Writing A Book Review

This assignment involves writing a book review not a book report. You probably have written a book report at some point in your academic career. A book report typically contains the biobliographical details of the book, some biographical details about the author, and a summary of what the book is about. Basically, a book report is a rehash of what is in the book. A book review, on the other hand, is a critical work combining a brief description of what the book is about, analyzing the themes presented in the book, discussing the significance and relevance of the work, and presenting your reaction to the book. Read more about how to write a book review (up to the section " Some Considerations When Reviewing Specific Genres") here.

Specific Instructions for Your Book Review:

Although book reviews can be very short with only 100-200 words, you will be writing a longer, comprehensive review. Your review should be in the range of 1000-1500 words. You will submit both an electronic version of your review as a Microsoft Word file (if you use a different word processor, you must save the file as a .doc file) and in hard copy. The electronic version is to be submitted via Moodle by the due date.


Your book review is to be titled…….A Critical Book Review of [title in Italics] by [author] followed by your byline on the next line.

The book review must have the components defined below.. Since it is an essay, the components are not split out by headings. The headings are listed here only as descriptors to guide you.

1. Introduction

An introductory paragraph which includes a statement of the essential bibliographic information including title, author, copyright date, special features (maps, photos, etc if there are any), price and ISBN; the author's background (qualifications and background or lack thereof!); a brief overview of the contents of the book; the intended audience of the book, background information which places the book into context; and a brief introductory statement of your reaction to and evaluation of the book (why should other people read or not read this book?) You might have to do some research using the internet to obtain some of this information.

2. Summary......What is it about?

A short section summarizing the main points brought out by the book which often quotes or paraphrases key phrases of the author.

3. Your Evaluation

This should be at least one third of the total length of the paper. Describe the purpose of the book (discussed in the"How to Write a Book Review" link above) and answer the following questions:

  • How well did the book achieve its purpose?
  • What viewpoint was used by the author? Was it an objective treatment of the subject or did the author have a particular bias throughout the work?
  • How strong was the evidence presented to support the author's conclusions? How persuasive was the evidence?
  • What is your judgment of the style, content and historical value of this book?
  • Did the book challenge you intellectually by increasing your knowledge or presenting the material in a novel or provocative manner? What, if anything, did the author leave out that should have been included?
  • Would you recommend the book? If so, to what audience (general audience or audience of what particular expertise)?

4. Conclusion

End with a paragraph which reviews the main points of your evaluation, whether you thought the book was good or not and whether should anyone read it.



Direct suggestions, comments, and questions about this page to Arlene Courtney, courtna@wou.edu.
Last Modified November 15, 2011