Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is a professional way to survey available literature on a given topic or period. It is a common assignment at the college level. Annotated Bibliographies are a research tool for those looking to find better resources.

Rationale: Surveying available literature is an excellent way to perform enrichment research. Not only can one give further inquiry into topics of interest but aso the time and thought put into surveying literature helps to solidify and build upon existing knowledge learned from class.

Instructions: Use the internet to identify books and read reviews. The easiest way to do this is through or, which have accessible reviews and rating scales. Use these reviews and descriptions by the publisher to write an annotation for five books by different authors. Write an MLA style citation alphabetically in relation to other entries. In three paragraphs, answer the following questions:

  1. What is the author’s perspective or argument? What makes this book unique from others on the same topic? What is the book trying to say?
  2. What would you learn about if you read this book? What topics does this book cover?
  3. Who is the author? What makes the author qualified to write this book? What kind of reputation does the author have? Does the author have any other books? What awards has the book or author won, if any?

Annotated Bibliography Rubric


Annotated Bibliography Example
Trachtenberg, Marc. A Constructed Peace. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Print.

In A Constructed Peace, Marc Trachtenberg offers a unique point of view regarding the conflicts that made up the Cold War period. Trachtenberg makes the claim that instead of the traditional, accepted mode of thought that the Cold War revolved around two superpowers colliding over ideology; a more subtle reasoning behind the Cold War existed. Trachtenberg argues that the Cold War was a series of conflicts over basic international sovereignty and security, specifically centered on Germany and was not a series of conflicts over the ideology of each nation

If I were to read this book I would learn about the many actors involved in the Cold War and the roles that they played in the events leading up to a resolution of the Cold War. The book covers many first hand sources and other documents from the period of 1945-1963 that Trachtenberg uses in order to show how the traditional way of thinking about the Cold War is wrong. Instead, Trachtenberg claims, these documents combined with historical facts reveal the central role that Germany plays in the making of a peaceful resolution.

The author, Marc Trachtenberg is a professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles and is particularly qualified to comment on the Cold War as he has a doctorate in history and previously taught history at the University of Pennsylvania for several years. His reputation amongst critics seems to be generally positive, as they cite his thoroughness and clarity as his greatest strengths when presenting issues of great complexity. Amongst the awards he has won, Trachtenberg has been a Guggenheim Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, two prestigious awards. He has also wrote several other books examining this time period including his book History and Strategy which studies not only World War I but the Cuban missile crisis (a key event in the Cold War) as well, and how force played a role in both of those events.

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