Merican Paper SonIs this a book worth reading? Why?
The Titleof your review should be the bibliographic entry for your book as indicated by Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style. Or whatever citing style your major uses.
Your book review should include (in whatever order best suits your style, your book and your thesis):
1) A thesis.
A good review–like any good essay–has a clear thesis, which the entire paper argues and supports with evidence. For example, a?The author has written an intriguing book but fails to provide adequate evidence to support her argument.a?
2) An explanation and evaluation of:
a. the authoras thesis and supporting arguments and evidence.
b. the authoras methodology and/or approach (e.g., is the book a biography? Is it social history? Military? Political?)
Read the book for thesis/argument, not just facts.
Do not criticize the author for not writing the book YOU would have written. (It is, however, valuable to note what would have made the book stronger.)
Demonstrate wherever possible your familiarity with the other scholarship on your workas topic, how the bookas interpretation compares with others on the same or related topic, and how your book contributes to the literature on its topic.
Do NOT try to summarize every point in the book, BUT be sure to provide a clear sense of what the bookas contents are. Who wants to read a book if he/she does not know what is in it? Reviewers can often combine comments about contents with comments about thesis and organization. For example, a discussion of contents can provide information about how those contents are organized.
3) An evaluation of the authoras sources.
Consider type, quality, and use of sources (keeping in mind the authoras purpose and intended audience).
Does the author use adequate and appropriate primary sources? Does he/she use them to present a convincing argument? Are only secondary sources used? If so, is the reason for using only secondary sources clear?
4) RELEVANT information about the author (such as profession, training, other works, politics, sex, religion, reputation).
Who is your author? Is he/she an historian (or journalist or political scientist or participant?)
Do not force irrelevant material into your review. For example, that a noted scholar has a B.A. from Podunk U. is NOT helpful in evaluating his/her expertise, but that he/she has written five other books on the same general topic might be.
Biographical information can often be found in a bookas introduction or preface. You might also look at Who Was Who, Whoas Who, Directory of American Scholars, Dictionary of American Biography, as well as doing a basic internet search.
Be sure to note if an authoras background is evident in his or her analysis, but be careful not to equate Biaswith a?interpretationa?.
5) Whether you recommend the books to others and why.
What type of reader should use this book? WHY?
Is it a book for someone new to its topic? Is it a book for experts? If so, experts in what field?
What does your book reveal about the need for future research? What research opportunities does it encourage or suggest?