Today was helpful to listen to a panel of experts about book reviews: the session included some leading editors of journals and academic presses at the American Historical Association.
Several years ago I had the good fortune to sit next to a famous author who had been several times on the New York Times bestseller list while on an airplane. After a while we struck up a conversation that included advice about writing. I asked him if he ever wrote book reviews. He replied, “No, book reviews are for people who don’t know how to write. I choose to write books that are significant.”
Book reviews typically evaluate recently-written works. They offer a brief description of the text’s key points and often provide a short appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the work.