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His 102: World War I

Research Guide for History 102: Investigating History WWI

About book reviews

Book reviews are articles that appear in newspapers, magazines and journals that describe and critically evaluate books.  They are usually written shortly after the book is published.  Reviews of popular books (books written for a general audience) appear shortly after the publication date (you may even find one before the book is published!)  while reviews of scholarly books may take a year or a bit longer to appear. 

You will most likely be looking for reviews of scholarly books (written for academics and other experts engaged in the discipline).  Scholarly book reviews aim to "explain the basic arguments of books, assess strengths and weaknesses and place books in historiographical context." (American Historical Review website) In other words, a scholarly book review will discuss the importance of the book to the discipline and the new knowledge (or perspective) that the book adds to the discipline.    Reviewers are chosen carefully--they usually hold doctoral degrees, are published and are familiar with the body of literature.  Scholarly book reviews can range in length from a paragraph to several pages.

In order to locate a book review you need to know the author, title, and the publication date.  If you do not have this information, you can check the online library catalog, WorldCat, or Amazon.com.  The box below will point you to tools and sources for book reviews.

Sources for book reviews

OneSearch is a tool that allows you to search across multiple resources in one single search. Click the link above to enter the OneSearch database--you will be landing on the Advanced Search screen.  Enter the title (or author) of your book in the first search box (use quotes)--CAUTION!!  Do not use the title/author drop down choices on the menu this time.  The title/author of the book review article may be different from the title/author of the original book.  Enter the words BOOK REVIEW in the next box and choose SUBJECT from the drop down menu.  Your search will look like this.

Click the green SEARCH button to see your results.  To view, print, or download a review, open the PDF link.  If you do not see a PDF link, click on the FIND ARTICLE link which will lead you to the full text of the review.  Below is the first few results from the above search.

The research databases listed above provide access to publications that contain book reviews.  Try searching by the title or author of the book and adding the words "book review" to your search.  Or try searching H-Net Reviews. 

H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and the Social Sciences is an online, scholarly review resource.  According to the site,  "H-Net Reviews brings a new dimension to the world of academic publishing.  Our reviews are published online via discussion networks and the H-Net web site.  This permits our reviews to reach scholars with a speed unmatched in any other medium.  It also makes a new kind of interactivity possible, as reviewers, authors and readers engage in discussions of reviews online" 

Use Journal Finder to find journals by title, ISSN, or subject

You can also look at specific journals for book reviews.  Use the Journal Finder widget above to determine which of our research databases provide access to the journal you are looking for.  Try:

  • American Historical Review
  • History: Review of New Books
  • Journal of American History
  • Reviews in History
  • New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • New York Review of Books (available as a database)


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