Submit a 1000-word critical analysis essay on Commanding Heights by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw.
A Guide for Writing a Critical Analysis of a Book
A critical analysis of a book is different from a book summary or report. While summaries and reports provide cursory discussions of the “setting” of the content or some background on the previous works of the two authors (Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw), a critical analysis goes far beyond such discussions and addresses the following points in depth.
1. What is the central thesis or hypothesis of the author? What is the two author trying to prove? For example, does the author portray John Maynard Keynes as an advocate for government involvement in the economy and Friedrich von Hayek as a champion of free-market ideas?
2. What methodology does the author use to study the problem, period, or economic experience that the author is writing about? Is the text an historical analysis utilizing statistical data, ethnographic materials, or diaries? Are archival resources used in supporting the views that have been posited? Is the work comparative? How effective is the author? Are the sources too limiting? Why or why not? What would have improved the text?
3. How does the author define the problem? What are the author’s sympathies or antagonisms? With whom do they identify? Does the author have judgmental or disapproving comments, or references to what could or should have been in the body of the book? If possible, note who supported their research or what institutions and programs they have been affiliated with (check preface, introduction, or acknowledgements). Who has influenced the author? Is the author influenced by other disciplines? Does their approach include useful ideas involving an analysis of race, class, or gender issues? Are there exceptions to their points of view? Be specific and expansive enough to explain your position. Lastly, are there more specific and personal influences that have affected the authors?
4. How does this work relate to other books or experiences you are familiar with?Does this work relate to any other books that you may have read in any of your classes? Can you integrate this book with other readings or any educational videos you may have seen?
5. What conclusion does the author reach? Is the solution implied or explicit? Do you agree with the conclusion? Why or why not? Again, be very specific!