Writing a Book Review
A book review is one of the most common forms of historical writing. A book review critically evaluates one or more works on the basis of several analytical points. These include: accuracy, validity, and the book's relationship to other works of its kind. A review is written from the standpoint that the reader knows something about the book and does not require a chapter by chapter summary. In fact, such a summary would be contrary to the purpose of the review.
Writers should begin a book review by introducing the reader to the author's main point, the facts presented or omitted, and the conclusions reached by the author. It is also helpful to do some background on the author, exploring their previous work and qualifications to write on the subject. The review should have a thesis statement. The remainder of the review should delve into why the author used a particular method of historiography and the kind of information he or she uses to support the main points of the book. Basically, the reviewer's task is to determine whether the author's methods and interpretations are valid for the subject.
Note: The preceding work incorporated material from How to Study History (Cantor & Schneider, 151-64).
Book Review Guidelines
Most professors require that the citation of the book being reviewed be written at the beginning of the essay. Note how the first paragraph begins with a short description of the author and her field of research. The second paragraph delves into the argument of the book and its purpose. In the third paragraph, the audience of the book is identified as well as the ways that the author does or does not fit her work to her audience. The book review then evaluates what kinds of sources the author used and how they were used to further her argument. Finally, the book review concludes with an evaluation of the book which includes both points of critique and points of acclamation.
Here is an organization guide for a book review:
1. Citation of book