Book Review Structure

Just saw this post from Terry Wright about his proposed structure for future book reviews. I’ve received questions in the past about how I write my reviews so I’ll outline my basic structure.

  • Introduction 
    • This can contain brief information about the authors/editors; the series the book is in if it’s in a series; the purpose of the book; an anecdote about the book’s subject; etc.
  • Summary
    • This can be as general or specific as you’d like it to be. My general rule of thumb is that the more I plan to critique is the more I’ll be specific in summarizing.
  • Praise/Critique
    • This is generally the penultimate section where I explain what I thought the author got right and what I thought he got wrong. I try, as much as possible, to always say something positive before saying something negative.
  • Conclusion/Recommendation
    • These are simply concluding remarks on the usefulness of the book; who I’d recommend it to if I’d recommend it to anyone at all; and sometimes a word about the back matter of the book that doesn’t really fit anywhere else.

At times I deviate from this, e.g., in my review of Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism I mingled my praise/critique in with my summary, but for the most part I stick with this structure. I’d be interested in hearing about the way that others structure their reviews, or their reasons for not structuring them if they don’t.

B”H

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