Book Report on “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarc

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A review is a subjective analysis of a book. The review is a “commentary” as opposed to a summary of the text. Hence, students are entering into a “dialogue and discussion” of the work. Rely on the words of the author, as well as works by scholars, activists, and supporters that comment on the particular work being scrutinized. This means utilizing all available materials, Contexts, Criticism sections, Notes, when available, lectures, films, videos, podcast, to strengthen the book review. The book review should include: •

The name of the author and the book title, date of publication, and publisher. •

The publication dates should include the primary author, editors of the text, and when necessary, the original publication date and the most recent publication date. The copyright page has the necessary information to fulfill this requirement. •

A description of the historical and or contemporary political environment that alerts the reader to the dynamic institutional forces and social interactions at work at the time of the original publication of the work. •
The targeted audience. Which social groups or publics are expected to read, talk about, and maybe engage in political activism after reading the material? For example, was Harriet Jacobs directing her written work to anti-slavery activists, white public opinion, abolitionist congressional members? How did these considerations shape the way she frames her argument? •

In sum, all of the authors have multiple audiences, so to the best of your ability, identify important political actors and describe why considering their relative political positioning is important to explore. Political positioning is the relative power of a group—does the group have the ability to lobby elected officials, to cast a vote, to influence nomination of party officials? More to the point, political positioning is power. •

The thesis of the book. Lay out the argument(s) underlying values and assumptions embedded within the text. Identifying the book’s particular angle, originality, or values, provides an opportunity to show what specific contribution the work is making; what it tells us about the quest for birthright citizenship within a dynamic racial order.

• Uncovering of essential evidence: Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, W.E. B. Bois, and Professor Elizabeth Hinton utilize different methodologies to uncover “truths”. Select the most relevant evidence and explain under what conditions is personal evidence sufficient to uncover a “truth”. Likewise select empirical evidence to address problems confronting the black mass public, such as but not limited to, suffering, statelessness, fear of white terror and evidence of racial orders. Be selective in the selection of evidence insofar as you are not writing a summary, rather you are evaluating the available information in light of what you know about the political period in which the book is published. •

The political significance of the work. What does the writing by a particular Black American intellectual-activist tell us about American democracy? •

Who will benefit from reading the book? What audience should pick up the book, read it, and talk to family and friends about the content? Should it be WSU students, high school social studies coordinators, members of the Michigan congressional delegation, your parents, others? •

Each book review should be four double-spaced pages, employ twelve-inch font, include footnotes, if pictures, maps, charts or tables are included, this information should be in a separate appendix.

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