Below are quotes from some of the reviews the manuscript received. The reviews were blind, so I do not know who their authors are. In all, the manuscript received reviews from 18 composition teachers.
- A very effective book, on the whole. I enjoyed reading it, and found many of the discussions smart, accessible, and useful. It demystifies research, on the one hand, while also investing it with a new meaning that might actually inspire students and make their research memorable to them, as opposed to viewing it as a meaningless burden they will forget after having unloaded it. I think students, especially those weaned on the “choose a serious topic, gather your facts, and produce something objective, quasi-authoritative, and irrelevant to you but acceptable to the professor” paper, will find it refreshing. The chances that they will be engrossed in what they’re doing are much higher with a text like this. The discussions introduce key academic concepts (audience, rhetoric, social constructivism, process) in a decidedly unacademic style. Students will like that. The text has terminology, but it is neither jargony nor overly theoretical.
- The strengths are...variety of approaches and the way you make often-difficult topics rather easy to follow and understand. This is also what makes it unique. I like that you discuss academic discourse, ethnographic research, personal/family research, and the chapter on hypertexts. The idea that all writing is researched would go along quite well with Lunsford’s Everything’s an Argument.
- The organization seems logical, given the author’s approach. The first section grounds the writing to be done in theory. It is thorough and extremely well-researched.
- I found this text very appealing as a composition teacher. The amount of attention paid to rhetoric, the writing process, and research is extraordinary. The amount of space dedicated to explaining why and how things are done in the classroom is good.
- The focus on rhetorical sensitivity and rhetorical principles was incredibly useful. My currrent text doesn’t do that as well, and I favor a strong rhetorical approach to teaching first-year writing. I love the use of rhetorical theorists from Aristotle to Burke – it’s using information that’s primary to rhetoric and composition as a field at a level that students can understand. That’s great! I also liked the examples used to talk about rhetoric and research writing.
- The writing assignments were the most detailed and elaborate that I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t have to do much modification to teach them in my classes at all, and I really enjoyed how the various aspects of the writing process were covered in the assignments. The inclusion of sample papers and student voices about the projects were excellent.