 32 weeks of instruction move them to a point from which they can negotiate the labryntian discourse paths required for academic, professional, and personal success. Texts such as this one help.
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Format: Paperback
(this is a review for the fourth edition 2007)
This college textbook is in its fourth edition - doubling in size from 300 to 600 pages. The extensive index makes it useful as an auxiliary resource or even a stand alone.
The work is an encyclopedia on the subject of rhetoric. It is the first work on the subject that I have seen that includes `signifying' - a humorous style of African-American argument. In addition it includes the bones of a research handbook and the basics of Strunk & White. Unfortunately, it fails the Strunk & White goal of brevity. Making up for this in a great way is the section on citing almost every kind of resource in the MLA style. Even today there are MLA handbooks that omit instructions on how to cite articles that skip pages, how to quote from indirect pages or many other media other than print. The format is intensely visual which speaks well to the image rich environment in which we live. Visuals are key to instructing but shorten the life span of the work. In ten years, will a photo of Lil' Kim create the same learning opportunity as it does today? The book has a companion website which provides check lists for writing and research that are also covered in the book. The website checklists are much easier to use. Typically colleges do not include textbooks in their collections, but I would argue that this is one to break the rules for because of its high usefulness as a stand alone resource.
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Everything is an Argument was well written and was used effectively by my professor in the class. I have not done well in English classes in the past. Yet, with the clear writing style used in this book I was able to to do something that I had never done before, get an A in English.
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