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A Short Guide to Writing about History (8th Edition) (Short Guides) Paperback – July 24, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0205118601 ISBN-10: 0205118607 Edition: 8th
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

An ideal accessory in any history course that requires writing, A Short Guide to Writing About History stresses thinking and writing like a historian. This engaging and practical little text helps the readers get beyond merely compiling dates and facts; it teaches them how to incorporate their own ideas into their papers and to tell a story about history that interests them and their peers. Covering both brief essays and the documented resource paper, this book explores the writing and researching processes, different modes of historical writing including argument and concludes with guidelines for improving style. For any one who will need to write about history. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Short Guides
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 8 edition (July 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205118607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205118601
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Martin VINE VOICE on August 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Marius has written an extremely readable and informative book on the writing of history. He proceeds from showing readers what questions to ask in doing historical research into types of historical writing can be done, from discriptive to argumentitive.
However, the most useful part of the book is the chapter on sources and writing. He skillfully shows readers how to choose a topic and narrow their focus into a managable paper. He also discusses the use of CD-Rom and Internet sources, a necessity for any good book on the writing of history in the early 21st century, particularly due to the increase in the reliance on Internet research by college undergraduates and HS students that are comfortable with this technology. The book also makes actually doing research seem like not such a daunting scary task, which at first thought it seems like for many undergraduates. The one problem with this section is that Marius advocates the use of paper notes. As has been seen with many professional academic historians lately, the use of paper notes can end up costing the writer dearly, particularly with the use of a large amount of sources. Marius should have included a section on how to use a data base or other computerized note taking system.
Marius also uses many examples to back up his points throughout the book, even publishing one complete paper and then commenting on its strengths and weaknesses in order to give the reader a better understanding. The remainder of the book is an extremely useful three chapters on writing mechanics as well as quoting and citing a variety of sources. I found the section on footnotes quite good and useful. This section will be especially useful for the undergraduate who arrives on campus without ever having to use footnotes while in high school.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is very useful not only for the preparation of historical papers but for any research paper. Especially useful are the sections devoted to conventions about mechanics and grammar and suggestions about style. Also included are outlines for the proper construction of arguments and details addressing the modes of expression used in writing. I bought this book for a history seminar in as an undergrad and have found it helpful to me ever since as a technical guide to the proper way of writing. Highly recommended.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lance Kirby on August 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Richard Marius gives us in this short book an enthusiasm for the pursuit of the past that is simply infectious. Although the work is not an in-depth study of Historiography, it is a great introduction to the would be Historian on the very basic rules of researching and composing a paper on any historical subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scott Manning on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Short Guide to Writing About History is a book that has withstood the test of the time over the past two decades. Originally written in 1989 by the late Richard Marius, professor from Harvard University, the book has seen seven updated and revised editions. Marius passed away in 1999 and Melvin E. Page, professor at East Tennessee University, has continued the laborious task of keeping the book relevant as sources of information continue to evolve and appear. Page achieves the goal of keeping the guide short and, most of importantly, useful. History students need not put themselves through the monumental of task of sifting through the near-1,000 pages found in the 15th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style to determine how to write their research papers, because this short guide sums up most of what these students will need when researching.

The book serves two purposes. First, for those not familiar with the basics of researching and writing papers, it provides breakdowns on how to gather information, best practices on recording notes, how to write, and finally, documented sources. Second, the book acts as an easy quick-reference for those already familiar with these concepts. Students unfamiliar on the basic question of where to start will get a good introduction on researching methods. For example, how to approach history with a "who, what, when, where, and why" mentality. In addition, how to narrow down topics and focus in on subjects that the student can tackle with their limited time and resources. The authors state, "The most common flaw in student essays is the topics are so broad that the essays have no focus" (pg 61). For example, the causes of World War II will definitely be too big for an essay. This is an issue I have experienced when doing my own research.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
History prof recommended this for help in writing research papers in history department.
Compact and inspirational, the author makes his points by way of examples and citations from historians. Passionate about his subject area, he communicates this well and infuses it into his observations and recommendations for writing about historical topics.
While the jury is still out on my first paper to utilize this resource, I already know I am a better writer of history for having utilized this fine resource. Just the idea of grabbing your reader and making him want to read the rest was useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. G. Sincebaugh on June 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased two copies of the Short Guide to Writing about History, A (7th Edition) not long ago. I bought the two copies because I have had the Short Guide to English Literature for a couple of years and found that to be a good resource for writing about literature, a good thing for an English teacher in Korea. I have to say that I like the Short Guide to Writing about History a lot better. Why do I like it? Well, it's concise, to the point which professor Strunk would approve, it's thoughtfully written but what I like the best about it is that it is simply as enjoyable to read as it is useful. However, with all that velvety and kind words, pound-for-pound it may be as expensive as a Starbucks Latte, which is not necessarily the best thing for one's wallet but the price of ignorance is even higher. Say what you will, it's really good. I didn't get a dime from Amazon for this and I even gave a copy to a humble student.
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