Bobby Mueller’s Book Report

For those mystified by the Mueller Report, the grading by his middle school English teacher of his book report for “War and Peace” might be helpful: C+.

Bobby,

You certainly were thorough in your book report review of War and Peace’s story lines. In fact, I’m inclined to say that you went a bit overboard in covering every single plot point. That may explain why you needed several extensions and handed in your report three weeks late.

War and Peace book reportI’m obviously impressed with the heft of your work. Including all the appendices and schedules, your report outweighs those of your classmates by at least a factor of five. However, much of that extra material is not helpful since you have either redacted large portions or indicated that certain sections can’t be publicly released without the permission of the principal.

Overall, your report fails to do what the assignment called for – i.e. – analyze the book’s content and come to some conclusions about the characters, their motivations and their faults, if any.

In fairness, you did take a clear stance on the Russian themes of the story. However, given that the story takes place in Russia, it is not surprising that it would have a Russian sensibility.

The bigger question, of course, was whether or not there was any Russian interference with the French attempt to take Moscow. Although I might not agree with your conclusion, I can’t fault you for the clarity and precision of that conclusion.

My major criticism of your report is that you waffled on the question of whether any of the characters did anything to thwart the investigation of any possible Russian interference or what some might call obstruction of justice. You lay out all the facts but then you stop short of deciding whether or not anyone was guilty.

It’s not acceptable to say maybe someone did it or maybe they didn’t. It’s not helpful to say you can’t conclude that individual one committed a crime but that, on the other hand, you can’t exonerate him either.

Your classmates had no problem in dealing with this issue. You might want to review the reports handed in by Billy and Rod, both of whom were not indecisive like you but instead concluded that the record clearly failed to support a finding of obstruction of justice. I’m not sure I agree with them but at least they took a strong stance albeit unsupported by argument or evidence.

Please see me after class and we can discuss this matter further. I think you are a bright student and a thorough reader but you seem to lack certain analytical skills. Let’s work on those skills to help you tackle our next Russian book report assignment: Crime and Punishment.

— Teacher

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David Martin
David is a writer of political satire and short humor and his work has appeared in most major North American newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. He has also been published in various magazines including Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine and Funny Times.
David Martin

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