SOC 554: Sociology of the Mass Media
Summer II Semester, 2007
Book Review Instructions
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During the semester, graduate students will prepare a professional review of Fighting for Air, by Eric Klinenberg. You should get a copy of the book as soon as possible and begin reading it.
Most academic journals publish several book reviews every year, and other academics use these as a way of keeping up with new publications in the field. A book review is not simply a report that summarizes a book; it is a critical analysis of the argument that a book presents. This generally means that you must contextualize the book within a larger body of theory.
The best guide for learning how to write a book review is to read other reviews. Book reviews generally are reasonably short (about 2 -3 pages) and can be found at the back of most academic journals.
A good book review contains several elements, including:
(1) A description of the argument of the book – why did the author write this book? What point is he/she trying to make? Note that this is not a summary of the book.
(2) An analysis of the significant contributions this book makes to the field of study. How does this book relate to other similar works?
(3) An opinion on the quality of writing. Is it clear and understandable? Engaging? Too detailed?
(4) An indication of this book's primary audience. Would it be appropriate for undergraduate or graduate courses? In what fields?
In writing your review of Fighting for Air, strive to prepare a professional
quality review, like those published in academic journals.
The book review is due on Wednesday, July 25.
Good articles and sources to help in writing book reviews:
Writing the Academic Book Review, by Wendy Belcher, UCLA
Book Review Writing Guide, University of Alberta, Department of History & Classics
Writing a Critical Book Review, by Stephen Adair, Central Connecticut State University
How to Write a Critical Book Review, University of Toronto/Mississauga Library