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Historical Research & Historiography

What are Book Reviews?

Reviews are critical perspectives on a piece of work, including a book, article, report, art, fashion, performance, etc. They provide commentary about a work, which may include the content, style, structure, and context of the disciplinary landscape from which it was published. They often offer an opinion on the quality of the work.

Scholarly Book Reviews

  • Focus primarily on works of scholarship published by faculty or researchers in a field – often monographs
  • Published in academic or peer-reviewed journals, for example:
    • American Historical Review
  • Written by scholars, academics, or faculty in that field or discipline
  • May take years to publish after analysis and discussion
  • May review several books in that particular disciplinary genre at once, to set the book in context with relevant scholarship

The following article linked below is an example of a Book Review from the American Historical Review:

  • James M. Jasper, MEHRAN KAMRAVA. A Concise History of Revolution., The American Historical Review, Volume 126, Issue 1, March 2021, Pages 264–265,


Databases for Scholarly Book Reviews

When searching for book reviews from scholars or academics, remember that these materials will primarily be published within academic journals or publications. Check the following resources below.

Search Tip: Make sure to use the Advanced Search feature and select the Item Type "Reviews" to narrow the results to only book reviews.

General Audience Book Reviews

  • Reviews focused on literature or other popular works, including plays, screenplays, anthologies, etc.
  • Usually available soon after publication
  • Often found in magazines, newspapers, or field-specific websites:
    • New Yorker, New York Review of Books, LitHub, etc.
  • Written by journalists or fellow writers in the field
  • Reflect on the quality of the book, style and structure, voice and content, and the book as it sits within its literary landscape

Databases for General Audience Book Reviews

When searching for book reviews aimed at a general audience, the sources can range from magazines, newspapers, and potentially websites. Consider the context of your particular resource and try a range of resources.