APPROVED BOOK, AUTHOR’S SOURCE AND PROFESSIONAL REVIEW
FORMAT AND CONTENT
1. Cover Page:
Center the underlined title of the book reviewed, the author’s name, Reviewed by: Your Name, the class (History 1302), and the due date.
2. Minimum Length:
Four (4) complete pages of typed text
3. Margins and Font:
One (1) inch margins
Minimum of three needed for your book review paper: the biographical information on the author, the book being reviewed, one professional review of the book.
5. Works Cited Page:
Found on the last page of the paper
6. General Mechanics:
The MLA handbook should be your guide for the form of the paper. Use acceptable grammar, spelling and neatness. Do not use contractions, slang, 1st or 2nd person, incomplete sentences, short choppy or overlong paragraphs or quotes, passive voice or present tense. This paper is a history paper and should be written in the past tense!
7. Content (70 points out of 100):
Creative title – Place at top of first page of text.
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Literature Resource Center
Table of Contents:
(Editor, with Ruthe Winegarten) Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas: Essays, Ellen C. Temple (Austin, TX), 1987.
Judith N. McArthur is a historian who specializes in the Civil War and Southern history, as well as the suffragist movement and women’s activism. Her particular focus is women’s issues pertaining to all the aforementioned eras and regions. McArthur earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University before receiving her M.L.S. at Syracuse University. She next earned her master’s degree from the University of Houston, Victoria and went on to earn a doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. McArthur soon returned to the University of Houston, Victoria, where she has worked as an adjunct professor and lecturer in history. Her first book, Citizens at Last: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Texas: Essays, which McArthur edited with Ruthe Winegarten, was published in 1987. The volume was followed in 1996 by A Gentleman and an Officer: A Military and Social History of James B. Griffin’s Civil War. The book, which McArthur edited with Orville Vernon Burton, is a collection of letters by James Griffin, a Confederate Civil War soldier who was a wealthy plantation owner. Griffin owned sixty-one slaves and lived in South Carolina, though he served as a Confederate officer in Virginia. The letters, written from April 1861 to February 1865, are largely addressed to Griffin’s wife, and they mainly discuss his war experience. In an afterword to the collection, McArthur and Burton discuss Griffin’s life after 1865, detailing his move to Texas, one of the few Southern states that had not been destroyed during the war.
A Gentleman and an Officer was applauded by critics, many of whom noted its evenhanded tone and the insight it adds to Civil War studies. “The book is well edited and guaranteed to be politically correct,” noted a Contemporary Review contributor. Marli F. Weiner, writing in the Journal of Southern History, stated that the book is both “compelling in content” as well as “a welcome addition to the genre.” She stated: “McArthur and Burton’s editing is exhaustive. They provide biographical details on every individual mentioned in the letters as well as an introduction that sets the context both for Griffin’s life in Edgefield and his military service. A concluding chapter does the same for the family’s years in Texas.”
In her first solo effort, the 1998 publication Creating the New Woman: The Rise of Southern Women’s Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893-1918, McArthur looks at how the progressive movement affected Texas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She examines the national progressive movement and its influence in Texas. McArthur also compares and contrasts the similarities and differences between the two. One influential factor McArthur explores is the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; another is the growing volunteerism movement amongst women at the time. The effect of race and suffrage on women’s rights is also discussed in the volume.
Written with Harold L. Smith, Minnie Fisher Cunningham: A Suffragist’s Life in Politics was published in 2003. The book is a straightforward biography of suffrage activist Minnie Fisher Cunningham. McArthur and Smith detail the Texan suffragette’s accomplishments: Cunningham first joined a women’s organization locally and then went on to lead the state’s suffrage movement. Her work at this level with fellow activist Carrie Chapman Catt is also explored. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, Cunningham worked for the Women’s National Democratic League and the League of Women Voters. The authors note that she also ran as a candidate for the governor of Texas and for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Critics found the book to be a well-written and comprehensive biography. According to Library Journal writer Theresa McDevitt, “The book’s main value is its being the only biography of this significant Texan.” Yet, Journal of Southern History contributor Evan Anders found that “McArthur and … Smith have written a well-researched account of the political activism of Minnie Fisher Cunningham from the early twentieth century until her death in 1964.” Anders also remarked that “the strongest element of the book is the analysis of the tactics that Catt and Cunningham used to promote woman suffrage.”
McArthur’s 2006 book, Women Shaping the South: Creating and Confronting Change, edited with Angela Boswell, also looks at women’s rights and activism. The book is a collection of ten essays that were initially presented or composed as part of the Southern Conference on Women’s History. The essays discuss women’s rights from Revolutionary times to the mid-twentieth century. Some topics discussed include the way women have made a stand against racism to more specific events such as Jane Washington’s crusade to declare Mount Vernon a public property. “The essays are well written and engaging. They fill an important gap in the historiography and, as the editors point out, they give voice to a group of women who have so often been silent backdrops to both the national narrative and Southern history,” declared Sarah Eppler Janda in History: Review of New Books.
American Historical Review, December 1, 1999, Rebecca Edwards, review of Creating the New Woman: The Rise of Southern Women’s Progressive Culture in Texas, 1893-1918, p. 1693.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, http://www.h-net.org/ (July 1, 2004), Yvonne Davis Frear, review of Minnie Fisher Cunningham. *
Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition)
Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000188256
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