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Short Guide to Writing About History, A (6th Edition) 6th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321435361
ISBN-10: 0321435362
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From the Back Cover

A Short Guide to Writing About History
Richard A. Marius (late) • Melvin E. Page

History is a story of events. A Short Guide to Writing About History helps students move beyond merely compiling dates and facts and teaches them how to express their ideas about history into their own story.

The principle of training students to think and write like an historian set forth by Richard Marius continues as A Short Guide to Writing About History remains the premier writing resource for all history students. Maintaining the exploration of the writing and researching processes, illustrations of the different modes of historical writing, and guidelines for improving style, the Sixth Edition has been augmented to address the key issues facing today’s writer, with expanded coverage of technology and writing.

Changes to the sixth edition
  • The sixth edition includes greater coverage devoted to the avoiding plagiarism.
  • Complementing the "Writing in an Electronic Age" chapter, the key issues of using technology are now addressed throughout the text.
  • Discussion of evaluating sources for writing has also been expanded throughout the sixth edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 6 edition (October 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321435362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321435361
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Had to buy this to learn the specific way my teacher wanted our quotes. The book didn't give a specific way to quote, and it had quotes cited at page bottom in several formats. The book does give the general format for a history report, and is helpful for a beginner like myself.
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