Online Writing Center


Book & Article Reviews

What is a review?

A book or article review is a combination of facts (the actual content of the text) and criticism (analysis of the text). A book/article review should accomplish three things:

1. Clarify what type of book or article is being reviewed. Is it fictional or researched or autobiographical? Make this clear in your introduction.

2. Summarize the book or article's content.

3. Critically analyze the book or article and weigh its merits.


How do I summarize?

A summary is a concise statement in your own words of the book or article's thesis, main points, and conclusion. Make your summary an appropriate length: Do not retell all the information, but do not leave out anything important. Also, do not include your opinion in the summary. Keep the following questions in mind:

1. What are the major points that the author is trying to get across? How does the author support these points?

2. What are the key terms that the author uses?

3. What organizational structure does the author use.

For additional guidance on writing summaries, refer to the Writing Center's handout.


How do I write a critical analysis?

Your analysis should reflect your opinion of the book or article. Do not be misled by the word "opinion"; keep your criticism as objective and logical as possible. Judge the book or article on its merits, not by your personal feelings or preferences. Also, back up your analysis with examples and supporting arguments; do not just tell your reader your gut feelings about the work.

Consider the following questions:

1. Is the author successful in getting the main points across?

2. Does the author adequately define key terms?

3. How does the author support the main points? What type of evidence does he use? Is that evidence strong enough?

4. Does the author's conclusion coincide with your knowledge of the subject?

5. Do you have any personal experience which supports or conflicts with the author's conclusions?

6. Have you read other books or articles which agree or disagree with this one?

7. Do you think this book is worthwhile reading?



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