How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Book Review

The purpose of the book review is to introduce you to critical reading and writing. Scholars in each academic field write books and peer reviewed journal articles. One of our goals in this class is to become critical thinkers, not just accept written words unchallenged and/or memorize historical factoids. A critical thinker will be interested in how and why a book was written as much as what is written. Learning to write a book review will aid you in that goal. Each review is limited to 800 words (approximately 2 1/2 typed pages) and should be typed and double spaced (12 point—Times New Roman—font).

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  1. Please include in the review: author background, a brief summary of the scope, purpose, and content of the book and its significance to classroom subject matter.
  2. The evaluation of the book may be favorable or unfavorable, but the review should in all cases avoid personalities and express criticism in courteous, temperate terms.  However much the reviewer may disagree with the author’s point of view and conclusions, the reviewer owes to the author and the readers of the review a fair and balanced statement of the book’s content.
  3. Please confine the review to a discussion of the book and avoid irrelevant digressions.
  4. Please do not list typographical or other minor errors unless they significantly impair the value of the book.
  5. Please supply page numbers for all “quoted phrases” and passages.
  6. For the first book review, Why We Can’t Wait, you should try to think broadly about the issues of so-called minority people in a country that was allegedly founded on the concepts of freedom, justice, and equality for all people. As you frame your analysis, think about the complex issues of capitalism, individual and corporate prosperity, social status and Jim Crow racism. How does King’s treatise serve as a paradigm for all oppressed people (ethnically, gender, sexual orientation, age, class, etc.) in the United States and worldwide?
  7. Please type headings as shown below and place at the beginning of each review:

Why We Can’t Wait. By Martin Luther King Jr., (Penguin Group Press: New York. c. 2000. 223 pp.  $9.99).

The above is only an example. Your particular edition may have different information.

  1. At the conclusion of your review, place Loyola University Maryland at the left margin and your name at the right. Please include word count.

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