Supply any information about the author which shows their credentials for writing in this field or which reveals any influences which may have affected the author's point of view. Note any interesting circumstances that led to the writing of the book. The author's intention may be apparent by the way the subject of the book is treated. Is the material meant for specialists, students, or the general public?
Is it focused on a specific subject or is it a general survey of a wider subject? Several areas may provide clues: appendices, bibliographies and general indexes usually accompany scholarly works; prefaces and introductions often contain an author's explicit statement of intention; the content and style of expression will be a good indication of the intended audience.
What is the book about? Tell your reader not only the main concern of the book in its entirety subject but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject thesis statement. If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you feel that the stated thesis statement is not that which the book actually develops make sure you check for yourself , then you will have to compose a thesis statement that does cover all the material.
This statement must be brief a sentence or a paragraph , accurate and comprehensive. The summary is based on your reading notes, follows the author's order, and consists solely of the main ideas which advance the author's argument. It may be presented with the analysis of structure or discussed separately. Critical comments should form the bulk of the book review. State whether or not you feel the author's treatment of the subject matter is appropriate for the intended audience.
Ask yourself:. Support your evaluation with evidence from the text. In conclusion, you may want to state whether you liked or disliked the book. Concordia University. On this page. Bibliographical Information Give the author's name; full title of book including subtitle; editor, if any; place, publisher and date of publication; edition, if necessary; and the number of pages - all this in the appropriate bibliographical style APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.
Background information Supply any information about the author which shows their credentials for writing in this field or which reveals any influences which may have affected the author's point of view. Intended audience The author's intention may be apparent by the way the subject of the book is treated. Subject and thesis statement What is the book about?
Summary of content The summary is based on your reading notes, follows the author's order, and consists solely of the main ideas which advance the author's argument. Critical comments book reviews Critical comments should form the bulk of the book review.
When writing an academic book review, start with a bibliographic citation of the book you are reviewing [e. Put your name at the very end of the book review text. The basic purpose of a book review is to convey and evaluate the following:. Point "c. A lot of contemporary scholarship in the arts or humanities is not about completely reorienting the discipline, nor is it usually about arguing a thesis that has never been argued before.
If an author does that, that's wonderful, and you, as a book reviewer, must look at the validity of the methods that contextualize the author's new argument. It is more likely that the author of a scholarly book will look at the existing evidence with a finer eye for detail, and use that detail to amplify and add to existing scholarship.
The author may present new evidence or a new "reading" of the existing evidence, in order to refine scholarship and to contribute to current debate. Or the author may approach existing scholarship, events, and prevailing ideas from a more nuanced perspective, thus re-framing the debate within the discipline. For example, you are reviewing a book on the history of the development of public libraries in nineteenth century America.
The book includes a chapter on the role of patronage by affluent women in endowing public libraries in the mid-to-lates. In this chapter, the author argues that the role of women was overlooked in previous scholarship because most of them were widows who made their financial bequests to libraries in the names of their husbands.
The author argues that the history of public library patronage, and moreover, of cultural patronage, should be re-read and possibly re-framed given the evidence presented in this chapter. As a book reviewer you will be expected to evaluate this argument and the underlying scholarship. There are two common types of academic book reviews: short summary reviews, which are descriptive, and essay-length critical reviews. Both types are described further down.
For a short, descriptive review, include at least the following elements:.
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