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APUS Legal Studies Program Writing Guide

Book Reviews

A book review is a critical review of a book, as opposed to a book report, which simply relates what a book is about. The book review will discuss the author’s background and agenda, will discuss the key points of the book, will give a critical analysis of the author’s position(s), and will critically analyze what, if anything, of value the book has to offer. 
Your book review must contain the following:

I. Introduction: Contains basic information regarding the book you are reviewing, such as author, title, background, and why this book is of interest/relevance to the reader.

II. Brief Summary: Think of this as being similar to the brief answer in an office memo. You will give a brief overview of your analysis of the book, without getting bogged down in the details. This will orient the reader to where you are going in the main body of the book review.

III. Critical Analysis/Assessment of the Book: This is the main body of the book review, and will contain three parts:

  1. Identification of author’s main argument/thesis. Often, an author will not come out and tell you what this isyou will have to look for it. 
  2. Identification of the author’s background, perspective, and purpose in writing the book.
  3. Discussion of the evidence the author uses to support his/her thesis/main argument.

IV. Conclusion: Was the book well organized and clearly written? What is your final evaluation of the book? Does it have any value? If so, how and why? If not, why not?

Academic citation format will be used for book reviews. This means that citations will not be in text, but rather will be in footnotes, which should be consecutively numbered. 

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