The book review is a critical evaluation of a monograph selected by the student and approved by the instructor. The review should summarize the author’s main argument and discuss supporting examples from the book. A significant portion of the review should relate the book selected for review to the appropriate section of the main textbook. Criticisms in this section should focus on differences in interpretation not on the lack or abundance of details. The best reviews will include relevant criticisms of the author’s thesis. The reviews should be written in standard formal English with a formal introduction and conclusion.
SUMMARIZE THE MAIN ARGUMENT:
1. Find the Author’s argument in the introduction, preface and conclusion.
2. Briefly restate this argument in your own words.
3. Recount the important facts, points of evidence, major turning points and
interpretations supporting the argument.
4. Was the argument difficult to follow or to understand?
5. How could the author make his or her work more understandable?
Chapter outlines may help you follow your author’s thesis throughout the
Use the outlines to determine if the author proved his or her thesis.
COMPARE TO THE TEXT:
1. Find similar topics in both books such as important events or people.
2. Compare the interpretations or use of these events or people in each book’s
3. Are there any discrepancies between the book and the text?
4. Does the book provide a view of the event or person not offered in the text?
CRITIQUE THE AUTHOR’S THESIS:
1. What is the author’s bias?
2. How does this bias influence the author’s interpretation of events?
3. What elements of the argument were the most/least convincing?
4. Cite specific examples of the most/least convincing elements of the argument.
5. What sources were used/ignored?