Name of the Book:
Robert Kaplan. 1993. Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, Vintage.
Purpose: To examine and to review a text which uses personal narrative, individual
observations, or academic research to describe and analyze transitions in Central and
Eastern Europe; to practice critical thinking and writing skills; to obtain and to analyze
the viewpoints of individuals who have lived or traveled in the region and witnessed
Evaluation: This assignment is worth 25 points. Your grade will be based on the
Careful organization of written paper, including introduction, thesis statement,
body, and conclusion of essay.
Attention to writing style, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, paragraphs, etc.
Citations and references where appropriate, using APSA style.
Thoughtful, original analysis as well as discussion of other critiques or reviews of
Thoughtful critique of content, style, methods, and conclusions of book.
Timely completion of assignment. (Grade deduction for late papers.)
Assignment: Choose one of the texts listed in the book report section on the syllabus. If
you have another book you are interested in reviewing, please check with the instructor
to make sure it fits the assignment. Write a 4-6 page, typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font,
critical essay. Remember your essay should not just be a retelling of the book’s contents.
You should write a thoughtful, original review. In your book report, you might consider
the following questions or use these questions as guiding themes or prompts in your
a. Why was this book written? What is its main theme, thesis, or goal?
b. Who wrote or edited the book? What is the author’s background? If an edited
collection, who were the contributors?
c. What are some of the main topics, concepts, or methods of research or writing
d. What have other reviewers or critics said about this book? Do you agree or
disagree with their perspective? Give examples.
e. What did you find most interesting about this work? Do you see any connections
or relationships to other ideas, concepts, or writings we have examined in class or
through your own research this term? Be sure to give specific examples.
f. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the book?
g. Would you recommend this book to someone else? Why or why not?