History 1140 – Final Term Project – Book Choices and Criteria

This project should be to read and analyze one of the books from the following list and write a review according to the following criteria.  It should be around 10 pages long, although there is no maximum length.  All of these books are readily available to check out at your local library or to buy in paperback online or at your local bookstore.  A paper copy and an electronic copy (email or via Blackboard) must be sent on or prior to the due date indicated on our syllabus. Good luck and please see me with any questions.


Book choices (in chronological order of subject matter):     



1. The Holy Road by Michael Blake:

            This novel of historical fiction is the sequel to the acclaimed book and film Dances with Wolves.  It chronicles the further advancement of white society and technology into the lands of the Comanche people.  See what devastating effects this advancement has on the individual characters and Native culture as a whole.  Also, learn about the gained and missed opportunities for mutual understanding between the clashing cultures.


2. The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson:

            This work of non-fiction chronicles the background, planning, execution, and legacy of the famous Columbian Exposition of 1893, better known as the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the personal struggles and triumphs of key figures associated with the fair and the rebirth of Chicago such as Daniel Burnham, and the story of a local mass murderer who terrorizes the fairground neighborhood.  This is a smoothly written and enthralling narrative providing personal drama and historical significance at a key turning point in American and local history.


3. The Jungle: by Upton Sinclair:

            This novel tells the story of a Lithuanian immigrant working in the industrial Chicago meat packing industry.  Written with a sympathetic heart, this novel gives us a personal and relatively accurate portrayal at the typical life and struggles of an immigrant in turn-of-the-century Chicago.  It also turns a critical eye toward the corruption and social issues facing the industrial revolution, and in doing so, exposed corrupt and unsanitary practices which helped inspire badly needed legislation to ensure standards of quality in food production.

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