Author: Thomas C. Foster
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Summary: Basic, more political than necessary, and full of long, extraneous examples from specific books.
I found this book about how to read nonfiction disappointing in a variety of ways. The information included was fairly basic. The elements the author recommended considering – biases from the author, sources, structure of the story, etc – are largely things I already consider automatically. Having written out the advice from this book will allow me to be more explicit about considering these points, which is of some small value. However, I was hoping for something more like the equivalent of college-level literary criticism. Instead, I thought this book would be appropriate for high school freshman.
The author spent a long time summarizing specific texts so he could give examples of simple concepts that didn’t need that support. Because the author clearly had a political ax to grind with the selected material, this book will not be taught in high schools, which is a shame. It’s also likely to alienate the Republican readers who I think could most use the author’s advice on identifying reliable sources. Even as someone who generally agreed with the author, I found the digressions annoying. I also found his sense of humor hit-or-miss, a bit on the dad-joke end of the spectrum. I don’t feel like I got much out of this and I wouldn’t recommend it.