Communication 2175 Critical Book Review

Communication 2175 Critical Book Review

Kozolanka, Kirsten and Orlowski, Paul, Media Literacy for Citizenship: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press (2018).

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Writing a Critical Book Review:

For this assignment, you will introduce the book and its authors, summarize the authors’ ideas, and write an overview of the book (in two or three paragraphs). Alternatively, you can incorporate the summary throughout your essay as you develop your comments or criticisms. You may find it useful to do some research into the author’s reputation or area of scholarly work. You may want to consider other literature within the same area if you think it necessary. (This is optional, but you may want to include reference to other readings in the course if it seems appropriate.) You may also compare what the author says to your own experiences or to other courses or readings. Possibly you find parts of the book weak and you should note those parts making sure to support your arguments. You also should highlight the important parts of the book—those theories, ideas, histories or case studies that you found particularly perceptive, insightful or important. You could mention why you think they are important and who else you think should read this book.

Importantly, you should ask critical questions of the book. For example, you might ask:
What themes has the author focused on that we have seen through the semester in terms of communication media, the ideology of progress or development and social change? If we were to apply the author’s theories to a particular organization, nation or community, how would those ideas hold up? Has the author considered the issue from the perspectives of class, gender, race and other disadvantaged perspectives? Is the author too critical of capitalism, industrialization, and progress, or not critical enough? If what the author says is true, then what does that mean for our futures? For development in general? For globalization? For the environment?

Part of a critical review is to pull out the salient issues and discuss them at some length. You therefore should identify important points and explore them. Your book review can be very personal and can describe your feelings in relation to the whole course. Use first personal singular to write it.

Overall the book review should be about 5-8 pages, although you will send it electronically through Moodle. The length will depend on how much detailed your analysis is and how well you support your ideas. Your essay should be submitted in a neat and presentable format. Give it a title that captures your arguments and perspective, not just the book’s title.

The structure can be like this (or can be expanded from this):

I. Introduction—quick overview of the topic and possibly mention of the author or the collection of authors;

2. Summary of highlights of the book—choose the most important themes or topics; (2 and 3 can be combined)

3. Analysis—focus on the important topics the author has included, i.e. things that were new to you or that you think everyone should know—also, if you found any weaknesses in the book, you can discuss them in this section;

4. Conclusion—quick summary of your analysis. Would you recommend this book? Why or why not?

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