Book Review Guide

Book Review Guide

The following format will be used for the Book Review for this course.

I. Introduction:

A. Introduce your review appropriately.  Identify the author, the title, the main topic or issue presented in the book and the author’s purpose in writing the book.

B. Explain Relationships. As you write, consider the following questions:

•&νβσπ;  What type of book is this? (Is the book a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.)?

•&νβσπ;  Who is the author? What does the preface or foreword tell you about the author’s purpose, background, and credentials? What is the author’s approach to the topic (as a journalist? a historian? a researcher?)?

•&νβσπ;  What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to a particular audience, or to other works on the topic? Who’s the audience for this book?

•&νβσπ;  What is your critical evaluation of the work (your thesis or stance)? Why have you taken that position? What criteria are you basing your position on?

C. Provide an Overview. What are the author’s basic premises for writing this book? What issues are raised, or what themes emerge? What situation(s) provide a basis for the author’s assertions? List any background information that is relevant to the entire book and should be placed here.

II. Evaluate the book. This is the heart of your book review. You should discuss a variety of issues here:

  • How clearly is the book written?
  • Did the author achieve his goal? How did he do this or fall short?
  • What are the author’s most important points? List at least two examples of how the author proved or did not prove points he was trying to make.
  • What possibilities does the book suggest for the reader?
  • What did the book leave out?
  • What did you like best about the book? What did you like least about the book?

Make sure that you distinguish your personal views from that of the author.

III. Conclusion. Tie together any issues raised in the review and provide a concise comment on the book and whether or not you would recommend this book to someone else.

The  first one-half to two-thirds (first 2 to 3 pages) of the review should summarize the author’s main ideas while the remainder (the last 2 to 3 pages) of the report should evaluate the book. (Review should be at least five pages but not more than six pages.

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