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Book Reviews: Finding Existing Book Reviews

Reviews for a Scholarly Audience

Scholarly books are reviewed in academic or peer-reviewed journals and are written by academics. As these reviews place the work in the context of current scholarship, they can take several years to be published.  Popular reviews usually appear at the time of publication and tend to "hype" the book for sales and often do not critically evaluate the material.


Scholarly reviews are written by specialists in the field and place the book within the scholarly discussion, compare the book to other works in the field, and analyze the author's methodology, interpretations, and conclusions. Existing book reviews, found by searching in databases, may help you with writing your own book review.  

  • Search for the title of the book, enclosed in quotation marks ("World's Best Book")
  • If the title is not very distinctive, add the author's last name ("Good Book" AND Author)
  • Limit to "book review" or add search term "review"

Writing Tip

Forewords, Prefaces, and Introductions are all written at the beginning of a book to introduce the reader to the subject of the text, the author(s), and the credibility of both.  You can learn about the book’s purpose, organization, and relationship to other research in the “before words.”Forewords are usually written by someone other than the main author and help(s) lend integrity to the author’s knowledge of the topic through their reputation.    Prefaces are usually written by the author or editor and tend to tell how the book came to be, along with the book’s overall purpose, arrangement, and contributions to the topic.    Introductions acquaint the readers with the main arguments or topics of the book, suggest conclusions or viewpoints, and relate certain elements that are important as background but not covered in the text.

Find Books Using the Library Catalog

Searching the Library Catalog for information about the topic, author, and related materials can help place your Book Review into context.