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Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing
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Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
This comics-style collaboration between rhetoricians Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander and illustrator team Big Time Attic presents the content of the composition course in a form designed to draw students in. Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing covers what first-year college writers need to know — the writing process, critical analysis, argument, resear ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 15th 2013 by Bedford/St. Martin's
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Jun 05, 2015 Melody rated it really liked it
Excited to try teaching this book. It's fun... Sometimes a little silly, but based in rigorous scholarship. It's been a while since I used a textbook and I can really imagine myself using this one effectively. Will update the review if I end up teaching from the book!
Feb 09, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it
A lot of the information presented in this book is engaging, thus hopefully helpful for students, especially since the multimodality nature of having a textbook in a comic form could reach different learners and learning styles. Some of the smartest panels use the images to break down ideas shown in text or, even better, present useful metaphors to further clarify points. And what good teacher doesn't like a helpful metaphor to use in class? In particular, I loved the chapter on Strategic Readin ...more
Jul 03, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
There is a lot to like here, as Losh and Alexander have done a great job condensing many facets of rhetoric into digestible issues. Their issues on "Strategic Reading," arguments, and portions of the research and revision are fantastic. They're very straightforward, comprehensive, and easy to understand--which is always good for our students.

However, at times, the book feels a bit too wrapped up in its own novelty of being a graphic guide rather than a traditional textbook. Some of this is very
Jun 04, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it
This is a textbook--written in a graphic form (my husband asked if I was reading a comic book when he caught a glimpse of a page)--and there are a lot of really good things about it that I think will appeal to younger readers more adept at reading graphic texts than I am. I really appreciated the kinds of assignments the book gives (one example: look online for an image for Aristotle, Plato or Cicero and compare the image to the way the rhetor was portrayed by the book's artists, then write why ...more
Micah Robbins
May 26, 2016 Micah Robbins rated it liked it
Anyone who has read Art Spiegelman's Maus and/or Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis knows that comic books are well suited to serious subject matter. Maus and Persepolis are, of course, only two examples of a rich and diverse genre that includes important works such as Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, David Beauchard's Epileptic, Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza, Li Kunwu's A Chinese Life, and GB Tran's Vietnamerica, all of which tell pressing stories in a genre long disparaged as juvenile and ephemeral. Yet i ...more
Silas Hansen
Jul 23, 2013 Silas Hansen rated it really liked it
Not perfect--a little corny at times--but it's one of the best textbooks I've seen for first-year writing/rhetoric/etc. Great advice in here for students and it's easy to read and understand without simplifying it.
May 26, 2013 Craig rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I am piloting this book in the summer for my "Introduction to College Composition" courses and I am really conflicted about this book. I want to like it, but I can't help but think this is not appropriate for the entirety of "Introduction to College Composition" students. It is VERY dense, content-wise, and the focus wanders for the first 50 pages or so. It is trying to be UNDERSTANDING COMICS, and it fails at that. But really, why try to reinvent the wheel? Hubris? Zeitgeist?

Additionally, ther
Jul 25, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
This is the first graphic college writing textbook I have seen, and it is well done. The authors cover major concepts, such as purpose, audience, genre, revision, visual literacy, and Aristotelian rhetoric, in a lively fashion. I like their analysis of several writing examples, including one by Frederick Douglass. Their suggestions for writing activities at the end of each chapter are fresh and promising. I look forward to trying this with one of my first-year writing classes, though for this fa ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Deke rated it liked it
Clever, thoughtful, great way to present this material
Randy Cauthen
Jun 24, 2016 Randy Cauthen rated it liked it
Severely tight-ass trying to sound hip.
Jul 23, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it
An interesting take on teaching rhetoric. A graphic novel that uses both authors (and others!) to teach various elements of effective writing, from audience to persuasive appeals to research. As I read, I marked various chapters that I thought would be helpful to classes I teach. It was fairly word heavy for a graphic novel, in my opinion, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it required a much closer attention to detail than graphic novels generally require of me.
May 08, 2013 D'Anne rated it liked it
The chapter on Writing Identities is really good and I could totally imagine myself using it in my class. But I would not assign the whole book. I'm glad to see a book like this in comic form because I love comics, but some of it is too corny for me. It is, however, a quick read and does a nice job highlighting the salient points of academic argumentation.
Jul 04, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Teachers will love this book. Set up like a graphic novel with lots of humor, this book teaches textual analysis and argument in an easy to understand manner. I cannot imagine teaching without it. The cartoons rock. The authors understand their student audience. Teachers switching to the Common Core need to look at this book.
A. Lewis
Aug 06, 2013 A. Lewis rated it it was amazing
Genuinely, I found this to be marvelous. Not only is the material useful and carefully considered, but -- and this is from someone who both studies and creates comics -- it blends words and images sensationally. Students have a whole new opportunity to access ideas on composition where, ironically, words might usually fail.
Apr 05, 2013 Nordy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: AP Language and Composition Teachers
Recommended to Nordy by: Smith
So many of my students come into Jr. AP and struggle with the concept of rhetoric. I feel like this text book is a great beginners guide that would work well to begin the year with or assign for summer reading.
BJ  Brown
Apr 17, 2016 BJ Brown rated it really liked it
Good book! Clear, nicely recursive, raises unexpected but important considerations about visual literacy, audience, and author's authority. Definitely appropriate for HS and college writers!
Jul 31, 2013 Lynn rated it it was amazing
The graphic novel would make a great tool in any classroom. The chapters that cover arguments, research, and revision are well written and will clear up the mysteries of this type of assignment.
Aug 25, 2013 Tiffany rated it liked it
Some decent things for my students but kind of superficial.
Aurel Walter
Aurel Walter rated it did not like it
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Heather Iseminger
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