Any references to outside sources (though not required!) must be properly cited using an acceptable reference notation style (such as Chicago or APA). Students are free to choose any such style – but must stick to that style, and state which one you chose

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Description

a) Book Review Essay (due June 8, by 09:00 AM, through Nexus) 30% 


Students will write an essay review (1500-2000 words) of Simon Winchester’s The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World (New York: HarperCollins, 2019). 


1) Any references to outside sources (though not required!) must be properly cited using an acceptable reference notation style (such as Chicago or APA). Students are free to choose any such style – but must stick to that style, and state which one you chose on the title page. 


2) The review must be properly word-processed and submitted on-line through Nexus, in the proper place, as a PDF document through the dropbox on the Nexus course site. Essays that are not pdfs must be resubmitted, and late penalties will apply. 


3) The review must begin with an introductory paragraph, laying out your initial, overall assessment of the book. The point of a review is not just to offer your opinion of the book, but to persuade the reader whether they should purchase and read it themselves. Whatever you think about it, outline your reasons at the start – this is the thesis of your argument. 


4) The second paragraph (no more than 150 words) must provide a summary of the contents of the book and the argument that the author makes.


5) Pick one of the chapters in the book, and reread it closely, noting on the opening page of the chapter the level of precision the technological systems had achieved by that point. Explain in your own words why the technological systems described in that chapter required more precision, and what drove the changes that then led to the next level of precision that Winchester identifies – and therefore the next chapter. 


6) Reread the quotes from Lewis Mumford that open the book – and then reread Chapter 10 (“On the Necessity for Equipoise”). Discuss whether the drive for precision/perfection has always been a good thing, in view of the global situation that we find ourselves in now (caught between pandemic and climate change). For a sustainable future, what changes are required in how we live together, according to Winchester? For a sustainable future, what changes are required in how we live together, according to you?

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