American figure

| February 2, 2016

American figure
Pick an American figure born between 1600 and 1860 and read two biographies of that person – by different authors; Biography of Millard Fillmore by Thomas & Lathrops AND Biography of Millard Fillmore by Ivory Chamberlain. Write a critical review of the two books of 5-7 typed, double-spaced pages (no larger than a 12 font, Times New Roman). All citations, as well as the bibliography, must be in Chicago style. In addition to evaluating each book on its own merits, you will also compare and contrast the two books.
These are to be CRITICAL book reviews, meaning that you will need to analyze each book carefully, and then weigh them against each other. The core of the analysis should be a careful examination of each author’s interpretation and explain any differences between the authors. Among the questions you should consider are:

Why did the author of each book choose to write a biography of this person?
What was the purpose of each book? Does the author state a purpose?
What are the main arguments of each book?
What is the thesis?
Would you characterize each biography as sympathetic to the subject or critical?
Are you convinced by the arguments/thesis of each author?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of each book?
Can you discern a bias in the authors’ work?
Which author does a better job explaining the life of the subject? Why?
How do the authors arguments compare?
Which author presents a more compelling or believable thesis?
Does it seem that the authors are purposing seeking to undermine the argument of the other?
If one of the biographies is written many years before the other, can you identify how historical events have shaped/changed the interpretation of the subject’s life as reflected in the other biography?

These are just some of the questions to consider in your papers. The bottom line is that you are expected to engage the materials and ask why each author presents the life of the subject the way they do. All authors have an agenda. It is highly recommended that you do a little research on your authors to find out who they are. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to discern their purpose. would these links help? ( I know not all the pages are there on the second book but I guess that’s not too much of a problem?)

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