Comparative Book Essay Description

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Comparative Book Essay

You will be reading a book related to this class and writing an essay based on what you have learned. The purpose is to expose you to the subject a deeper level and allow you to explore a part of it of your choice at a deeper level. The essay should be written with normal font size and be double-spaced. The essay should be 4 to 5 pages long.

Time Frame

Book Selection: October 22/23. Book does not need to be purchased, just selected. If you wish to select a book not on the list, this would be the time to let Mr. Hairgrove know so that he can approve it.

Book Read: November 26/27. We will be discussing them in class and discussing directions to proceed for the essay.

Outline and Thesis Statement: December 3/4. Come to class with an outline and a thesis statement so that you can get peer feedback. The outline does not need to have great depth but should demonstrate that you know what your direction should be for your essay.

Essay Due: December 17/18


Well-developed introduction with an effective thesis statement. Introduction should provide a background the book/subject while explaining its importance. The thesis statement should make an argumentative statement based on an analysis of the book.


Effective Structure

In addition to an introduction, the essay should have well-developed paragraphs with a clear conclusion paragraph. Each paragraph should have clear structure. The conclusion paragraph should summarize major points of the essay and apply it to the reader.


Book Analysis

A section the essay should deal with the book directly by summarizing the book and analyzing it. You should reflect on what the book has taught you and what you think of the book. Your analysis should delve into the books strengths and weaknesses.


Connection to Class

Another section of your essay should connect what you learned in the book to the class. This is the section that should most specifically connect to the argumentative thesis. Apply what you have learned from the book to make a statement about a country the class analyzes or a theme in comparative politics.


Grammar and Spelling

Reread your work carefully to eliminate errors. The essay should be free of spelling or punctuation errors. Sentences should have fluency and not have grammatical errors.




Book Selections:


Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria

The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

The J Curve by Ian Bremmer
United Kingdom:

A Journey by Tony Blair

Margaret Thatcher: Grocer's Daughter to Iron Lady by John Campbell

First Among Equals by Jeffery Archer

Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

Russia's Capitalist Revolution: Why Market Reform Succeeded and Democracy Failed by Anders Aslund

Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebestyen


Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng

Red Mandarin Dress: An Inspector Chen Novel by Qiu Xiaolong

Red China Blues: My Long March From Mao to Now by Jan Wong

Ai Weiwei's Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009 by Ai Weiwei

Revolution of Hope by Vicente Fox

Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy by Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon

El Narco: Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency by Ioan Grillo

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle


Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

There Was A Country by Chinua Achebe

A Month and a Day by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival by Maziar Bahari

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez

Cypress Tree by Kamin Mohammadi

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle Eastern Terror by Stephen Kinzer

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